Using your LMS data effectively requires solid reporting strategies and turn data into analytics


5 Reporting Strategies for Moodle You Need to Know

July 11, 2018

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Using your LMS data effectively requires solid reporting strategies and turn data into analytics

- 5 MIN READ - 

As your courses run and your students participate, Moodle LMS tracks and stores a treasure trove of data that is as insightful as it is actionable.

Leveraged properly, this data can help effect change that will positively impact training programs. But all too often, organizations do not make full use of the information stored in Moodle. The abundance of data can be intimidating, and causes many Learning & Development (L&D) departments to fall back on superficial metrics like course completion rates.

This is clearly a wasted opportunity, and one that can be easily solved by establishing a clear analytics strategy. In this blog, we will explore how to do this, and offer five practical reporting strategies you can use in your own organization.

What Makes a Good Learning Analytics Strategy?

Put simply, strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the field of learning analytics, effective strategies must answer three main questions:

  1. Why do you need to do this?
  2. What is your goal?
  3. Who cares about this?

Carefully considering these issues will allow you to establish greater clarity on your objectives, resulting in a well-defined analytics program. On the other hand, failure to set clear goals can often lead to an inconsistent program with constantly shifting goalposts – which defeats the very purpose of measuring progress over time.

Let’s take a look at five effective analytics strategies you can implement in your organization.


1. Monitor Student Progress

Why do you need to do this?

In many cases, courses have a well-defined start and end date, within which students are expected to master the material. By monitoring progress on a regular basis, you can get a clearer picture of how many students will be able to do this, and spot opportunities for prompt learning interventions.

What is your goal?

To get up-to-date visibility on how effectively students are learning target knowledge and skill sets. Also, to be alerted to specific students who are struggling with the course, and who would benefit from additional coaching.

Who cares?

  • Instructors will know which students require further guidance and support

  • Course designers can adjust the difficulty and length of specific modules based on historical student performance

  • Managers can get a better sense of how long employees take to learn certain skills or knowledge, which improves planning

2. Assess Time Spent

Why do you need to do this?

In many courses, time spent logged in to the course is a good general indicator of whether students are investing enough attention into the training. In technical or academic fields, issuing the correct number of credit hours is also an important concern.

What is your goal?

To track the amount of time students have invested into the course, and when they do it. This can be for the course as a whole, or for specific activities or modules (e.g. watching instructional videos). Metrics such as average session length, hours per week and most active times of day can also provide insight into patterns of learner activity.

Who cares?

  • Instructors can remind students to spend more time on content they are neglecting

  • Course designers can learn what types of content or activities students find appealing

  • Administrators can track credit hours and store the data for audit purposes

3. Measure Student Engagement

Why do you need to do this?

Typically, a high level of engagement increases the chances of learner success. An effective course will tend to show students interacting often with the course materials, as well as with each other and course instructors (e.g. through forums).

What is your goal?

To better understand how appealing and valuable various course resources are to students. This is not just limited to course materials, as social learning analytics can also be extremely insightful. For example, one of our clients closely monitors the number of questions that are being asked and answered in the student forums, as they have found this to be a good predictor of learner success.

Who cares?

  • Instructors can pick discussion topics that students are more likely to actively participate in

  • Course designers can make future training more engaging

4. Evaluate Course Effectiveness

Why do you need to do this?

Increasingly, business leaders are demanding proof of training ROI. In order to justify future training investments, it is critical to provide more visibility into the effectiveness of various programs.

What is your goal?

To evaluate improvements in learner skills and knowledge, and to determine how effectively they are applied on the job. For example, performance on quizzes and assignments throughout the course can establish that learners have acquired new knowledge. Meanwhile, post-course surveys of job performance (e.g. number of leads closed per week) can prove links to real business results.

Who cares?

  • L&D heads can make a solid case for the ROI of training

  • Executives will better understand which types of training investments are likely to pay off

  • Managers can make better decisions on which employees would benefit most from specific courses

5. Automate Analytics & Reporting

Why do you need to do this?

Apart from determining what to measure, automating the process of analyzing and reporting data is also important. Preparing reports by hand is labor-intensive, increases risk of human error, and all but guarantees missed reports. Since consistency is the hallmark of a rigorous analytics program, automation is key.

What is your goal?

Use software tools to automate routine tasks in the analytics and reporting process. On the analytics side, this can include data capture, query and visualization. On the reporting side, this often means layout, presentation and regular submission to stakeholders.

Who cares?

  • L&D staff can reduce man hours and stress involved in creating and submitting routine reports

  • Decision-makers can count on regular, intuitive and visually appealing reports free of human error

Implementing the Analytics Strategy

Any of these five strategies can provide a good starting point for raising your analytics game. Remember that a solid analytics program is not built in a day. The key is to focus on one of these at a time, and make sure you get it right before moving on to the next one. Implemented effectively, these strategies will allow you to take full advantage of the abundance of actionable data lying dormant in your Moodle LMS.


To learn more about Moodle reporting strategies, watch the full webinar, Five Reporting Strategies for Moodle:

Watch Now!

This article is a summary of "Five Reporting Strategies for Moodle", a webinar conducted by our VP of Product, Stewart Rogers.

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