Measuring the impact of Social Learning
This is a brief summary of 1) considerations about measuring the impact of social learning, and 2) how and what to measure on.
Considerations on measuring social learning
The most important considerations are really not about social learning, but about three overall questions.
- What is the strategic goal? What will success look like, and what is the social learning initiative supposed to be supporting? Growth, savings, more sales, more knowledge, less churn… The initiative has to be the right solution for the strategic goals you are aiming for.
- Are the stakeholders in the company aligned? Do you have executive support for the initiative? How will the business culture respond to the initiative, and is there a readiness amongst the most important stakeholders to support the initiative as a way towards the strategic goals?
- How important is it to get real, measurable data? Important enough to create a “study” with initial benchmarks and to spend time collecting all the relevant data and results after half a year, a year, two years? If yes, then definitely go ahead and do that! You will get valuable business data.
How and what to measure on in social learning
- Define the metrics that align to the strategic goals you are aiming for. If the strategic goal is increased sale, what metrics will then be relevant? What changes do you need to see, and how can you measure them?
- Define benchmarks for metrics, or accept that you are mainly guestimating.
- Most basic measure of activity is how often the platform is accessed by how many users
- With Fuse, Vodafone registered a increase from 300 to 10.000 views per day.
- Measure on engagement and activity by type of participation
- How many are posting videos and asking questions? How many views?
- Define desired number of contributors, number of collaborators and number of consumers. (Often based on Jacob Nielsen’s social participation triangle 1%/9%/90%)
- With Fuse, Lloyds reached the highly successful numbers of 25% creators, 26% collaborators and 49% consumers.
- Find correlations between social learning and business metrics: For instance the number of people who have watched videos on upsell in a specific area correlated to actual upsell in that area. (measured against other areas)
- Collect data and establish correlations across platform data and business metrics (perhaps even across all of the below 7 points:)
- Activity on platform
- Accessed learning
- Feedback on quality
- Test scores on topics
- Savings on training
- Retention of employees
- Increase in sales/growth/savings/customer satisfaction etc
- Observational assessment, with analytics matching actual behavioural change and performance data with social learning activities.
- Standard LMS measurements such as passed tests, learning paths and learner progression.
- Qualitative measures: subjective feedback such as being more productive, experiencing quicker access to information or support, feeling more engaged.
By Peter Simonsen