Learning And Development Audit: How To Do It In 3 Simple Steps

Gary Stringer
February 26, 2024
February 26, 2024
Learning And Development

Skip this one step, and it’s game over for your L&D strategy before it’s even begun.

Because a good learning and development audit is the foundation for success.

If you want to solve organisational problems and drive impact, you need to understand a few simple things.

1. What the current perception of L&D is.

2. How the content you create is received and consumed.

3. And whether you’re having any influence on performance.

That’s it.

No need to overcomplicate it. It’s just about executing these three simple things well.

Luckily, we’ve got a proven framework for auditing what is and isn’t working currently - giving you those solid foundations for what comes next.

How do I run a learning and development audit that really works?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an audit is only using one type of feedback. 

Either looking exclusively at content data or collecting anecdotal stories with little consistency.

But a good audit is well rounded - it all needs to complement each other and we can’t look at things in isolation.

It’s not just a case of auditing what we do or produce but how we’re perceived and the impact we have on others. 

That’s why we’ll break our audit into these three core buckets to create a bigger picture: perception, content and performance.

Once we’ve investigated these three things, we can work out if L&D strategies align to organisational goals, whether L&D programs are helping people in their role and if we’ve got the positive sentiment needed to drive change.

How is L&D perceived now and what does it matter?

Whether it’s intentional or not, you’ll have an L&D brand in the business. 

A perception formed by all the previous interactions people have had with you, and that perception is one of these key components for how much impact we have.

A very quick temperature test is to think of what people most commonly come to you for? 

👎 If it’s typically for content asks or to approve training requests, there’s a fair chance you’re seen as an order taker. 

👍 If people come to you with real business problems to solve, they probably see you as a strategic partner.

Either way, we have to know - it’s a crucial part of our learning and development audit.

In the What The Fluff L&D bootcamp, we give you a list of 10 questions that help you understand the current perceptions and sentiment towards L&D.

We didn’t pluck these out of thin air, these are the real questions that Danielle Dziurun, Learning & Development Manager at DT Consulting, used when she joined the business for understanding L&D’s current perception, identifying areas for improvements or quick wins, and building that platform for long-term success.

These questions help you understand people’s view of what you do, where they think you can add value, what you’ve done in the past that’s helped and what they’d change about your L&D.

Want this template? Sign for the What The Fluff Bootcamp today!

Learn how to build a winning L&D strategy (starting with a learning and development audit)

We’ve created content, but how do we audit its impact?

The next step of our learning and development audit is all the content we’ve curated and created.

And it’s important to think about what you want to learn from your content audit and which metrics will help you figure it out - otherwise, you might end up with more vanity metrics.

However, there are some ways to turn those common ‘vanity metrics’ into more useful insights - using the right mindset. 

The first useful metric is content views because this gives an indication of whether that content is being found - the first hurdle to it being used. 

Often, when we have low engagement with content, we assume the content is the problem rather than asking if it’s being discovered in the first place.

If you can track views over time, even better. This will give you an indication if something was once useful but is no longer relevant. Or was once being found but has slipped off the radar.

If content is being found, metrics like time spent and completion are a rough indicator of engagement with the content but we’re still lacking insight into how useful it was to people.

We can get closer to that if we’re able to look at the number of views AND the number of people opening it: that ratio shows us which content is being used repeatedly, meaning it’s adding value over time.

Ultimately, those metrics in isolation won’t help us understand how we influence performance, and that is something we have to know if we want to drive business impact.

So, finally, we need to audit L&D’s influence on performance

Let’s be real, this is something that’s much more difficult to measure after the fact. 

If what we did wasn't designed with problems or performance metrics in mind, getting clear insights on how we influenced these two things becomes more challenging.

The What The Fluff bootcamp will make that a thing of the past, but here's what you can do at this point.

We can start with the content. 

If we know which content is being consumed, and by who, we can interview them to understand if it has played any part in their performance and to what extent.

We can look at the performance metrics that have moved significantly and assess if L&D has played a role. 

Again, that comes back to interviewing people on the frontline and understanding the role content played.

If we can see that the sales cycle has shortened or more deals have been created, we can ask which role L&D has played and to what extent.

What does this mean for my L&D strategy moving forward?

Now you’ve got a handle of L&D’s current role in our business: how we’re perceived, our content’s effectiveness and our influence on people and performance. 

And our audit findings should be our platform to doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t!

These findings need to be fresh in our mind as we move into the next step: finding problems to solve. 

We’ve got another lesson on this in the What The Fluff bootcamp, and you can watch it free here 👇