The Memo November 2016: Does Your Language Training Work?

Congratulations, you and your L&D team have set learning goals, thoughtfully designed an educational program, and effectively rolled it out to your staff. Now it is time to evaluate if your employees met the goals you set, and learned the content you hoped they would.

Evaluations of effectiveness are one of the most important steps in the learning design process. The information you gain will help uncover what aspects of the program worked and what you should change. But how exactly do you go about collecting and compiling this valuable information?

This is where learning analytics comes in, “the analysis and representation of data about learners in order to improve learning.” Learning analytics are the key measures used to better understand what happened during the learning experience. First, you will want to decide on the KPIs that will indicate the success of your language learning program. Do you want all learners to achieve a certain minimum test score? Do you want learners to have improved their skills by a specific, measurable amount?

Gathering and digesting this information may sound technical and complex, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several easy types of data or tests structures HR managers can use to effectively gauge what staff have retained.

Use a Pre- and Post-Testing Format

Learning and development professionals can kick off the learning program with a basic skill testing assessment. For example, when a company wide language program is being designed, begin with a short evaluation of learner knowledge of common vocabulary and language specific syntax. This is useful to do during the hiring process as well. The Speexx Language Assessment Center allows HR managers to check the language skills of candidates beyond the oral testing, by also simply assigning an online test.

Once employees have completed each learning session, conclude the program with an assessment that targets the same skills the pre-test measured. When comparing employees’ initial performances with their post-completion performances, HR managers will be able to see which skill areas grew. Some programs, like Speexx, do this for you by having integrated assessments built right into the program.

Request Qualitative Feedback

Big data and test performance are important ways to quantify the learning experience. However, it is also immensely valuable to solicit descriptive feedback from participants. This can be done through an anonymous, open-ended post-completion feedback form, a structured, multiple choice survey or randomly selected interviews.

Qualitative responses help round out objective data by giving an authentic voice to learners’ experiences in the program. Having employees share their insight will give HR managers real world examples of where the learning program worked and which areas need to be developed further to meet the specific needs of their staff.

Use a Learning Analytics Dashboard

When using an e-learning format, it is easy to gather key pieces of digital information. Modern e-learning programs are able to collect everything from learners’ quiz scores, to how quickly they’re progressing through content, to how many times they have logged in. Many programs have an integrated learning analytics dashboard that will collect, track, and sometimes graph these and other key learning data points. Gathering data on how learners interact with the program allows you to understand their needs and improve their learning experience (and results) over time.

The Speexx Performance Center provides detailed reports on the learning experience that can be used in real time, as well as a summary of the learning experience.

Key Takeaways

Gathering data and feedback is a vital step in an effective learning design. It is what highlights both a program’s success and pitfalls, and allows designers to make improvements. However, the process of aggregating the learning analytics doesn’t need to be laborious. If you’re using a robust program like Speexx, most of the work is taken care of through the integrated language assessments and detailed Performance Center.

For more information on the importance of data in the learning process, download our white paper, Big Data and Talent Mobility to Drive Business.

Photo: ImageFlow / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author:

Beate Gallist is Head of Product Management at Speexx. In this role, Beate coordinates the developer team and she is directly involved in designing and creating new learner tools and next generation features for all Speexx solutions.