Driving automation in learning campaigns with data and analytics

Delivering a learning campaign moves away from the “one and done” learning event, to a learning experience that is spaced over time, using multiple points of learning. The concept of the learning campaign borrows from the marketing campaign concept, where users receive marketing information over a period time through multiple points of contact. In the simplest form, Learning & Development (L&D) and Marketing are trying to achieve the same objective – to change behaviours. In one case, it is buying behaviours, in the other behaviours around how we perform a task. Yet, when it comes to the campaign approach Marketing are doing it so much better. But why? What is Marketing doing better? Why can’t L&D replicate this?


One of the key things that we see Marketing doing well is around the whole automation piece. Sales funnels are set up and based on user actions different points of contact are provided. A classic example is when you sign up to access some content on the web. Undoubtedly you would get an email providing you with the content. You’ll probably also get another email not long after, providing another point of contact. Maybe a video or article that explains how the solution they are selling will solve your problem. If you ignore it, then you might get a nudge in a few days’ time with another point of contact. If you decide on taking up the offer, you will receive another point of contact providing more content to assist in changing your behaviour. All of this is automated. It is driven by data and actions. L&D can replicate this. The same concept can be applied to drive a learning campaign that can be automated based on learners’ actions and choices. Rather than a sales funnel, we can be providing a course. The various points of contact can be points of learning. Inaction results in nudges to help motivate the learner. Progression results in the learner receiving more points of learning, personalised based on their actions and choices. We can continue to provide nudges, points of learning and sources of reflection as they progress through the campaign. We can space the learning over time to avoid cognitive overload and enhance recall.


All of this can be achieved with capturing the data and based on that data, sequencing certain actions to occur. The power of xAPI and the potential to do this has excited me but has always been a challenge to fully understand how to manipulate the data. Marketing, for a while has had automation tools that allowed us to easily configure the campaigns and the actions that would occur. Now, with the power of Sparks, L&D has this opportunity too. Sparks provides us with the tool to easily automate the process. For example, a user is enrolled in a course. We trigger a point of learning to engage with them and look to motivate them in the course. Inaction results in a nudge. Nudges continue to occur to engage and provide further points of learning as the campaign progresses.

Getting started

If you are thinking about getting started with automating a learning campaign, here are some tips to help:

  • Work with a marketing mindset and think about the key behaviour indicators (KBI’s) you want to see
  • Think about what these KBI’s would look like in terms of learning data
  • Consider when you are going to nudge and prompt people with the various points of learning
  • Consider the different mediums you can use as the points of learning
  • Avoid the Marketing issue of making things too “spammy”
  • Evaluate the success (and or failure) of the campaign and reconfigure where necessary


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