Learning and Development must continue to be creative and innovative when it comes to telling its impact story. A great way to do this is through annotation and association of learning to outcomes or competencies. Let's discuss these concepts.
Annotation is describing what happened at a point in time along the impact journey. A concise and articulate annotation describing a major milestone in the learning program alongside the outcome data is the annotation needed to tell the story of impact. For example, if you're doing a leadership program and you completed significant coaching exercises and turnover amongst leaders decreased during or after this time, the annotation would note this significant coaching exercise was completed.
Association is trending the outcome data before, during and after a learning experience. If the outcome data improved across this time frame there is an association of the learning to the improvement. Please note this is not a causal relationship as that would be a highly statistical exercise. Association is correlation. Association is part of telling the impact story because positive trends during and after the program show evidence of learning's positive influence on the outcome. Further, if there is a naturally occurring control group and the trained group had more positive performance than the control group, that is another association in your data to tell your impact story.
The goal is to combine these two storytelling techniques to paint a complete picture of impact. To do this, plot your outcome data trends on a trend chart and at key points on the chart do your annotation right there. The annotations alongside the visualization of positive improvement in outcomes show not only the association of positive change as learning happened but also conveys the major events that transpired at key points along the way that influenced these events.
Below is an example of annotation and association in action. The association is the trend line representing turnover amongst leadership program participants. In the first period turnover is high, in the next period turnover drops to the company average (the green bar) and an annotation is made at that period that major leadership milestones are now complete. In the final period turnover dropped further. There is an association of learning to the lower turnover rates and there is annotation at key points to call out what significant L&D event(s) occurred during these periods.
Together, association and annotation are great ways to tell your story of learning impact. This may be a manual undertaking to do as a process that is repeatable across your strategic programs. Performitiv is a cost-effective technology that leverages APIs to connect to the outcome data and has an easy annotation feature anyone can use to document clear and concise milestones in the program journey.
If you want to learn more about Performitv's association and annotation capabilities to help you tell your story of learning impact contact us for a discussion and we're happy to share our insights and explain what several future-forward organizations are doing to modernize learning measurement.
The Performitiv Team