Learning performance outcomes

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I mentioned the Barcelona Principles a little while ago and this is the second post expanding on the ideas I suggested there.

The second principle that learning can take forward is:

Measuring learning performance outcomes is always recommended versus only measuring outputs

What do we mean by learning performance outcomes? At a strategic level, this is the learning business case; the business performance which is influenced and developed by the learning function, the external customer satisfaction, internal compliance and control elements maintained, against the cost of the function in terms of time, people and resource.

I’ve said before learning isn’t strategic and most LnD functions operate at a tactical level. In tactical terms this is the identification of all activity which is undertaken, whether delivered by learning or not, and evaluated against the business performance. For example, a programme which includes online and face to face support, as well as community activity, management briefings and checklists needs to be understood as a whole to know which elements are the most effective.

If the workplace line management is more effective than the LnD intervention, why are you there?

Learning performance outcomes are not outputs. It is not the numbers of events, people on courses, course completions, or evaluation form scores. It is not ‘engagement’ with content (however that might be measured), activities started, favourable comments received or test scores.

Those numbers are learning outputs and demonstrate busyness. They’re the numbers which people think they need to know to demonstrate that learning is happening. Look at compliance learning for example, and how many people complete a learning activity successfully, yet still break rules and operate in non-compliant ways.

I said last time to reset the conversation with the business. The same principle applies here. Explain that to understand the need better, learning needs to understand the data better. That means agreeing business performance measures at the start and agreeing how you’ll measure how effective your support has been.

But that’s difficult to do.



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