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Learning Analytics: Your Key to Successful Online Training

What if the majority of employees in your organization travel frequently, work from home, commute long distances to get to the workplace, or are involved in jobs on the shop floor? You would think that all these are deterrents to rolling out training programs. But, thanks to the latest technologies in eLearning, participating in, and completing online training programs is possible anytime, anywhere.

As functional managers, and L&D personnel, you are glad that the workforce in your organization has training programs in place that take care of learning and development at the workplace. But, do you actually know the impact that these training programs have had on the organization? Does the online training program meet learners’ expectations? Or are you spending your training budget on training programs that are totally unnecessary? All these questions can be answered by applying learning analytics.

What’s Learning Analytics?

Every time a learner accesses an eLearning course through your organization’s LMS, there is some data that is captured. For example, data on the learners’ progress in a particular course, or the time taken to complete an online training program can be tracked through the LMS. This data can be analyzed to establish training patterns, and improve the efficiency of online training programs.

According to the Society for Learning Analytics and Research (SoLAR), learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environment in which it occurs.

Why Use Learning Analytics?

Consider the following scenarios:

1. An organization rolled out a training program on a new product to its sales team. 50% of the learners gave an incorrect answer to a question on a key feature of the product.

The Sales training manager realized that he had to modify the training program, so that learners are given more information on this key feature of the product.

2. It was noted that many new employees who were asked to take an online new hire orientation course, either skipped, or took too much time to complete a particular section of the training program, because they found it boring.

The HR department had to take remedial measures to rework on that section of the training program, so that it appealed to the millennials in their organization.

In both the scenarios, learning analytics had an important role to play. It was only after data on learners’ learning patterns was analyzed, that the organization knew what to change or improve in the online training program.

What Data to Measure to Make Online Training Programs a Success?

The success of every e-learning course rolled out in your organization can be evaluated by data analytics. Here is a list of the various kinds of data that can be tracked with learning analytics.

Reach of Online Training Programs

Analyzing data on the number of learners who have access to the online training program rolled out in your organization can help you evaluate the potential reach of the e-learning course.

Rate of Completion

Learning analytics through an LMS can help you track the number of learners who have completed the online training program. While this is not a measure of the effectiveness of the training program, you can certainly use the data to find out if there are any reasons why learners are finding it difficult to complete the training program.

Time Taken for Course Completion

Learning analytics can help you get data on the time taken by learners for online course completion. You can find out how long a person has been active in a training session. Did they go through the course diligently, or quickly click through the course to complete it? All this data reveals so much about the success of your e-learning course. 

Effectiveness of the Training Program

Consider an example of an online sales training on new account penetration that has been rolled out to the organization’s sales teams in different regions. After the training program is complete, the sales manager reviews a region-wise performance report to check how training has helped sales teams on the job. It is noticed that the sales team in the western region has fared better than other regions.

According to a research report, by Steve Martin, location has an impact on the sales skills and selling techniques of organizations. For example, sales teams in the South region of USA, stand a better chance of success if they contact prospects in the beginning of the week, whereas in the West region, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best days for prospecting. Now, that’s some interesting information. Maybe the training programs need to be personalized according to the location of learners, because a strategy that works in one region, might not work in another region.

If learning analytics had not been applied, sales managers may not have had access to such valuable information.

Progress Per Page

In non-linear courses, it becomes difficult to track which part of the course the learners find engaging. If you notice a pattern where learners exit the training when they reach a particular section, or take a long a time to complete a section of the course, then it’s time to revamp that section of the course.

Type of Device

Data on the type of device used by learners to complete e-learning courses will help you understand the device preference of learners. If a majority of learners in the organization, take online training programs on mobile phones and tablets, as compared to laptops, or desktops, then it’s essential for your organization to ensure that mLearning courses are part of the training strategy.

A simple analysis of data by applying learning analytics through the LMS, can contribute to the success of your online training programs. Have you used learning analytics in your organization? If yes, we would love to hear your comments on how it has contributed to successful training programs.

The State of Learning: 2023 and Beyond