Measuring And Evaluating Learning – The Top Skill For L&D Teams

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Recent research by ASTD and REED Learning reveals that measuring and evaluating learning is the top-most skill L&D teams are looking for.  From the report, here is the list of top 10 skills in demand:

How relevant do you think the following topics would be, as part of a qualification aimed at trainers and L&D practitioners? (responses are in order)

  1. Measuring & Evaluating Learning
  2. Delivering Learning
  3. Designing Learning
  4. Coaching Skills
  5. Improving Performance
  6. Facilitating Change
  7. Consulting Skills
  8. Managing an L&D Function
  9. Career Planning & Talent Mgt
  10. Knowledge Management

Does this tell us how the performance (read relevance) of L&D staff is being measured?

I think it does. L&D staff needs to prove what they do is meaningful, relevant, and adds value to the organization. Even though it is a challenge to prove training/learning’s effect beyond Kirkpatrick’s level 1 & 2 -senior management continues to ask for numbers so here we are – the L&D folks want that skill the most. And since Formal Learning can be measured more easily (as compared to Informal), we’ll continue to see formal learning as the largest component of learning strategy in workplace. I notice ‘Improving Performance’ ranks 5th on this list. Since the goal of L&D function in any organization is to improve performance through learning interventions and other means, I’d have thought it should have been higher up on the chart. Also I find ‘knowledge management’ – the undoubted torch bearer for Informal Learning for many years now – ranks the lowest on the top 10 list. And there’s no other mention of Informal Learning on that list or on any other question in the survey. I believe we’ll see Informal Learning becoming more prominent part of learning strategy in future as L&D staff gets a better understanding of how it works, understand their own role in facilitating informal learning, and also get a chance to work with some of the tools that can help them implement/support informal learning environments. However, for now L&D staff is likely to focus more on measurable interventions.

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