Solving learning analytics challenges is a fundamental aspect of any customer education professional’s job. That’s because strong customer-focused organizations continuously gather, interpret and act on relevant data.
Without a clear strategy and process to address learning analytics challenges, customer education teams are flying blind. What’s more, without the right insights at the right time, the customer education function may miss opportunities to add value to the customer experience or maximize its contribution to overall business performance.
But if learning analytics is so critical in customer education, why are there so many challenges? What are the most common issues? And why is it important to conquer them? Find out in this third episode of Customer Ed Nuggets, a new short-form podcast from Talented Learning!
Today’s Guest Expert
Today, we’re fortunate to welcome a special guest who is a learning analytics expert — Tamer Ali, Co-Founder and Director of Authentic Learning Labs. Tamer and Authentic are breaking new ground in multiple ways, with LXP and analytics solutions that serve customer education and continuing education markets.
Analytics in Customer Education
Although learning analytics challenges are common, resolving these issues is worth the effort. For example, you can expect:
- Better Decision-Making — Data-driven insights from learning analytics help organizations make informed decisions about training program strategies and content. By correlating training progress with business data, you can identify which training initiatives have a direct impact on sales and marketing performance. This enables you to allocate resources more effectively, focusing on the training areas that contribute most to business success.
- Improved Customer Performance — Learning analytics can provide a deeper understanding of customer onboarding, engagement and success. By analyzing training data alongside sales and marketing metrics, you can identify areas where additional training is needed, as well as opportunities to improve the customer experience at every stage in the customer lifecycle. This opens the door for targeted training interventions that enhance customer skills, strengthen their relationship with your organization, and improve related business performance over time.
- Stronger ROI and Increased Productivity — Integrating LMS data with business data is the only way to measure return on investment (ROI) for customer education initiatives. You can track the direct impact of training on sales and marketing outcomes, such as increased conversion rates or customer engagement. This intelligence can help you more efficiently allocate resources to ensure that training investments generate positive returns and elevate overall business productivity.
LMS Reporting vs. Learning Analytics
It’s easy to confuse LMS reporting with learning analytics because there are many opinions about how to define these terms. Here’s my definition:
- LMS Reporting — Training progress is the core of LMS reporting. Reporting focuses on the status of participants throughout their journey: who purchased, who is assigned, who started, who is in progress and who has completed content. Together, these metrics are core indicators of a training program’s health and growth.
- Learning Analytics — By combining LMS reporting with business data, you can determine the actual impact of training by comparing the behaviors of trained vs. untrained customers.
That’s why learning analytics is so useful and fun. If your training team can prove you are moving the needle for your business, the sky is the limit. Success breeds success, as well as incremental budget to enhance and expand your efforts.
Top Learning Analytics Challenges to Overcome
If learning analytics is desired, why can’t you just turn it on? Why does it have to be so difficult? With all the advances in SaaS, cloud, mobile and social, it is surprising that data integration hasn’t been solved and completely automated like so many other data-driven processes, but it hasn’t yet. Why?
Tamer and I have been talking about learning and business analytics challenges for almost a decade, so it was easy to brainstorm a top 10 list of learning analytic challenges that organizations need to overcome. Our combined (but certainly not exhaustive) top 10 list includes:
- Lack of Expertise — Many customer education organizations lack sufficient data scientist expertise to combine, crunch and interpret data.
- Technology Compatibility — Many employee-focused LMSs and legacy LMSs don’t have the necessary APIs or compatibility for seamless data integration with business systems.
- Stakeholder Alignment — Business data owners unfortunately are often in different functional groups, have different reporting chains and have different priorities.
- Volume of Data — Try studying a spreadsheet with 10,000 lines. You can’t see the forest for the trees.
- No Defined Process — There are many ways, steps, processes and checkpoints. The best organizations don’t wing it!
- Data Quality and Consistency — Data from the LMS and business systems may have different naming conventions, units, or standards. This makes it hard to combine and analyze data effectively.
- Resistance to Change — Measuring the business impact of training is a new mindset and often requires the removal of political barriers.
- Data Privacy and Compliance — Organizations must be mindful of privacy regulations, especially if an LMS contains personal information about employees, customers or prospects.
- Data Access — Organizations often have data silos where different departments or systems collect and store data independently. This makes it difficult to share and combine data effectively with a customer education LMS.
- Cost — Data integration projects can be resource-intensive in terms of time, money and personnel. Organizations may need to allocate additional resources to meet integration goals.
Watch This Episode of Customer Ed Nuggets
All of the above are formable learning analytics challenges. Luckily, most training organizations don’t need to fight all these challenges at once. However, some issues are more common than others. Watch the eight-minute video nugget below to find out the top 3 challenges Tamer and I see, and how we suggest organizations resolve them:
If you’d prefer to listen to our conversation, tune in to this Customer Ed Nuggets audio podcast right here at TalentedLearning.com.
The Bottom Line
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Similarly, “If you provide online learning to customers and can’t prove its business impact, was it worth the investment?”
If you can steamroll the most frequent political, technical, resource and cost issues, learning analytics is a rewarding endeavor for customer education teams. But knowing what challenges you face is half the battle in solving them.
About Talented Learning Customer Ed Nuggets
Hosted by Talented Learning CEO John Leh, the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast is a trusted source of advice, guidance and best practices for customer education professionals of all types. In this series of brief video and audio “nuggets” (each 10 minutes or less), I explore key topics with numerous guest experts.
We explore all facets of customer education learning tech, from how to build a persuasive business case, to effective strategies, technologies and content that help professionals create, deploy and grow successful customer-centered programs.
How to Follow the Customer Ed Nuggets Podcast
We practice what we preach by providing our content in a format for every learning preference. You can stay up-to-date with this podcast series through these channels:
Learn More About Customer Education Learning Analytics
Explore related resources:
Learn More from Tamer Ali of Authentic Learning Labs:
Check out other episodes featuring Tamer on our flagship podcast series, The Talented Learning Show:
Find out more about Authentic Learning Labs check out the vendor profile in our Learning Systems Directory or visit their website at Authentic Learning Labs.
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