With the pace of changes in the industry accelerating, being a successful learning experience designer means constantly looking out for elearning trends that can enhance your skills and learning products, and help you stay current in your profession. In this article, we will discuss a major trend in elearning that’s no longer a buzzword but a real everyday tool companies are using to deliver better training outcomes.
Data Reporting and Analysis Is this Year’s Major eLearning Trend
We have been hearing data-related buzzwords such as “data analytics” and “big data,” for example, for quite some time. But now they are no longer just buzzword. Instead of simply providing a training and hoping for the better, instructional designers, learning experience designers, and elearning developers now actively use services like Cluelabs Data Cloud or xAPI protocol to routinely collect data that shows how learners engage and interact with a learning course.
The Collected Data Is Becoming More Sophisticated
It’s true, that the ability to track progress and scores is not new to elearning. For quite some time now these two metrics served as a proxy for how the course was meeting its goals. Things have been black and white for the most part: low scores meant that the training wasn’t meeting the goals, high scores meant everything was going as expected. And while almost everyone in the field recognized that this approach was too simplistic, little has been changing in the industry.
What we are seeing now is that learning professionals are finally paying attention to more complex and, arguably, more useful metrics. Here are some examples of what successful instructional designers see as better learning metrics:
- Engagement (e.g. what is being clicked in the course, how many times, in what order, etc.)
- Attention (e.g. are they answering questions by simply guessing until the correct answer is selected?)
- Interest (e.g. how/if optional resources and links are being visited and utilized)
- Timing (e.g. how much time is spent on each slide, how long does it take to complete an interaction, etc.)
Benefits of Collecting More Detailed Learning Data
The reason this elearning trend is becoming a major force in learning and development is simple: by taking a look at generalized learning records, learning experience designers are able to make changes to the learning products to further meet the goals of the training. A detailed analysis can reveal hidden truths about the learner behavior. This will allow the stakeholders to take additional measures to increase engagement, improve motivation to learn, and facilitate the application of acquired knowledge. It’s also important to note that knowing how learners engage with the course makes it possible to create more relevant, personalized, and generally improved learning experiences.
How to Get Started with Learning Data Analysis
Here are steps for getting started with learning data analysis and making this elearning trend work for you and your learners.
- Take a closer look at the learning products you deliver and find areas that can provide insightful data on learners’ behavior.
- Start with just a few metrics that you’ll to track. Otherwise you risk overwhelming yourself with too much data and missing the useful details.
- Set up a tracking mechanism. If you’re developing the learning module in Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate, you can use a cloud service such as the Data Cloud elearning widget to collect and store the data. Some modern LMS solutions will also allow you to create custom fields and unique tracking metrics.
- Collect enough data to be able to see a trend. It’s not enough to look at the behavior of one or two learners, you need a larger data set.
- Check the data collected and look for trends. Once you identify a trend, find ways to improve the training for the next set of learners.
Summary on Data Collection in eLearning
The idea of collecting and analyzing the data generated in the learning course is not new. We have now approached a common understanding that building learning courses based on insightful metrics improves learning outcomes and in turn results in better business outcomes. In addition, the elearning technology has also caught up with this major trend. This means that any instructional designer, learning experience designer or developer has access to the elearning tools needed in order to start realizing the benefits that learning data analysis can offer. The availability of elearning widgets makes true regardless of the kind of LMS being used. Collecting and acting upon the learning insights is a major elearning trend that we will keep seeing for the years to come.