Learning Analytics - Art and Science of Using Data in eLearning


Learning Analytics: The Art and Science of Using Data in eLearning

March 24, 2020

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Lambda Solutions

- 5 MIN READ - 

From a deep dive into Impressionist artists to mastering content management systems like Drupal, eLearning has exponentially expanded how everyone from high school students to retirees gains knowledge of a multitude of subjects. eLearning’s growing footprint ranges from businesses helping employees build new skills to online universities to the general public thirsty to learn something new, such as rudimentary French before a trip to Paris.

At the same time, the enormous amount of data generated by eLearning can teach those who administer the programs a lot about such things as login frequency, time spent on online resources, completion rates and preferred user devices. In turn, this information can be used to better shape eLearning offerings to improve user experience and meet their needs.

We know a thing or two about the importance of learning analytics for eLearning businesses, that’s why we built the award-winning Lambda Analytics. If you’ve got big data questions, we’ve got answers!


The Rise of eLearning

Data about eLearning paints a picture of rapid growth. According to a 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report, the worldwide market for eLearning is expected to rise from $190 billion in 2018 to $300 billion in 2025. The eLearning market in North America accounts for about 40% of the global market. Demand for cost-effective training and learning in both corporate and academic arenas are expected to drive the growth. 

Businesses are choosing cloud-based Learning Management Systems (LMS) today because they offer greater flexibility in terms of accessibility and storage of content. Cloud-based administrative systems on the whole also offer improved security and data backup options. Another trend is accessing eLearning on mobile devices.

Data from Global Analysts Inc. suggests profits increase when employers utilize eLearning. They report that when companies spend $1,500 per employee each year on eLearning, profit margins increase by about 24%.

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is an eLearning Business?”, this free eBook is your guide to the opportunities in this 200-million-dollar industry. Snag your copy right here!

Data Improves eLearning Programs

Data generated by eLearning systems can offer insights into how to enhance the experience for learners and build businesses. But to be useful, the data has to be analyzed. Start with gathering everything that’s been generated from the courses you offer, such as website stats, eLearning course analysis, learning management system analytics, grades, student reviews and social media.

Then determine a few key goals that you’d like the data to help with. For example, you might want to find out if a course offers enough challenges and learning opportunities. You will want to look for trends and patterns that become apparent after analyzing the data. If it looks like many students are zooming through the material and still acing the quizzes at the end of a section, your offering might be too easy and not imparting enough new information. On the other hand, one that is over students’ heads may lead them to abandon the course early on. 

Data from individual students can help design personalized learning. Artificial intelligence (AI) can analyze student strengths and weaknesses as they complete courses and recommend new ones that will help fill any holes. 

Surveys from users who have finished a course can also be very helpful. You may have thousands of these surveys piled up on your server. The data you can mine from them will be useful in finding areas for improvement or new directions for future course modules.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? With the right tools and know-how, Analyzing lesson activity data to build better eLearning can be a snap. We cover both in this informative on-demand webinar, check it out!


The Human Factor

As you look at all this aggregated data, remember that computers can only take you so far. There’s an art to using this information to make decisions only humans can make. An analytics program can tell you how long students spent on a certain module, but you are the one who needs to parse out why and if that needs improvement.  

You can marry this knowledge with an understanding of the general characteristics of those involved with a particular eLearning course. Your Millennial learners (born from 1980 to 1996), for example, have a learning style that appreciates a user experience involving easy navigation, feedback opportunities and personalization. On the other hand, they may not respond as well to programs they perceive to move too slowly or are hard to use.

Data Options and Safety 

No matter what, all of the data collected in this process is simply useless without proper data science and analytic practices. Does the job of figuring out what to do with it all stymie you? There are—yes—eLearning courses that can help, as well as data and business analyst degree programs that can give you or an employee entry into an in-demand career like financial analyst.

In the meantime, it’s possible to outsource all the data crunching. Big data consultants abound, and they can help you monitor and analyze the information you have. They can be costly, but you may be able to get a good return on your investment if they can find ways to improve your offerings and identify trends you hadn’t noticed. 

Don’t tell the data analysts, but we’ve got a not-so-secret solution to the analysis problem: the award-winning Lambda Analytics and this webinar covering the Top 5 Tips for Keeping Reporting Simple


Of course, if you think this data is valuable, so might hackers. It’s important to encrypt data sources to keep them safe, including the personal information of your learners. To help ensure privacy and data protection, it’s best to entrust a few key employees to use the data rather than having open access to everyone at your company.

Because it’s online or in the cloud, eLearning can create a wealth—and sometimes overwhelming—amount of data to sift through. But by carefully setting parameters of what questions you’d like to answer, data can provide insights into how your students are learning today and what innovations they will need down the road.

Disclaimer: This article was contributed by guest blogger Beau Peters. Beau is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. The views and opinions expressed belong to the guest blogger alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or opinions of Lambda Solutions.

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