Bridging The Gap: Unlocking the Potential of Training with Data Sharing

Caleb Shull 9 minute read
business professionals discussing data

Bridging the Gap: Unlocking the Potential of Training Data with Data Sharing

Making the best use of data is key to driving performance and generating ROI. The potential that a team in any field can unlock by making better data-driven decisions has created an environment where data analysis is at the forefront of success. But as we continue to explore how business intelligence can inform our decisions and impact our operations, it is also important to remember that the data we have might not be telling the whole story. The rest of that story lies with other teams, departments, and divisions.

More data is being gathered today than ever before. Just leveraging internal metrics for their full impact can seem challenging at times. But to fully unlock the possibilities of data-driven decision making, it’s necessary to examine the greatest diversity of data possible, making connections and drawing insights that help to inform decision-making models. That makes comprehensive and effective data sharing more important than it has ever been, and training is no exception.

Data Sharing is a Two-Way Street

Consider the finance team. Finance’s decisions impact every aspect of the business, because everything costs money. Every purchase, transaction, and employee on the payroll is finance’s responsibility, which essentially means they have to be accountable for almost everything the business does. Can they make a fully-informed data-driven decision that will affect every part of the business if they are only looking at their internal metrics and reports.

Of course not. Finance needs to have a finger on the pulse of the entire organization to be effective, and that means examining data from every other department to inform their decisions.

Training’s impact is no less far-reaching than finance’s. Being responsible for the qualifications and competencies of every employee in the organization means that training’s decisions impact every task conducted within the business. With such a broad scope of responsibility, can learning analytics alone sufficiently inform the training team’s decision-making?

The answer is no. Like any department, training needs to be aware of the status and needs of the whole organization to inform their own operations. Learning analytics will always be core to what the training team does, but must be a starting point and framework, not the full picture.

The training department in particular can provide enormous benefits to the rest of the organization if its data is shared effectively. The ability of training teams to upskill workers and develop the workforce’s knowledge base is crucial to providing the rest of the business with the agility to address organizational challenges and respond to volatility in the business world. That makes it even more important that training is making effective use, not just of their own data, but everyone’s data, and that training’s data is available to assist any other department in diagnosing and responding to issues as they arise.

The Best Data Sharing is Collaborative, not Transactional

Reading this, you may be thinking, “But my team already uses data from across the organization, and we send data to other departments all the time. This discussion is for a siloed team.” But ask yourself: what does our data-sharing process look like?

Do you exchange a few spreadsheets every month, sending only specific data that was requested – just enough for the other department to complete a specific task?

Or…

Do you have an open and continuous channel of communication with the other department, where both teams can access each other’s datasets, and where each team regularly communicates about using data to investigate and address shared areas of concern?

Developing cooperative data-sharing relationships with other departments is key to fully utilizing each others’ data and make the best data-driven decisions on both sides of the partnership. Exchanging specific data only on request is a transactional approach to data-sharing that limits your opportunities to dig into the data and find the insights that could improve your operations.

With that advice in mind, let’s take a look at how both being more open with training data, and being more receptive to outside data, can bring benefits to both the training department and the rest of the organization.

Unleashing Training Data: Making Use of Learning Analytics Beyond the Training Function

Training teams often feel that their internal data is of limited use to anyone but themselves. After all, it can be difficult to see how data collected from training operations could be relevant to anything other than improving those same training operations. But this mindset is limited, and walls training data off from areas where it can make a big difference to the rest of the organization – a difference that can be credited back to a proactive training team if the mindset can be shed and the data unleashed.

Imagine that the production department has established the OKR of identifying causes of manufacturing errors and substantially lowering the error rate. On their own, their options are limited. They could examine which employees make the most errors, and which steps in the process are the most error-prone, and attempt to make internal corrections. But what could they do if they had collaborative access to the training team’s learning analytics?

Perhaps the data might show that the most error-prone employees were all part of the same training cohort. That might indicate that something went wrong with the delivery of their training, and could prompt both targeted re-training and an investigation to see what happened and take steps to address it. Or perhaps the data indicates the opposite – that the least error-prone employees all trained under the same instructor. That might indicate that that instructor is a valuable asset who could be collaborated with to help other employees reduce their error rate.

The takeaway here is that collaborating with other departments to analyze and utilize training data, especially when training data is applied directly to the completion of other departments’ OKRs, positions the training team to be seen as a strategic asset and knowledge base for the rest of the business. Other departments gain a powerful tool for gathering insights into their operations, the training team develops a reputation for solving problems throughout the organization – this process is a win-win for everyone involved.

Letting the Data In: Creating Better Training KPIs with External Data

Just as other departments can benefit enormously from having collaborative access to training data, training’s own operations can be better measured and improved if the training team has collaborative access to the data from other departments. By taking the time to consider what data might be useful, and being able to take advantage of it, training operations can be analyzed much more comprehensively.

Imagine that the training team has just released a course for onboarding new hires, focused on getting them familiar with the software systems used by the company. The goal is to ensure that they can become effective users of the software systems as quickly as possible so that they can acclimatize to the business more easily.

Naturally, the training team will collect learner data such as grades, the time taken to complete the course, and perhaps a satisfaction survey at the end of the course. But are these metrics sufficient to assess the effectiveness of the course? The goal is not to determine whether learners can complete a training course – it is to ensure that learners are developing and applying new skills from the course’s content. A full assessment of the course’s effectiveness will need to be based on KPIs drawn from data collected after the training is complete. Factors such as the number of IT support tickets generated by recent hires, manager assessments of employee performance, and the turnover rate of new employees, could all be important metrics for analyzing the effectiveness of the onboarding course. A full analysis of this training initiative might therefore require data from IT, HR, and from the managers in every department, just to name a few possibilities.

Using data from other departments to generate better KPIs for tracking the effectiveness of training makes measuring the ROI of training more effective, and can provide insight into training’s operations. Key factors affecting training might not be reflected in the learning analytics that the training team generates, and accessing the right data from across the organization to fully assess training’s impact can only help to improve the training being delivered.

How a Training Management Platform Can Help Improve Data Sharing

If you want to share your data but feel overwhelmed just dealing with the data you already have, you aren’t alone. And if the prospect of trying to incorporate another department’s data into your spreadsheets is a daunting one, that’s okay too.

Many training teams have a data architecture that isn’t sustainable at scale, and use complex tech stacks and elaborate spreadsheet systems that require enormous amounts of manual data entry to maintain. Luckily, the software exists to both simplify your data management and easily integrate data from other departments: Administrate.

Administrate was built with integration and robust data management in mind. There are existing implementations for integration with dozens of commonly-used software systems, and with an open API, Administrate is designed to be as transparent and easy to connect to new systems as possible. That ease of integration can make the difference between being willing and able to communicate data effectively with the rest of the organization, and being willing, but held back by an outdated data architecture.

If that sounds like the solution to the problems that your team is facing, get in touch with us and see a demonstration of Administrate’s potential.

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