Co-founder of Coorpacademy, Jean-Marc Tassetto, outlines how new training analytics could offers unexpected help to HR professionals


Training is, as we know, a key source of workforce engagement – an important component of helping employees feel a real sense of belonging and identification and a tangible way to underline your commitment to their future learning and development as their employer.


Anyone who works with the under 30s will know this already, but it’s backed up by solid data – 59% of Millennials see the workplace as a forum for their career development, according to a recent Gallup poll, and the rise to prominence of sites like Glassdoor show how younger job seekers want to feel they’re in a place that values them and wants to hone their skills.


What’s intriguing and perhaps not widely known is that you can increase the positive effect for you as an employer from such workplace learning and development. The reason: training is not only a way to secure the right skills and attract and keep talent, it’s also a fantastically rich source of intelligence about employee engagement. More flexible and interesting ways of working with corporate learning data and feedback have started to deliver datasets that can be the basis for really useful data-driven insights for the Human Resources professional, talent and incentives manager.


Up until recently learning analytics only existed in a very partial way. That was because the dominant training technology we’ve been using – the Learning Management System (LMS) – managed access and tracked participation of learners, namely the attendee list and the scheduling of trainer time, but little else.

The LMS might offer information on content downloads, task completions and module completion, but the data was very thin to say the least. What’s changed in this picture is the debut of a much more flexible and useful L&D technology tool  – new-style Learning Experience Platforms (LEPs), as recently formalised as a separate market category by Gartner.

What’s different about the LEP contribution, as opposed to the LMS support idea, is that they are all about the learner experience – being highly user-centric in their delivery model and usability. Less well-known is the fact that some of the most advanced have revolutionised the analytical possibilities for L&D professionals because LEPs track delegate behaviour and tests what works and what doesn’t (based on internal new ways of collecting data such as the xAPI).

The Experience API (or xAPI) is a new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has both online and offline. It’s an application programming interface that can capture useful information in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies. Different systems are able to securely communicate by capturing and sharing this stream of activities using xAPI’s simple vocabulary.


Build resilience – but also maybe foster curiosity?


What this means in practice is that the HR or Chief Learning Officer is increasingly the recipient of data-based insights and gets to exploit all sorts of new types of insight – not only what someone has learnt, but how the learner got there and which learning approach they chose. This opens up the possibility for new performance indicators, such as Curiosity, or Resilience – both hugely valuable HR metrics. And of course, this will ultimately aid the workplace learner – as the learner become aware of what her own data says about her progress and experience so as to ensure long-term employability.


The transformative potential of these new indicators is even greater if you consider that the World Economic Forum identified re- and up-skilling of the current workforce as the number one strategy companies need to embrace in light of our continuing transformation into a knowledge economy. Knowledge, in the Google age is easily acquired, curiosity on the other hand seems less ubiquitous, and many commentators believe we need to boost employee curiosity as well as to build greater resilience and adaptability to change.


Indeed, resilient workers are seen to be more able to manage inevitable changes and deal with novel scenarios  As futurologist Yuval Harari (author of Sapiens) says, the only thing we can be certain of is that our future is uncertain: “If somebody describes to you the world of the mid-21st century and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably false. But then if somebody describes to you the world of the mid 21st-century and it doesn’t sound like science fiction, it is certainly false. We cannot be sure of the specifics, but change itself is the only certainty.”


So let’s help prepare our teams for this uncertain but dynamic future and see what LEP and xAPI-enabled training feedback and KPIs can give us: a new source of analytics that means that HR professionals and incentives professionals can use multiple, appropriate, data sources to properly consider the full candidate potential of a person for a specific job – not only in terms of their knowledge and skills, but also their curiosity and aptitude for change. Not only are these traits important ones to cultivate, but they are also important ones to keep.

The author is co-founder of learning experience and upskilling platform Coorpacademy and a former head of Google France