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3 Ways L&D Teams Can Collect and Communicate More Meaningful Data

24 September 2020

5 Min Read


Big data used to be a foreign term to many companies. Today, the collection of big data has become so commonplace we almost take it for granted. Now that many companies and their software providers have solved the issue of storing and collecting data, the challenge we face is how to make sense of the volume, variety, and velocity of data in meaningful, actionable ways.

For learning and development teams, it can be difficult to get buy-in for data analytics programs, mainly due to the lack of knowledge around how the information can be translated into value.

When your organization is guided by learning data, that value can equate to better forecasts, strategic plans, programs, products, and services for your business, not to mention a more knowledgeable, skilled, and engaged workforce.

Still, some leaders struggle to see how analyzing data fits into their realm of responsibilities and therefore feel it’s a waste of time. The difficulty in this is that they are the ones with the types of data executive leadership teams find the most valuable—for example, sales reports and customer feedback.

Are your sales low? Is your company’s NPS consistently falling below average? Having access to this information is valuable because it is actionable; it can be addressed—likely with training and development programs.

Here are three examples of how you can collect and use more meaningful data across your company.

1. Broaden Your Interpretation of ‘Learning Data’

As an L&D professional, are your learning insights based solely on data collected from your own L&D department? While this information is important in managing team efficiency, it is not enough to demonstrate true business impact.

Communicating value—credibly—involves bringing in department leaders from other areas of the business. What do they pay attention to? What metrics and goals do they track?

Aligning L&D programs with department goals better positions you to prove the ROI of your online training. Department heads and managers will notice your interest in what they’re doing and trying to do and begin to see how learning programs benefit them. In turn, they’ll provide you with meaningful data to demonstrate your impact on their KPIs.

2. Get Granular

Move beyond the common go-to metrics like employee feedback and completion rates and the more sophisticated learning platforms to collect more granular data—data that demonstrates improvement in areas like productivity or performance.

Not all learning platforms are created equal when it comes to mining and making sense of learning data. The key is to find a learning platform that not only collects learning data but also correlates it to key business metrics or KPIs so you can prove the impact of your learning and development programs.

For example, imagine if you could:

  • Identify how L&D shapes a desired behavior to meet business goals
  • Accurately measure training’s impact on specific outcomes
  • Be the trusted source for reliable insights that drive key training and business decisions

3. Use the Right Tools

Truth be told, not much can be done to make learning about data tools easy or fun. But to fully appreciate their potential, it’s important to understand at least the basics of how they work.

Learning Data 101

A key tool in learning data is called a Learning Record Store (LRS). It can function independently and as part of your company’s learning management system. It tracks and measures experience API (xAPI) statements from learning events and connects to business data from other places in your company.

xAPIs are standards that define how an LRS collects data. For example, xAPI uses the sentence convention, “actor-verb-object” to identify learner activity, resulting in collected xAPI statements like “Rachel-completed-compliance training” or “Charles-read-report.”

xAPI Benefits

Often referred to as the “future of e-learning” due to its endless benefits and use cases, xAPI helps L&D teams collect more complex data, including device type, location, screen size, clicks, and advanced video tracking. 

It can also track activities, whether online or offline, for web pages, simulations, games, and online learning in nearly any format, including blended, interactive, mobile, offline, social, and team-based learning.


By aligning with other departments’ business goals, gathering meaningful data, and using the right tools, you can successfully demonstrate how L&D can transform the valuable information your leaders rely upon into realized goals and future success.

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