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deputy Editor, training journal @LightbulbJo

Cook looks I

have the honour of being a judge for the TJ Awards 2017. It’s not a light undertaking as,

in my category of Best Use of Technol- ogy in Learning, there were 26 entries! In the first round, we asked

entrants to “set out the objectives of your initiative: the main aims of the initiative and how you planned to measure success”. Te response to this was imperative. It showed an under- standing of the business and a focus on what was to be achieved in a set time. It highlighted if and when something had actually been achieved and by how much, and showed all stakeholders what more could be achieved. With any award entry there is al-

ways a huge amount of hard work that has gone in to the initiative that people are putting forward. And it’s this that makes the lack of business focus so sad. I have edited the following quotes

to retain the entrants’ anonymity, but I saw so many objectives along the lines of “increased use of badges in gamification”, “completion of e-learning courses”, “evaluation scored by attendees” and other versions of “bums on seats”. Tis is data for L&D to use, not the broader organisation. How is any fundamental organisation measure helped by the use of a few more badges in a platform? Has it helped to sell more, fix more, make more money, help more people? We have to be so careful with business measures. It’s quite conceivable that badges and gami- fication as an approach to learning for a specific solution will drive engagement, learning and therefore performance and business metrics. But in itself, it’s not a business metric. Another challenge in the world

of objectives is this: “understand how to complete basic shop tasks; think about the overall customer journey”. I can understand and think all I like about something. It doesn’t mean I’m doing it. Tese need to be

6 | September 2017 |

Jo Cook reflects on her judging of the TJ Awards 2017 and urges more focus on business outcomes

action-oriented, such as “complete basic shop tasks of till operation, ordering, etc”. Tis is something you can observe and makes an impact. Other examples were indeed business objectives, but that of the company running the programmes, not for the client using the programmes. For example, “gain 10% of the geographic market for product X” shows what the company wants to achieve for use of their own learning product. Tis isn’t impacting the customer using the product, so it’s not relevant from a learning and performance perspective. Some did indeed have great

business-focused objectives and measures, along the lines of “reduced customer complaints”, “reduced employee turnover”, “used customer excellence to redesign the customer journey”, “reduction in cost and time”, “reduced need for staff to be released”, “positive trends in safety performance and acci- dents”. Some of these included amounts and timing, which is essential for great business measures. Tis is a

fundamental area on which L&D professionals need to focus. Some do it really well. Judging by these awards entries, some need to do it better.

Jo Cook is deputy editor

of TJ and is responsible for webinars and the online community. She can be contacted at jo.cook@


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