Tracking human behavior seems to be one of those hot button topics that people either love or hate, and in the world of online training, we often hear the response, "I trust my employees... I don't need to track them."
This response is completely valid, but there's a false underlying assumption about why you'd want to track your training program. The assumption is that you're focused solely on accountability for completion.
Completion as square one
The truth is, accountability for completing lessons should be the last thing on your mind if your training programs are as good as they should be. There's much more to be tracked than completion. If you can go beyond square one here, you can make some incredibly impactful results for your business.
The learning hierarchy of measuring
The above graphic is not a layout of a pyramid scheme. It's an heirarchy of measuring that the Lesson.ly team and I created for the learning world. The way it works is from the bottom up. You can see the lowest to the highest form of measuring learning. It starts out with no measurement and goes all the way to measuring performance impact.
Here are the quick explanations of each step:
1. No measurement
This type of training has no tracking. You can never answer the questions of who learned what, when, or how well because there was no effort to record any training activity. Tactics used in this type of training are often Word Docs, PowerPoints, Google Docs, or even YouTube videos shared with learners through email. This is often where startups and small businesses start, only few break out of this mold.
The next type of training allows for tracking completion. This is where you can begin to answer the questions of who learned what and when. This is important to track if accountability is your goal, but it still doesn't let you know how well your employees are learning and doesn't give you insight into who needs help or how you're impacting the business. Companies at this level of tracking often look much like those in the no measurement category, but have added Google Forms or Survey Monkey quizzes to the mix.
This stage of training is the most quickly attainable by inserting learning software into the process. This level allows managers to learn how well their employees are learning the materials they need to know and gives them an uncanny access to their team's level of expertise. By asking both qualitative and quantitative comprehension questions seamlessly integrated into the training itself leaders can instantly know who needs help with certain topics and who doesn't.
For example, with this level of tracking, you no longer have to pull all of your sales team into the same room to chat about the same old process. You can know that only four people of your twenty-person team need to know the process. Invest your time into those four and let the other sixteen get some time back in their day.
4. Time to productivity
After you've got a great handle on comprehension and have a regular cadence of reviewing the data with your team, the next level of measuring learning is to tie your efforts to the time it takes to get a new team member up to speed. This is the first stage of comparing learning to real results. If you can find areas in your program that are holding up the process and improve them, you'll have a much more efficient onboarding system and will get your team producing for your company faster than before.
The way we look at it is this: if each new salesperson is responsible for bringing in $1,000 per month and you can reduce your onboarding time by one month, you have just added an extra $1,000 in revenue to this calendar year per new salesperson you bring on board because of the improvement from measuring learning.
The downside to this level of measurement is that it still requires work outside of your training software to match up the data and find insights. This can open up some margin for human error, but if you're careful, you can make some great moves for your company.
5. Performance impact
Finally, the epitome of measuring learning is the performance impact level. In this level, you have your learning software connected with your CRM and can automatically decipher the best of the best insights. These include being able to compare comprehension scores to time of the first meeting set by your internal sales team, average support ticket resolution time for your support team, and even revenue added by sales rep.
You can do this with a little help from your company's engineering team. They can connect your CRM and your training software with an API that allows the two systems to talk with each other. Then, it's just a matter of making sure the right data is being collected in the right places and that the reports you need are created correctly.
Some of our customers who reach this level have begun even calculating their compensation and bonuses based off of training activities because the tie between training and revenue is so apparent. Others still have begun A/B testing different training programs to understand which program produces the very best results.
What to do now?
Like most processes, the first thing to do is identify where you are on the scale. Then, make it your goal to move up one level. If you're stuck on completion, try moving up to comprehension. If you're on time to productivity, try taking a step toward aligning success with your company's KPIs by integrating your training into Salesforce and joining those at the performance impact level.
Tracking training can prove to be very beneficial in the growth of your business and company culture. If you get stuck believing the point of training is to hold people accountable, think about what you're missing out on.