What does a successful learning platform look like, anyway?

What does a successful learning platform look like, anyway?

Written by
Fred Thompson
Date published
January 19, 2021

You’ve rolled out your learning platform across the entire organisation, on time and on schedule, and it’s being well received by your teams. You join this quarter’s executive meeting and the agenda moves to Learning and Development when a key stakeholder asks:

“Has the new learning platform been successful?”

“...Yes....” you reply, whilst rapidly shifting through your notes around engagement percentages, completion rates and total number of sign ins, looking to select the ideal statistic to affirm your hesitant answer.

Sure, the figures you have point to a successful delivery, with course completion up 20% against the previous Learning Management System, and the average time an employee spends on their personal development increasing markedly too.

But something is bothering you. What do these figures actually mean?


What does success actually look like?

To answer this, we have to go back to the initial reason why your organisation decided to allocate part of their annual budget to a new Learning Platform in the first place. In summary, it’ll be the same reason for most organisations:

It is the clearest low cost option to drastically upskill your staff and your organisation.

From this, we infer that we can only deduce if our platform has been successful if our teams are notably higher skilled, and our organisation is out-performing itself.

Does an increase in course completions really show us this?

Why did your organisation decide to implement a new Learning Platform?It is the clearest low cost option to drastically upskill your staff and your organisation.

We need to map statistics to outcomes to effectively measure success

You will need exposure to the wider measured statistics of the organisation to effectively deduce patterns that will indicate where improvements have been made and where gaps remain.

An increase to the frequency of project deliveries meeting their deadlines can be triggered by many factors, but if we can identify that a high percentage of those project managers had previously completed a training module focused upon improving estimation accuracy, then we can have more confidence that our platform is starting to make the difference.

How can technology help?

There frequently has been a substantial gap in the default offering of most Learning Management Systems, where the trend has often been to provide headline statistics and reports, and downloadable spreadsheets, but lack substance when it comes to analysis. I am starting to see a push towards Business Intelligence (BI) integrations into modern learning platforms however, which - simply put - is a game changer for forward thinking organisations.

Due to the fundamental changes required throughout though, a Business Intelligence dashboard may remain aspirational for many at this point.

If your business can feed valuable data points into a BI platform, and your learning platform can do so too, this provides a single purpose-built destination to continuously evaluate the impact of your L&D decisions.

How can I achieve this right now?

Simply, dig deeper.

The high-level statistics that Learning Platforms commonly provide simply won’t cut it when looking to accurately evaluate the impact of your L&D decisions, and BI integrations require fundamental shifts, are time-consuming and often costly. In the interim, gather as many organisation-wide data points as possible - ones that indicate the performance of the company as a whole - and map the highs and the lows of the data points to specific segments of data from your platform to identify trends and curate actions upon them.

Focus on the negative trends and, using data correlated from the positive trends, look to identify the changes L&D can make to support the business and move the needle.

You find the page in your notes that you were looking for.

“Yes, our learning platform is showing signs of success. We have identified that our recent increase in customer support satisfaction scores directly correlates to the webinar series “Improve your Telephone Etiquette”. We will be looking to roll out similar webinar series across the wider organisation in Q3.”

Time to sit back in your chair and relax; your executive meeting contribution is over…. for now.

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