Why the Manufacturing Industry Should Keep a Close Eye on Learning Analytics

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Even though Learning Analytics has become a hot topic on the agenda of many EdTech* conferences, it still seems to be in its infancy. I admit it’s not the no. 1 topic when you are in the process of developing your first eLearnings. But as I have argued in my blog post, especially in an economic slowdown Corporate Learning needs to be able to prove that it’s adding value to a customer process.

During the past 25 years I have worked in the machine and automation industry. These industries have a constant need to improve business processes in order to remain internationally competitive. If Corporate Learning is strategically integrated in a business unit (and I am a strong advocate of doing so), a logical question is: “How does Corporate Learning contribute to reach our economic targets?”

The key question is: How does Corporate Learning contribute to reach economic targets?

I am aware that there are various definitions of Learning Analytics (consult Wikipedia for details). My opinion is that Learning Analytics should focus on the effectiveness of a training. If Corporate Learning has its focus on global sales, the effect should be seen in a CRM and ERP systems:

The chart shows the correlation between online learning for a new product and the subsequent sales activities. The data comes from a sales team of twenty people.

On the right hand side of the above chart you see typical steps of a sales process. The only step that was added is the number of course completions (blue line).

On the left side you can see the correlation between learning and the sales process:
As soon as the first salesmen have completed their online courses they started presenting the product to customers (green line). Some visits were followed by offers/quotations to the customer (yellow line) and the sales team was also able to convert offers into orders (red line).

In my experience learning in sales is a very crucial factor to steepen the ramp-up curve of product launches.

In my experience learning in sales is a very crucial factor to steepen the ramp-up curve of product launches.

Flat ramp-up curves of new products not always have their cause in technical, design, price or delivery issues. A major reason is that a new product was simply not know to everybody in the global sales organization. Salespeople will only present a new product to a customer…

  1. if they feel comfortable with the product.
    Specifically: they understood the major features and benefits of a product and know how to present it
  2. if they have a personal benefit of it.
    Specifically: The new product doesn’t cause them too many problems and it will help them to reach their personal targets.

A good online course will provide content that focuses exactly on these two points.

There is more that needs to be said (e.g. merging CRM with LMS data), but I want to keep this blog post short. Follow my blog to stay tuned. Looking forward to your comments!

* EdTech = Educational Technology

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