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How Learning Data is Presented Matters Just as Much as Why

Learning trends seem to come and go as quickly as the new technologies released into the L&D space. But some things remain constant, especially as they relate to how people learn, how they consume and retain information. In short, the feedback information of the learning programs you use is quickly becoming a cornerstone in how business decisions in the L&D space are made. In fact, something that has been at the core of many advances in learning technology is the data tracking feedback and success of your learning programs. As big data becomes more of an everyday tool for businesses, the presentation of that data has become an area of surprising impact. Here are a few tips to help you share your learning data in a way that helps your company make smarter, more informed decisions around your L&D program.

Visualize Your Data

Just as you work hard to bring complex learning subjects to life in your training material, you need to help your audience understand your learning data through effective visualization. That includes appropriate use of colors that help differentiate data points, trends, growth and decline. This will often go beyond simple pie charts and bar graphs. You need to explain trends quickly and effectively in a variety of visual formats so that you land your message in a meaningful way. Keep in mind that data in a spreadsheet never made much of an impact. If you’re going to use and apply data effectively—either to improve training or in the actual instruction—data visualization is critical.

Find the Tools that Work for You

If you’ve realized that it’s important to invest in data science for your learning program, but are struggling with the realities of not being a data scientist yourself, the bottom line is that you need to find a tool that works for you. Data is a very powerful tool for analysis that can make a dramatic impact in the effectiveness of your programs, but if you are setting something up and hoping it works out, you are leaving money on the table. Data science can help you gather data on how people think, believe, and act in simulated situations. You can use that data to drive actionable training decisions to improve the value of your content and the retention of the information as well.

Custom tracking systems using Experience API (xAPI) can help collect data about learning experiences and build more flexible solutions. There are a wealth of tools and programs available to help companies invest in their own data. But remember that not everyone will be the right fit for you. Consider demoing several different options to see what works best for your needs and your business goals. The bells and whistles can seem exciting and trendsetting, but keep your ultimate business goals in mind what figuring out which options are going to be worth investing time and money in. Remember, it’s all about finding the right way to communicate the information that can change your learning programs.

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