Analyzing the Effectiveness of Training: How to Move Beyond Activity Metrics

Ross Sellers 7 minute read

When we analyze the effectiveness of our training initiatives we’re often reporting from various disconnected systems that only report on a one-to-one relationship between the data source and the activity itself. While activity metrics are captured, critical data analysis is often missing. Consequently, this makes it hard to make decisions from a data-first approach, so we’re stuck sharing data at the end of the line rather than leveraging data first to impact organizational change. For example:

  • Your LMS reports may serve you data on completion rates, learner engagement, and training progression through a ‘Safety at Work’ course, but do these numbers demonstrate that your learners are making fewer safety errors?
  • The LXP data shows you the content your leaders are engaging with, and helps you find what content to serve to your top performers, but does it tell you how learners are using this content to become more dynamic leaders?
  • HRIS data show you which learners need to renew training and which certifications are out of date, but if this data isn’t correlated with your training data and your learner records, regulatory audits can be very frustrating.

Single-solution training software has limited our reporting mentalities; in order to make a shift to tackle challenges with data first, we need to reframe our mindset on training reports.

After all, data is the ultimate equalizer, and activity metrics rarely cover the whole story.

The point is, if you had all of these systems working together in a training operations platform, where the data captured in each system was interrelated in one place, you’d start by pinpointing a challenge with data, and then create training to overcome this challenge.

A training operations platform helps training teams achieve a unified context for their training via a single system: software infrastructure that acts as the ‘glue’ for the rest of your critical learning tech.

A Story About Patrick Maroon – How the ‘Glue’ Impacts Change

In 2019, Patrick Maroon, an NHL athlete, was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning had championship aspirations and had come close to winning the Stanley Cup on multiple occasions over a long period of time as championship contenders.

Patrick Maroon was not known for his statistics, or his ability to change the course of a game with his abilities. However, when the Lightning signed him, he had just won a championship with the St. Louis Blues and was identified as “a glue guy” that helped architect a championship run for the St. Louis Blues, a feat that took them 50 years to accomplish.

In 2020, with Maroon on the team, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally won their first Stanley Cup since 2004. Maroon brought intangibles to their locker room and roster that couldn’t be quantified by traditional reporting statistics. As a player, Maroon had a powerful impact on the environment of his team, helping them to maximize their potential and reach their goals.

This is not unlike the role that a training operations platform plays in helping your training team orchestrate success for your organization. Your team leads organizational change, empowers learners to become dynamic leaders, and helps your business remain agile and competitive when it matters most. In order to demonstrate this critical role, your systems need to be ‘stuck’ together.

Otherwise, this impact can go unnoticed. If your systems themselves aren’t cohesive with integrations, the data you use to tell the story of your team’s impact can lack the connection to wider organizational objectives.

How Your Training Team Can Make Data Connections to Maximize Your Potential

If it were as simple as saying “this student took a course on building agile frameworks and now we know they’ll help their team implement and succeed at agility,” then activity metrics would cover the bases. But, as training professionals, we rarely have access to the data that shows the learner has taken that training and implemented it to effect change in their daily life, within their teams, and in the organization.

The story that needs to be told is that your learners took training on implementing agile frameworks within the support process, and, as a result, support ticket satisfaction has gone from 70% to 85%. This is a simple example, but it shows the correlation between training and the outcome.

What’s needed is a reporting structure capable of comprising data from all sources so your training team can take your activity metrics and connect them to the targets your organization is trying to reach.

There is a ‘glue’ component here that is not often considered. Yet, that glue can never result in cohesion unless it is given the chance to connect to efforts that the rest of the organization can quantify in terms of measurability. However, asking for the data that creates cohesion is time-consuming for training teams and frustrating to other departments.

It’s time you don’t have, and time they don’t have. Is there an alternative?

Making a Mindset Shift

How a Training Operations Platform Creates a Comprehensive Environment for Training Teams

We live in the future of SaaS and interrelation between software, right now. Unfortunately, most of this is taking place around training teams instead of with training teams.

Customer Service, Finance, and Data Analytics teams have software that pushes and pulls important data from multiple sources into one platform. Meanwhile, L&D teams take data from their HRIS, LMS, and LXP–and many other systems–and try to create a decision-based connection that’s interrelated. The glue is a manual process that limits your highest performers to administrative work.

You’re connecting robust data to spreadsheets that are bereft of direction and connection to the rest of the organization. You create pivot tables that lack complete insight and intelligence because that’s what you have access to.

This isn’t an issue of the value that L&D teams provide. It’s an issue of data connectivity.

In order to create cohesion, there needs to be a reporting infrastructure that both comprises your data in one system, and helps you report on how that data is connected to wider organizational objectives.

L&D Teams Haven’t Had Software Infrastructure, Until now.

There are software solutions out there that say they can handle the vast data your team captures, but too often this software pigeon-holes your data into pre-set reports, data fields, and outputs you don’t define. What else could you expect from a software industry reliant upon ensuring the learner is satisfied and engaged in a digital world?

For too long, training software has been learner-focused. Too long have we been focused on keeping the learner engaged with content without considering the repercussions of training teams trying to paint their part of the organizational picture.

There is a shift happening within the learning and development industry that challenges organizations looking for impactful learning analytics to consider the critical role a learning tech ecosystem plays.

[A Guide] High-Performing Training Teams Are Leading Change


Organizations depend on training management that’s well defined and integrated with organizational systems. Training professionals require technology that prioritizes data-empowerment, and offers no-code reporting that shows how training tackles organizational goals. Featured in this guide, two training executives discuss why training programs need Business Intelligence.

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