Improving Data Literacy Skills in Your Organization
Good business outcomes depend on a culture of data literacy. These resources will help you bring your organization up to speed.
Data literacy can sometimes be considered a given, especially for employees who have a track record of success. But even the most senior employees — learning and development (L&D) professionals included — may not have a complete understanding of how to use and communicate data.
The urgency for improving data literacy across the enterprise is only increasing. “According to some estimates,” says economist John Johnson in his LinkedIn Learning course Data Analytics for Business Professionals, “the volume of data in the world will more than double from roughly 79 zettabytes in 2021 to roughly 181 zettabytes in 2025.”
“Given this astounding prediction,” he added, “firms that compare data analytics with business acumen can gain a true competitive advantage, responding to their business challenges more quickly, more rigorously, and more successfully than their competitors.”
As an L&D professional, you are the key to driving data literacy at your organization. Keep reading to learn what data literacy is and what tools and resources are available to you to upskill your organization’s data literacy at scale.
What is data literacy?
Data literacy is a growing requirement for just about any role in an enterprise organization. At its most basic, data literacy is the ability to understand and use data in a business context. More broadly, data literacy requires proficiency in in these skills:
Locating and accessing relevant data
Creating, gathering, filtering, and managing data
Understanding data and data quality
Deriving conclusions and insights from data
Sharing data-informed insights with others
How to develop data literacy skills
Data literacy can be learned like any other skill, and L&D professionals can take advantage of online learning resources to bring these skills to the entire organization. These online courses will help employees start to develop general knowledge of data literacy topics as well as specific tactical data literacy skills.
Learning Data Analytics: 1 Foundations: This course on the foundations of data analysis from instructor Robin Hunt is an ideal place to start for beginning and intermediate learners. Topics include how to identify data, how to work with data, and how to analyze data.
Data-Driven Decision-Making for Business Professionals: Using data to inform business decisions can be complicated and overwhelming. In this course from instructor Jamie Champagne, learners will discover how to get from business problems to data requirements, assess the data they have and identify data they need, and other skills that will help integrate data into their day-to-day business decision making.
Excel: VLOOKUP and XLOOKUP for Beginners: One of the first steps in developing data literacy is learning how to find information. This mini-course from instructor Jess Stratton covers everything learners need to know about how to use this simple yet powerful Microsoft Excel function.
Statistics Foundations 1: The Basics: Statistics are not relegated to the realm of data scientists and statisticians. In fact, a lack of understanding of the basic concepts of statistics can lead to false conclusions and costly mistakes. This course from instructor Eddie Davila will help learners with any background better understand this important subject.
Moving from data literacy to data fluency
Data literacy is the ability to understand and work with data. But being truly effective at using data to tell a story takes more than just data literacy — it requires data fluency. Help learners reach the next level in their data analysis and communication skills with these online courses.
Data Curation Foundations: Data curation is an advanced data practice that involves collecting data and annotating it for use by other people. In this course, instructor Monika Wahi covers the basics of data curation, such as what data curation is, the five types of data curation files, and how to put data curation into practice.
Data Fluency: Exploring and Describing Data: Data fluency is a more advanced form of data literacy. This course assumes a basic level of data literacy as instructor Barton Poulson covers procedures for how to work with data to solve problems, such as preparing data, visually exploring data, and using statistical methods to describe data.
Presenting Data Effectively to Inform and Inspire: Presenting data may seem straightforward, but data can easily become a confusing mess if not presented with care. In this course, instructor Bill Shander teaches learners the basics of how to present data to others effectively.
Developing data literacy within L&D
Data literacy is a vital competency throughout the business world, and L&D professionals are no exception. But, according to the 2023 Workplace Learning Report, L&D has fallen behind in their ability to analyze and track data, prioritizing satisfaction and usage metrics to measure their programs instead of business impact.
The top five ways L&D pros are measuring success are all vanity metrics, based on satisfaction with programs. Business metrics fall to the middle or bottom of the list.
By upskilling their own data literacy, L&D professionals can better advocate for themselves and their learning programs.
A good place to start is with the LinkedIn Learning course Measuring Learning Effectiveness. In this course, instructor Jeff Toister guides L&D professionals through multiple evaluation models, as well as how to communicate outcomes effectively. These skills will help any L&D professional prove the effectiveness of learning programs.
From courses on basic data fluency and statistics to SQL tips and Data Mining in R, the Develop Your Data Analysis Skills learning path is an invaluable resource for learners at any stage of their data literacy education. If you’re ready to dive into your organization's data literacy journey now, explore the LinkedIn Learning product.