4 Ways Big Data is Revolutionizing Employee Training

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With the introduction of adaptive learning and semantic courses, training is poised to become a more transparent, data-driven process. Big Data is forecasted to make a major contribution towards corporate employee training and dramatically improve the user experience for everyone involved: learners, authors, and managers. The field of Big Data is growing tremendously. Gartner expects that the BDA market will have 4.4 million jobs available by 2015. According to a study from Accenture and GE, 84% of businesses expect that big data analytics will change the landscape of the industry in the coming year. Much of this change may come in the field of corporate education with the development of more effective programs and the use of monitoring to ensure their efficiency. Until now, much of these innovations have been mostly applied in high-school and post-secondary settings, however corporate learning is beginning to embrace these advanced methods as well. Here are four ways that corporate training will change due to big data: 

1. Determining Training Effectiveness 

Big Data provides learning analytics that can inform the development of every aspect of employee education—including understanding employees, building better programs, and having more insight into the interaction between employees and the software. It allows companies to keep track of learning processes and gauge what is working in employee training and what is not. On the Inkling blog, Megha Narayan suggests two areas management can focus on to determine training effectiveness. An internal matrix used to measure employee comprehension should be developed, with key benchmarks and targets. For example, are employees continuing to struggle with certain learning modules? Do they continue to fail certain quizzes or miss certain questions? Big Data can also evaluate engagement—the measurement of whether or not employees are interacting with the content.  As training content is created, employers should think like a digital marketer–analyzing how, when, and why their audience (i.e. employees) engage with certain aspects and ignoring others.

2. Continuous Program Alterations using Employee Feedback

Big Data allows authors of e-learning courses to receive anonymous feedback from learners. Data on individual exercises and on overall courses will provide developers with important insights into how learners use the course.  This will help reveal what is successful as well as recurring mistakes and misunderstandings, allowing authors to fix problems and improve courses. Big Data also allows managers to understand their staff’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to adjust organizational processes to compensate. Big data can also be incorporated with cloud-based platforms, allowing for immediate feedback and real-time updates. Real time updates allow managers to take the immediate steps necessary to improve employee training.


3. The Importance of “People Factors”

Understanding your customers and your employees can enhance training and performance in the long run. Take for example, Accenture, the global consulting and technology company. Accenture analyzed over 1,000 of its largest client products to determine what exactly contributed to their success. The data included dozens of variables such as gender, career level, and geography. The investigation determined that the biggest contributor to success “people factors”. Research also revealed that more recently trained team members (i.e. those trained within the last 12-months) were more likely to be successful on projects. Accenture was able to convert its training data into something that management could use to enhance employee performance.

4. Personalization of Learning

If training managers are given the opportunity to know how their learners are acquiring information and what works best for them, they will be able to provide more personalized and engaging courses and training delivery methods. Modules can be tailored to meet the individual needs of the learner, offering a high quality and meaningful learning experience. Contextual online guidance platforms that can be overlaid onto a software program or website can teach users how to complete tasks depending on who they are. Based on administrator settings, the program can tell who the user is and precisely how to guide him based on his/her personal needs. Big data is one of the big trends coming down the pipeline that we’re going to see make a big impact in 2016. With mass data from hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users, we’ll finally have a better idea for what works and what does not. Cheers!
Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to Training Station blog.