Validated learning is the attempt to prove that one is learning to build a sustainable product, product line or business. The purpose of validated learning is to ensure that mental efforts are not wasted on pursuits that will not further the success of a business.
The core approach of validated learning is treating every step of the way in product development as a science experiment to determine the path to a successful business. Hypotheses of what will fill market needs are formed from initial market analysis and customer feedback. Then a build-measure-learn (BML) approach is taken to develop a product that satisfies market demands without going overboard on features that customers don't want, producing a minimum viable product (MVP).
Customer input and metrics are important in market research and development and are especially critical after release. From the product release, customer metrics and feedback are used to validate that the company is learning. The learning is used to tailor the product better to suit the market and customer, ensuring that the company moves forward with a more efficient focus on what matters to customers and thereby more likelihood of success.
Validated learning is spoken of as a unit of progress in business. Validated learning, BML and MVP are all concepts used in the lean startup method as created by entrepreneur and co-founder of IMVU, Eric Ries. The purpose is to create processes similar to scientific methods to regiment success in startup companies.