Thursday, April 7, 2016

E-Learning Analytics: The ROI for Online Courses

Attention, instructional designers, content developers, and training managers!

Do you ever wish you could have a periscope view of what the learner was paying attention to? You know if they passed or failed the exam, sometimes you know the exact score. But it's not enough feedback! You spent hours building the interactivities--did any learners try to skip over it? Did some learners speed through it? How many were learners who worked their way through the interactivities? If you seek validation such as this or feedback to improve (pivot, we like to say!), then the world is now ready for you.

E-learning analytics is coming into its own. Your training budget is dependent on the C-Suite's (the Chief fill-in-blank Officers) understanding of how productive the training is to their employees. Training is both a perk and a necessity. It's a perk to offer training--something millennials value over flexible hours, working from home, bonuses. Rewards entice people to apply for employment at your company--and to stay. It's a necessity for company policies and industry-specific requirements.

Industry-Agnostic Web Analytics
Would you also like to have the technical identification of browsers, which version, and the device used? This type of data will help you understand that it may not be the content where the learner is stuck, but their access is impacting their learning results. This feedback can help you determine areas to improve as you move to or maintain learning on mobile devices. There are many, many choices, and in every price range. The most expensive options are in the $100,000 range, and the least expensive are free. When a company provides a free product, not as a sample, but always and completely free (such as Facebook), then you can be assured that you are the product. Research before sharing your data. Google Analytics may be the most popular and it is free. AWStats and Webalizer are free, too. I can think of two products that are free and are open source as well: Open Web Analytics and Piwik.

Training Web Analytics
The basic questions about learners asked and answered:
•    Which learners completed the training course?
•    Who hasn't finished or started the course?
•    When did the learners start and/or complete the course?
•    Which exam questions were commonly passed or failed?
•    How many learners passed or failed.

Analytics with the course or module is also available. As you can imagine, they can identify problem areas and increase efficiency for the training staff. They can improve the training and improve results in the staff in a corporate setting or students in a school setting.

Used in-depth, you can create a truly personalized learning program. For instance, while the assigned learners all passed the course, you can pinpoint an area that many were weak (even though they passed). You could quickly pull together a mini-course to increase their mastery of the topic, as well as reflect how to improve your training product. The mini-course would give you a chance to teach the subject in a different manner. Managers would recognize your focus on strengthening employees’ skills. The learner need not know they were selected because they were weak (or that your material wasn't clear), but rather that they were selected for in-depth, advanced training.

Welcome to the cutting edge!
One of the most exciting developments is Raptivity's Engagement Analytics. For most analytics, the one event that you cannot test or measure is the interactivity. Wouldn't it be helpful--soon crucial--to know what key interactions are popular and successful (or not).
•    Which interactivity is the most popular?
•    Which interactivity is the most engaging?
•    Who are the top engaged learners?
•    Were the successes location-centric?

Furthermore, the culmination of these features packages Raptivity’s Engagement Analytics at the forefront of interactive learning. Analytics likes these help in decision making during course development, and mapping learner behavior through analytics promises better learning outcomes.

About Author:
Susan Wines: Experienced in all phases of creating eLearning courses, I find authors (subject matter experts), apply instructional design principles to course content, improve courseware processes, train internal teams worldwide, troubleshoot, publish, and then engage in social media representing our brand. I work in HTML, XML, and create interactive learning content using flash/HTML5, and videos—even whiteboard.