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Data is the key to designing effective learning programmes

We often talk about designing ‘data-driven learning programmes’ and how effective learning programmes are driven by data, but what do we mean exactly?

Gathering data

The first phase of any programme is about understanding where you are starting from. For us, this means gathering data to understand the “as is” and then analysing the gap that exists between where you are…and where you need to be.

At this stage, data is everything from the size and shape of your business, to the beliefs that each individual holds on what they are capable of achieving and which competencies are driving the current level of performance in the business.

When our founders wrote The Leader’s Secret Code and The Salesperson’s Secret Code books, they did so by analysing a huge volume of data points. Some of these were collected from interviews with high-performing individuals and they gave us a benchmark from which we can make all similar data meaningful and measurable.

Finding the priorities

There’s rarely only one layer of data, and one of our earliest tasks in a programme is to understand what matters the most. Where do we need to focus our attention?

We often run a 180-degree assessment to find the development priorities that exist within an organisation or team. It covers an average of nine competencies (the exact number depends on the business) and participants are asked to rank themselves against each one as either good, average or weak. Because this is done by people at different levels within the organisation, we end up with a matrix of data which can be used to identify capability gaps that need addressing in order to start to move towards high performance.

An example might be that 2 competencies are assessed as good, 5 as average and 3 as poor. The ones that end up being prioritised aren’t necessarily those which are at the lowest level of performance, but might be those which are actually average but contribute greatly to the outcomes that are the subject of the programme; the business need.

By using these capability gaps to inform our programme design, we can work towards transforming performance and delivering the future “to be” state. The reports generated after the exercise are used to inform one-to-one personal development discussions which means every participant gets qualitative outputs too.

Data is key

By allowing the data to drive the programme, we always achieve positive results. Not only that, but the outcomes are always the right ones, with the areas that need attention being prioritised.

It is often the case, when looking for an off-the-shelf training or employee performance solution, that organisations let factors such as cost drive their decisions. But this means they’re likely to be compromising for the closest programme they can find, and possibly compromising further by picking the price they feel is most appropriate.

By creating a fully personalised programme, which is driven by data – facts and evidence – from the organisation itself, we ensure our clients can see the return value of every penny they invest in each iteration of their improvement journey. The data we gain from our outcome-measures inform the next priorities of future programmes. As a result, we are able to deliver many years of continuous, measurable performance improvement.

two colleagues discussing data

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