Learning Analytics: What does it mean?

We all want to know: Does my work make a difference? Does my work make the world a better place?

Learning analytics are the practices to prove and improve the impact of learning programs on outcomes. When we gather the right information about training programs and courses, then we can show how, where, and when we are making an impact. Learning analytics ensure we are answering the right questions and then help us to make data-driven decisions.

For example, we can use learning analytics to provide answers and insights to key questions like:

  • How is the training going?
  • How much did people improve?
  • What impact did the course have on production, quality, customer satisfaction, etc.?
  • What outcomes did not improve after training?
  • What will happen if we make changes to the training?
  • How are we performing as an L&D organization?

To answer these questions, we use practices like surveys, assessments, on-the-job observations, LMS data, and business metrics. By answering the key questions, we can be agile and revise learning programs to increase impact and show value.

Analytics learning can be broken down into three areas of measurement: efficiency, effectiveness, and outcomes. We can use learning analytics to determine if a training session is saving time and money. Instead of increasing the length of training, what if we tried to shorten it and increase performance? We can use learning analytics to measure the effectiveness of training by comparing learners before and after the training using test scores and on-the-job metrics. What areas of their job improved after the training? Which learners, and how many, improved after the training? We can also look at outcomes such as increased sales, improved quality, increased production, reduced errors, or faster turn-around times to show the impact of learning programs.

When we take the time to look at what is happening during and after our learning programs, then we are using learning analytics.

Learning analytics tools allow us see what is working, what is not working, and what to do next. We can prioritize our learning solutions based on impact. We can focus on results rather than just activity and engagement. And when we use learning analytics, we can ensure learning is aligned with company goals and making a difference.

Look for Part 2, Learning Analytics Starts With Asking the Right Questions, in an upcoming blog post.


Scott Weersing

Scott Weersing

Scott Weersing serves as Director, Learning Analytics for GP Strategies Learning Solutions group. Scott partners with clients to show the value and impact of learning interventions on outcomes. He has worked with a variety of clients and industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, and call centers, to link training to business metrics. Scott has a BA in Political Science from UCLA and an MA in Educational Technology from Azusa Pacific University.
Scott Weersing

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