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Author's profile photo Thomas Jenewein

Professional Learning Executive Forum 2014 Recap: Insights into Learning Analytics, Performance Support, Gamification

EF_ExecutiveForum_web.jpgOn October 13, SAP, Accenture, and HRM sponsored the annual Professional Learning Executive Forum – a place for executives from the learning and people development functions meet and exchange.  Last year was very inspiring – if you like you can check out my blog on social learning and the recap of the Forum 2013. For this year you can check out the Twitter hashtag #LEF14 to see what was tweeted during and after the event for some inspiration. SAP Mentor Tom Cenens also attended the event and in addition to a lot of live tweets and pictures he also created a nice Storify and a review- blog.  (Great to have an SAP Mentor at the event).

Keynote: What a CLO must know about Learning Analytics (Peter Howes) Slides from Peter

For 2014 the main topic was Learning Analytics. We were happy to have HR analytics veteran and ambassador Peter Howes from Australia giving the keynote. He started with numbers and mythbusting where he explained different assumptions and how they can be challenged based on data. According to research by the corporate executive board it only can get better: 82% percent of leaders do not trust talent data, 83% do not believe T&A analytics are focused on the right issues.

In Peter’s view, the powerbase of HR depends much on the individual person, Finance is much more institutionalized. So HR needs more analytics, incl. standards of analytics to get more power. One of the mantras he always emphasized was the importance of segmentation of data  – to make data less generic and to detail it more meaningful. For example. you can compare KPIs like high performers with survey data from Gallup. With segmentation you can find further insights. Just around 5% of HR professionals really use learning and talent analytics.

He described the different areas of HR and learning analytics:

  • Very advanced analytics work with Index measures – like managerial benchstrength where you aggregate and weight data to generate indexes
  • Benchmarking is too overrated because it is too generic. It needs more segmented to find insights
  • Analytics is more looking at correlations, significance tests, analysis of variance
  • Predictive analytics is using structural equation modeling to test hypotheses. It is currently a trend – but Peter recommends to start with analytics, segmentation, and so on first

In general, learning analytics should be always seen under the area of workforce and talent analytics. Peter’s advice is to ask yourself what you want to know about your workforce. Then bring different data together, segment it, analyze it and wrap stories around it to talk to management.

Fishbowl on Learning Analytics with J. Cruyff (Accenture), P. Howes (SAP), N. Büning (intalor)

Learning analytics status in Europe has currently a very low maturity. Main problem is that organizations struggle with having good data – so the source is missing. (In US only ~ 5 % or less do it). 

Where can a HR and learning professional start?

  • Start with data segmentation. First look at critical roles, e.g. the ones who are revenue generating, roles which are high in demand or have a long lead-time to become productive. Payroll or survey data –  competencies,  are too complex to start with
  • Core measures to detail/ break down can be: performance rating, turnover, salary increase, position tenure, revenue/ profit per employee
  • Best Practice from Bank from Ireland: Correlate business KPIs like Net Promoter Score with activity data from HR

As asking the right questions about data, learning & analytics is important, Peter Howes shared two nice analogies:

  • Mining analogy: first you usually start with a soil sample, then you do a test drilling, then you build mines – at HR we often start with building mines
  • XRay vs MRI: instead of simple pivot reports like Xray we should detail the data more – like in MRI (to get more slices).

What can be good questions to start with?

  • Do we reward performance?
  • How does a high potential turnover look in detail or span of control by job function?
  • What is a career? Transfers vs. promotions – looked together with age?
  • Do we reward managers who are net exporters of talent? (salary increase vs export / import of talents)
  • Do we build the capabilities where we will have the highest demand in critical jobs in the future (strategic needs analysis)

It’s important that you bring different data together: employee survey data, business data like revenue/ profit per employee, learning management system.

How can we start? It would be good to start with establishing an center of excellence in your HR organization. Skills you need can be found amongst people from Finance, Marketing, Industrial & Organizational Psychology.  Automate your existing reports which often are an necessary evil.

World Cafes

We held six different world cafe rounds. Please find here a recap on some of the cafes I was able to attend:

Mobile Performance Support at Belgian Railways: Future on-the-job-help, learning and certification (Bart Verplanken)

From knowledge workers to the shop floor, to integration for next gen mobile devices for 3500 train attendants. Belgian Railways supports Workforce Performance when it comes to e-learning and sustainable knowledge management. Their vision is that learning and knowledge is context & process aware. This implies providing instructions and assistance to workers when they need it (as the issue occurs), where they need it (provide the answer in the same environment as the issue) and in a form that suits the challenge (e.g. a quick reference card one day, an e-learning the next). Belgian Railways is deploying tools like SAP Workforce Performance Builder as a pivotal piece of technology for content delivery to any type of device, from the office worker’s PC to the train attendant’s next gen handheld mobile device. Issues discussed are content governance or the necessary automation of translation via standards like xcliff and translation systems like Trados.

Measuring and Motivating Social Learning through Gamification @ Accenture

In this world café Moritz von Radowitz showed an Accenture internal example how Gamification is used to motivate Accenture employees to engage in social learning an collaboration via typical game mechanics like missions, points and badges. Those mechanics are built into Accentures interal social media plattform. We will share further info soon – until then I would like to link to some related interesting whitepapers from Accenture: Gamification And Sustainable Behavior Change, Playing Your Digital Cards Right, Changing the Human Resources Game: How Serious Games and Gamification are Disrupting HR.

Jesse Bernal from Johns Manville introduced the topic: Business Process Improvement with User Performance Analytics. In this case the business  processes were monitored with advanced analytics using SAP Userexperience by KNOA to find out KPIs like errors which are none by system users. Through such information the business processes can be improved like improving the user interface of software or the training can be done more targeted – e.g. to target-groups who have issues with the process. Please find here the slides

My personal takeaway was mainly a different look at Learning Analyics as I come from the area of statistics & assessments. Segmenting data in a more finance/ marketing fashion to challenge assumptions is defenitely something I will try to try out where possible.

I hope you find the recap interesting. You may want to bookmark this blog as I might update it with further links or presentations. Please also share your feedback or questions via the comments function below.

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      Author's profile photo Anke Hoberg
      Anke Hoberg

      Many thanks, Thomas, for your summary! 

      Author's profile photo Marek Buettel
      Marek Buettel

      It was great to see the increase of participants compared to last 2013. We had very interessting discussions considering the business and the scientific view about ´Learning Analytics´.

      ´Learning analytics is not just a phrase - it can impact the business significantly....lets take the Executive Forum 2014 as a kind of kick-off

      Author's profile photo Chris McLellan
      Chris McLellan

      Thomas, Great summary.

      I totally agree with Marek - learning analytics are real and provide genuine insight into whether or not a business achieves a return on the investment put into delivering training to its people.  It seems clear but as you say the level of competence around this important topic is not as mature in Europe as perhaps it could be.