February 25, 2019

Analytics is About Actionable Insights, Not More Reports

Our team attended a conference last week. While there, someone said they were generating reports that needed an audience. This seemed odd to us. We don’t believe that analytics is about generating reports and then looking for consumers of them. In fact, we believe that less reports may sometimes be better. Specifically, using modern concepts like AI to generate insights that users can act on vs. reports they need to manage seems like a better fit for today’s professionals looking to leverage data about their learning function.

Modern learning analytics tools should have less reports and more insights. At Performitiv we have created the concept of report suites. These are a small set of reports that 1) analyze the data for you and automatically illuminate insights and 2) allow for logical navigation into deeper data (cross-tabs, comment maps, etc.). Our extensive research indicates that report suites should serve 3 primary audiences: 1) tactical users that need timely details to help make decisions on a day-to-day basis, 2) program managers that need to sort program impact ratings by relevant attributes such as modality or curricula, and 3) stakeholders that need simple scorecards that show both predictive impact but also tell the story of how the learning is aligned to business outcomes.

In addition, insight cards are not reports at all. They’re AI-generated exceptions that highlight statistically significant themes in your data so that you can manage by exception. For example, an insight card can tell you that your leadership program is statistically having less impact than other programs. You can then assign an action to your team to work on resolving this.

When we spoke to over 180 learning leaders that wanted to modernize their learning measurement and analytics, none of them cited a desire to have more reports or to find audiences for their existing libraries of reports. Instead, they hoped to have less reports and more insights. Insights happen when a learning professional is engaged when using learning impact data that is pre-analyzed for their consumption. These learning leaders are empowered when they act on insight to continuously improve their programs and the impact they have on people and business outcomes.

Ultimately, future-forward organizations are evolving their learning analytics to be insightful and useful. Don’t worry about building more reports that need audiences, focus on using less reports with actionable insights to tell your story of learning impact.

The Performitiv Team

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