Having worked with the learning industry for over a decade, some of the most frequent questions,  I have come across are:

“How do I measure the outcome of my training or e-learning initiatives?”

“How do I demonstrate the ROI to my management?”

Well most of us will agree that measurement and demonstration of ROI is one of the biggest challenges for the L&D professionals globally.  But now times are definitely changing. With the big data analytics and xAPI standards totally revolutionizing the way, data is handled, the L&D space is also poised for leveraging the same through learning analytics.

According to Wikipedia, “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 environments in which it occurs”.

Simply put learning analytics is the digital footprint of the learner in the learning environment.

Through learning analytics, vital pieces of information are recorded throughout the duration of the e-learning course such as :

  1. How quickly are the learners progressing through a module?
  2. Learner’s score on a particular test/exam
  3. Whether they have participated in a discussion board?
  4. How many times have they logged in the course?
  5. How many learners have scored above average, and how many of them have outperformed?

Business  unit wise performance of learners i.e. ( learning behavior of learners from different business units)

Thus learning analytics gives you a complete dashboard of the organization’s training metrics.

More and more L&D professionals are realizing that learning analytics provide a valuable understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of learning programs and they are a “must have” for any organization to effectively harness its investments in training and e-learning.

Benefits of Learning Analytics

1.Provides a personalized learning experience

Through learning analytics, e-learning professionals and online instructors gain the ability to custom design e-learning experiences by analyzing the past and the current data. For example course signal from Purdue University gives a real-time feedback to the students through the use of a personalized email, spotlight and a color method to indicate the progress in the course. Thus usage of real-time feedback and the learner’s interaction (pace, time spent) with the e-learning course,  can help organizations provide a more personalized learning experience to the learners

2.Predicts learner’s behavior

Analytics provide detailed insights of learner’s performance throughout the duration of the e-learning course, based on the past pattern of learning across a diverse set of learners. This data can then be analyzed to understand the learner’s behavior and engagement and hence provide a personalized learning experience which ultimately maximizes the learner’s potential.

3.Enables Strategic planning of  the future e-learning courses

Learning analytics shows the trends and patterns which if analyzed well can help improve the learning pedagogy of the future e-learning courses to be developed. It infact gives you the power to design e-learning courses which you know will work.

For example, if the data shows that in one particular aspect or section or skill,  the majority of learners are finding it challenging or are seeming disengaged, then the course developers can tweak the learning pattern and objectives of the specific module or add more illustrations to better explain the concept.

4.Improved business outcomes

The ultimate aim of any learning analytics is to predict the learning behavior that can lead to improved performance and thus positively impacts the business outcome.

For example, if the sales team data shows that most of them have not performed well in email writing module, a more personalized and engagement driven module can help them improve on the email skills, which can then lead to improved performance through a better lead generation or closure of sales.

Thus a robust learning analytics tool is likely to become an enabler and optimizer towards the larger organizational objectives.

So now are you wondering where do you start from in your learning analytics journey. Well, I will say watch out for my next blog on the five tools which you can use for learning analytics.