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Building a data-driven training strategy in 5 steps

It's widely believed that data is the new gold. In a world of algorithms, the Internet of Things, and quantum computing, the amount of data generated by users is virtually unlimited.

However, to make sense of all the data, we need to treat it as a commodity and develop the adequate tools to mine it.

Before the discovery (and control) of fire, gold was just a shiny thing people could find in rivers. Once people figured out how to control fire and invented metallurgy, they discovered that a shiny nugget could become a wonderful piece of jewelry. Its value skyrocketed!

Data is a different kind of gold. It’s not as rare as gold (quite the opposite!) but making sense of it for a specific business purpose is not as easy as it seems. Using data to make decisions without specialists can be a difficult task.

Nonetheless, with data science, businesses benefit from all the data to reach more leads, create better products or services, and adapt to the ever-changing market demands.

The L&D industry is no exception. Data-driven learning is the new kid on the block, and it’s here to stay!

Building a data-driven training strategy in 5 steps

Any training program based on data instead of gut feelings brings positive results for both learners and the company. Let’s see the steps L&D professionals can take to build a data-driven training strategy!

  1. Define

    Data-driven learning is a novel approach to training, which involves the use of data to identify patterns and trends for creating personalized solutions as accurately as possible.

    For instance, a company can gather data on the performance of a department and thus identify the memebers' training needs. By analyzing the data, the company can identify those processes that clearly need improvement, the skills people need to polish, and the right approach for their training.

    Read more: 8 Practical skills remote employees need to develop right now

  2. Classify

    Once you know what data-driven learning is and have figured out what it can do, you can look at the available data and classify it.

    For example, there's client-generated data. Customer satisfaction surveys tell a lot about a company's performance. We can easily identify the strengths and the weaknesses and implement changes that improve client satisfaction.

    There is also the employee-generated data, which can give an overview of skills (or the lack thereof) and help L&D departments or training companies design the right program for the employees.

    Read more: Things to know about employee surveys

  3. Personalize

    The main advantage of a data-driven learning approach is that it offers a clear situation of the trends and patterns involved in the business processes, which makes addressing any shortcomings and creating a tailored training program more effective.

    Once we observe that employees perform poorly at a certain task, we can design a training program to address the issue. Micro learning programs become easier to implement.

    Read more: 3 Key aspects of effective microlearning: How to do more with less

  4. Measure

    Of course, if we can monitor what happens before the delivery of the training program, we can do it during and after. Real-time monitoring generates the data we need to adapt on the fly and improve the program during delivery. It’s relatively easy to do, mainly when training occurs online or in a hybrid environment.

    After completing the training, we can monitor the employees' activity again and see if there are significant improvements. The results can help us finetune the training program and make it more efficient.

    Read more: Best practices on measuring the impact of organizational learning

  5. Review

    Last but not least, we should monitor the entire process and see if it has proven its efficiency. Any misinterpretation of the data can lead to poorer results and the implementation of inadequate strategies. If results are inconclusive, try to look at the data from a different angle and see what you have missed.

Final thoughts

Training programs backed up by data can deliver more value for businesses. If data is the new gold, specialists who can interpret it are worth their weight in platinum. Identifying patterns and trends from a vast amount of data is not as easy as it may seem, but once you do it, it can help any company become a better training provider.

Keep in mind that interpretation is critical. Or, in the wise words of Daniel Keys Moran, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” Aim for information and your training programs will be all the better for it.