Last week the blog discussed how accessible data can be. Now we are going to talk about what you can do with that data once you understand it. In other words, why all of this data can be so important for L&D.

Great!

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As we said before, all of this data - how you access material, what you look at and for how long - is all invaluable for the L&D department.

Are you curating your resources? Want to know which resources are used and which are redundant? Data can tell you that. Not just the number of times a resource is accessed, but how long it is open for - how useful it really is. After all, if a document is opened many times, but only for a few seconds, chances are that it isn’t what your learners need. Prune out those resources, and replace them with the things that people are engaging with.

Are you creating new materials? Data can tell you what learners have searched for, what they are looking for and what they end up using. Data will show you the needs to be fulfilled.
Maybe you need some material that matches the title of that document learners kept opening but immediately closed.

How about BYOD learning, mobile and anytime, anywhere learning? How are your learners trying to access materials? What devices are they using, what browsers? Data can tell you that, and you can create resources to fit. It’s no use having really useful material that is optimised for desktop if all your learners access it on their mobiles.

Can’t I just ask the learners these questions?

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You could do a survey, but how accurate would it be? It takes time to write, and longer to be completed, and then the results curated. An L&D use questionnaire is unlikely to be anyone’s top priority. Data gives you immediate, detailed information. It shows real action, and doesn’t rely on anyone remembering what they looked for, how, why and when.

And if you are using learning software which incorporates networking and communication too (like Rhizome Live, for example), data can tell you even more. Data can tell who is talking to whom. It can track new networks as they form, and highlight the key nodes in those networks. In other words, it will highlight the hidden experts in your organisation.

The data to do all of this is already there. All you need to do is harness it.

Lizzie Evans - Learning Consultant, Rhizome Live

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