There’s a significant gap in analytical skills facing the global economy that holds companies back from making the most of big data in every context, including learning, training, and development efforts. In 2011, McKinsey estimated that the United States alone needed at least 1.5 million more workers capable not only of analyzing big data, but knowing how to leverage it for better decision-making. You can’t fill this gap by hoping you’ll hire more analytical employees, because the educational system is lagging way behind the need, which is both real and immediate in the 21st century. You need to be training your people for analytical skills.

Training for Analytical Skills

Unfortunately, far too much of what’s available out there for analytics training focuses on the why rather than the more important how. It’s more than a matter of making sure your people have the tools and know how to use them. What they really need to know is how to approach real problems with an analytical mindset. Download free report on Bridging the Skills Gap. That means focusing on the following kinds of skills related to interpreting and using data:

  • Analytical and critical thinking.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Drawing conclusions from data analysis.
  • Presenting and communicating findings.
  • Decision-making.

There are many training options out there, but quite a few of them are geared towards people who want to become data scientists. Luckily, you don’t have to go that far into the technical aspects of data analysis in order to put better analytics to work for you in decision-making. Here are some excellent starting points:

Aryng. This is a company devoted to data analytics training and consulting. While the company does offer training geared towards those who want to become analytics professionals or data scientists, it also offers the Data-Driven Business Professional package for those who want to increase their abilities in analytics and decision-making. The package includes an assessment on analytics aptitude,  complete hands-on business analytics training, six one-on-one mentoring sessions, and a copy of Piyanka Jain’s book, Behind Every Good Decision: How Anyone Can Use Business Analytics to Turn Data into Profitable Insight.

Abbott Analytics. If learning how to mine data for insights and better decisions is in order, Abbott Analytics can help with the Data Mining Course: Overview for Project Managers. This customer on-site training is focused on equipping project managers to effectively engage in the data mining process, describing key steps in clear, practical, and non-technical language to assist decision-makers in how to use data mining to improve business efficiency and understanding. In addition to the 1-2 days of training, participants also receive a Data Mining Training Workbook.

Prediction Impact. Sometimes you need data to do more than just summarize the past in an understandable way. How can you leverage big data to predict the future in terms of potential customer response to various situations? That’s when you need predictive analytics. This company offers Predictive Analytics Applied, a self-paced online course that will transform your decision-making process for the better.

Human Capital Institute (HCI). If you’re looking for analytics training within the HR or talent management context, HCI is a good starting point. The organization offers a course called Building Meaningful Analytics (BMA) that highlights not only a solid foundation in analytics, but how to specifically tie the data to the strategic direction and initiatives that are unique to your own organization. Big data has arrived in a big way to HR, but many professionals are feeling the pinch of their own skills gap in leveraging it for success. This course will help.

Jigsaw Academy. Jigsaw bills itself as the online school of analytics. As such, some of its offerings are quite advanced. However, its Foundation Course in Analytics offers any business professional a huge leg up when it comes to enhancing analytical skills. The focal points of the course lead to knowledge of statistical concepts, predictive analytics skills, and analytic tools (Excel and the language of SAS) as well as the ability to use statistical techniques to analyze data for making business decisions.

With options like those listed above, you can help yourself and your learning staff lead the way in establishing a data-driven culture that knows how to leverage big data for better learning.