We are inundated with many different approaches for measuring learning and development. Many smart people are measuring numerous aspects associated with learning, and it works for their companies. But is it right for you?
Suppose you attend a conference and get excited about one method, then another. They all sound great. You can’t contain your passion so fly back to the office to share all of the cool measures. But the organization does not show the same enthusiasm for the new measures and you’re fired.
Let’s replay this scenario to get a better ending. Imagine that you have some key questions to help you determine which measures would most impact your company? What might those questions be? Try these:
- What measures are used to make decisions in your operation and culture?
- Why does your Corporate University measure? Is it to improve the learner’s experience? Or workforce capability? Is it to improve the University’s products? Is it to improve the logistics of electronic or classroom delivery? Is it to determine the strategic direction of the University? Is it to evaluate the performance of your partners, suppliers, vendors? Is it to develop the talent in your University? Is it to guide the financial aspect of your University? Measure ROI? Is to monitor resource loading, etc., for planning purposes? Is it to justify the University’s value? Is it to provide audit evidence for ISO, TL, QS, SEI, or Baldrige? Is it to comply with what someone told you to?
- What is needed in the areas you wish to measure? What problems are you trying to solve? Most likely you can’t measure everything. Use whatever quantitative or qualitative data you have to pick a focus.
- What unit of measure and what source of the data will be meaningful or convincing to your audience? Don’t guess. Find out.
- How might the audience interpret the data that results from the measure? What results might be seen as “good” vs “bad”?
- How might the audience use the data? How do you want it to be used? How might you influence its use?
- What data already exists in the company that might be leveraged? Who is using that data today? For what purpose are people using that data today?
- How might the audience wish to see the data presented? When? Where?
- What company initiatives with strong management support might you join in on to provide a relevant learning measure?
- If the measure will require funding (new system, IT upgrade) is there a senior sponsor who can provide such funding?
- What is the appetite of your audience for measures? You may need to throttle back or forward depending on this.
Every time someone speaks about a measure that works for their University that is consistent with what is important in their culture and with their day-to-day decision-making operations, we tend to focus our questions on the mechanics of the measure. You might ask those speaking about measurements, “Why did you select that measure?” You might follow-up with some of the above questions or new ones. Using a question-bank will stimulate you to think of more and better questions!
Understanding the thought process behind the measures selection and implementation will help you to understand whether the measure is right measure for your University and company. With so many measures and so little time, you need to know: what are the key few measures that will provide the most impact?