You don’t learn to drive for the joy of learning - you learn in order to go somewhere.
I enjoyed Jay’s session at the follow up day about the business impact of learning and how to compose your elevator pitch on value. Here are some ideas that work with my clients about how to link to business value and the re-framing that L&D needs to be successful.
Learning is not the end point - it is a “how to” to get somewhere else. We do not only assess how well a driving instructor trained you but how well you can drive on the road. I agree with Jay that measuring learning is a largely a waste of time. What we can do is measure performance in the real world.
This raises the point that learning is not the only factor that contributes to performance. The way someone drives will depend on their motivation, self-image, quality of their vehicle, the road signs, environment and other drivers. But we can measure how well performer in a controlled environment just after knowledge and skills training – with the driving test. And we can measure how many accidents new drivers have in their first years. But people might say that any improvement cannot be directly linked to the quality of their learning? So how can we link our learning back to real-life value?
I agree with Jay that we need to ask the sponsor to make a judgement (This needs to be a business sponsor not someone from HR or L&D) and we ask them before we invest in L&D. The killer questions are; What are these people doing now? What do we want them to do? What is the cost of the performance gap? What is the cost of doing nothing about this?
The reasons for the performance gap will be a mixture of knowledge, skills, motivation and environment and it may be impossible to accurately distinguish the effect of new knowledge and skills learning from the other factors but we can always ask the clients; “If we did not do the learning solutions how effective do you think we would be in closing the performance gap?”. If they say 50% then multiply this by the cost of the real performance gap to get your perceived value to the business.
Just some thoughts. If you would like to know more I have a plenty of copies of my 2000 paperback on the subject. Let me know your address and I will send you a free copy. Regards firstname.lastname@example.org