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Measure the Effectiveness of Your E-Learning Courses

  • July 23, 2018
  • VAIRKKO

If you’ve been using any sort of online learning in your organization, it is likely that your learning management system comes with many different reporting features and functions to help measure the effectiveness of your online training. With all these different numbers and figures to look at, what exactly should you pay attention to and then what are the appropriate changes to make to improve those statistics? Through this blog post we will be dissecting some of the important metrics to pay attention to, what to do if the numbers don’t look good, and how to continue to improve the content and courses you offer.

The nice thing about online learning is there is a breadth of information available to the administrators of the course, unlike learning in school with textbooks - it isn’t likely that a teacher would know how long a student spent studying for a test and what sort of impact that studying had on the outcome of the test score. Unlike teaching within a school setting, online learning offers a unique opportunity for organizations to look further into studying habits, how that studying pays off in knowledge learned and ability to apply that knowledge, and continue to refine the content to achieve better results - that’s not exactly an opportunity when we talk about the use of textbooks!

Are Learners Signing Up?

This type of measurement of effectiveness most aptly applies to courses that are not required. A great example of courses this would apply to are soft skill classes within an organization, while they may not be required for all the organization’s employees, this shows who is taking initiative and where the most help is needed in learning a concept. If the course teaches how to exhibit empathy as a manager, and many of the existing managers are signing up, it is likely that people understand they need more guidance in this area. Similarly, if there is a course on offering constructive criticism to individual contributors and no one is signing up - either people do not find this skillset to be applicable, or they are not interested in learning about this.

Whatever the reason people are not signing up for a course, it is time to dive into why this might be. Is the course too long? Do people not need to practice these types of skills? Is this skillset something that is “scary” to learn about and apply? Other reasons the course may not be getting a lot of traction:

  • It might not have been marketed well enough
  • Students might not know how to enroll
  • They don’t recognize the need (discussed above)

Regardless of the reason there are ways to improve enrollment or switch the strategy entirely to ensure that students are enrolling and taking the course. From increasing the marketing efforts to rebranding content into a different package to make the offer more enticing, these two strategies alone can increase enrollment significantly.

Online education - learners taking part in their continued education.

Have Learners Started & Progressed Through the Course?

After any problems have been addressed with course enrollment, or if there are no issues with the number of learners that have signed up, are the enrollees then making progress through the course? After a certain length of time, at a point where it would be expected that a student could reasonably have completed the course, what number of students have done so? Is there a time period in which students work through the content at a faster pace than other course material?

Each of these questions can guide how an administrator works through changes that can be made to the courses to ensure their effectiveness. Figuring out whether or not learners are stopping courses half way through because of lack of relevance, time, usability, incentive or another factor will help shape how the organization responds. While the data can point to problem areas or bottlenecks to learning, finding out the reason behind these can be a little more difficult. Oftentimes, reaching out to the learners for additional feedback is necessary, but very enlightening to improving the course offering. It is important to remember that each iteration of a course should prove to be more effective if the right improvements are made.

Did Learners Complete the Course?

This may be self-explanatory, but the next metric to look at is the completion rate for the courses. Is there content within the course or mini-lessons that have a high completion rate but ultimately the whole course is not completed? Honing in on where people have fallen off in completing the course can give a lot of insight into where changes need to be made. Additionally, for the users that have completed the course, they can provide some of the most trustworthy and complete feedback because they have gone through the entire course. Listen to this feedback and make changes accordingly.

What are the Final Scores?

While scoring can be a little tricky to pin down and apply causation to - it can be a loose guideline for which to pay attention to. If the scores are inadequate, it could point to a problem with the learning material and its ineffectiveness to teach. It also might be prudent to monitor how many times a student attempts a question - which can point to a gap in content surrounding that topic. While monitoring scores and taking them into consideration can be very helpful at improving the effectiveness of a course, this should also take into consideration other parameters to be used at the most effective source of measurement.

These are just four ways to measure the effectiveness of your online learning course and there are many other ways to find out whether or not your content is effective. If you haven’t taken the time to refine any of the content in your course, these questions are a great starting point to continue improving upon the learning in your organization. Online learning is wonderful because it allows the insight into problems that other styles of learning do not, and the courses are relatively easy to revise depending on your learning management system.

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