Registration for Inspire 2024 is now open!

Register now

Connecting learning analytics to business results

• 4 min read

According to research by Brandon Hall Group, the #1 challenge faced by L&D teams is measuring the effectiveness of learning. 

But it’s not for lack of trying. Or for lack of data.

The problem is, many businesses don’t have the right data, organized in the right way; and even if they did, they often wouldn’t know what to do with it.

So if you’re struggling with measurement, you’re not alone. And it’s OK.

What’s surprising (and shocking) is that fewer than one third of orgs have done anything to address their data and analytics gaps and fewer than one third have progressed beyond a basic awareness of the need. 

Nearly half of organizations say that none of their programs are being evaluated at Kirkpatrick Level 4—which is measuring how learning impacts targeted business outcomes. And less than half consistently evaluate above Level 3, which means examining if learners consistently apply what they learn to their day-to-day work.

Senior leaders are starting to notice. They want to see the business impact of their L&D investment. Not the engagement, not the course ratings: The impact.

But don’t worry. Proving business impact is simple. Not easy, but simple.

Here are the steps to make it happen. 

Step 1: Know what you need to measure (and why)

This will be dependent on a lot of factors around your learning audience and business challenges. Are you training employees or customers? Are you focusing on skill development or trying to fix a broken process? Is the training mandatory for compliance and you just want completion, or are you trying to create a culture of innovation? 

This strategic process shouldn’t be isolated within the L&D function: It needs to touch the business as a whole. For example, if you’re working on a new sales enablement program, sales leaders need to be involved and they need to help provide the objectives,  measurement criteria, and the outcomes that—when achieved—will make everyone agree that the mission has been accomplished.

Step 2: Collect and monitor data

That’s right. It’s Step 2 and we’re already getting into the tangible data work. Because to uncover insights with data, you first need to have data. Lots of it. So, it’s time to start collecting and analyzing.

In this early phase, you’ll mostly be concerned with reports (get as detailed as possible), but you can also think about the performance data you’ll need. Aim for a mix of current and historical data, from all points in the learning process.

At this point, a solution like Learn Data can be incredibly valuable. It gives you access to all of your learning data (and there’s a lot!) in a clean, organized, secure, and ready-to-analyze format.

And if this already sounds challenging, it’s likely a sign that there may be significant data access and availability issues. Think through the data you need and what systems and departments it’s coming from, then identify whose help you need to overcome those barriers. It often isn’t hard to get a data export or even your own set of credentials. But you need to ask.

Proving the impact of learning is a team effort!

Inter-departmental cooperation is key.

Step 3: Analyze learning performance

Move from data collection to data analysis. Start looking at trends over time and looking for correlations between variables. 

For this step, you will likely need to bring in non-learning data (like performance data from your HRIS or customer data from your CRM) to help tell the story. And again, a solution like Learn Data can be of help here, since the comprehensive learning data it gives you can be easily brought into your business intelligence tools and analyzed with data from other systems like your sales tool, CRM, HRIS, and other platforms. It makes analysis and insight-hunting a breeze.

Do salespeople have higher quota attainment after completing training?

Do customer renewal rates correlate to time spent learning?

How does customer education impact the amount of support tickets we receive?

These are the types of questions you want to ask; and they’re the questions great data will empower you to answer.

Here are some variables to look at for different use cases:

Sales enablement

  • Time to productivity based on training
  • Correlation between training and sales cycle length
  • Correlation between training and sales effectiveness
  • Quota attainment and potential gaps

Customer training

  • Time spent training on new features compared to new feature adoption
  • Engagement vs. NPS
  • The relationship between training and renewal rates

Talent development

  • Time to proficiency
  • Knowledge and skills retention
  • Impact of training on performance reviews and metrics

Employee onboarding

  • The impact of training on time-to-productivity
  • Training caps
  • The impact of onboarding on retention and turnover
  • The correlation between onboarding and team performance (short and long term)

Partner training

  • The correlation between partner training and partner readiness, performance, and quota attainment

Step 4: Explain the business impact of learning


It’s time to explain yourself. With data!

Finally, you should continue to collect data to show the longer-term impacts of your learning programs and to draw stronger and more confident conclusions. This will also allow you to see how your learning programs evolve over time as you make adjustments and improvements informed by the data you’re collecting. 

You can also take the insights you uncovered in Step 3 and convert them into more tangible metrics. For example, if the average salesperson takes eight months to fully ramp and learning reduces this by 25%, you can look at the average revenue they generate in that additional time. That figure is a cold, hard return on your learning investment.


L&D teams can no longer afford to assume their learning programs are impacting the business. They need to prove it—with data. And to extract those insights, it will require lots of data on hand in an organized, ready-to-analyze format.

You’re already getting the results. Your learning platform already has the data. Now you just need to analyze it the right way and prove that learning is effective.

Do it right and you won’t just be running an exceptional learning program. You’ll be among the 3% of organizations that consistently tie their learning to business outcomes. 

It’s an illustrious group. And with the world’s most powerful learning platform, you can get there.

Try the #1 LMS. Request a demo.