Learning Analytics 101


With almost 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, big data has unexpectedly affected our private as well as professional lives. But big data within itself doesn’t amount to much, unless it is analyzed. Analytics has now become a ‘must-have’ for any and every organization with the desire to operate efficiently and achieve success. Prompted by the overwhelming amount of information organizations now possess, it is only natural for them to start analyzing it to evolve in today’s fast changing digital landscape. And, today, one of the industries where analytics is quickly making a big difference is the learning industry.Learning analytics has become a key driver of improving learner and learning experience, and hence L&D outcomes, so much so that 80% of organizations and 63% of SMBs are using or are set to use learning analytics, as per a research study by IDG. Enterprises, governments, educational institutions and SMBs alike, which have had tons of data about the learning habits of their employees, are finally starting to join the dots between data and insights using learning analytics.Learning analytics are essentially a set of tools that can measure and analyze the data (along with reporting) and transform that data into information and knowledge. For enterprises, a Learning Management System equipped with credible analytics and reporting tool translates the important data recorded during the training (such as a employees’ test scores, progress, log-in information, etc.) into business intelligence. And, equipped with this information, L&D teams can gauge the specific learning needs of the employees such as relevance of learning materials, employee performance and skill level and so on.

Why is Learning Analytics necessary?

Learning analytics can improve employees’ learning experience and guide L&D professionals to design efficient training methods, while helping organizations to achieve their overall business objectives in the below mentioned ways:

    • Predicting Learners’ Behavior

The data collected from the learners can be analyzed to understand the learning patterns and performances of the learners. Further, comparing this data with the learners’ prior information such as test performance, time taken, skills and competencies, and other factors, L&D teams can determine the general aptitude of the workforce, the strength of their training materials and delivery modes, and also assess the learners’ level of risk. According to The New America Foundation survey, over 87% of trainers claimed that analytics is a desirable instruction tool.Through learning analytics, L&D teams can also gain insightful information to predict the future performances of employees; they can determine whether employees will require additional learning materials or instructor-led training to ensure improved performance. By identifying employee/s that have specific learning challenges, L&D teams can develop relevant methods in order to prevent further loss of time and resources.

    • Providing Personalized Learning Experience

It is clear how much tech and e-commerce giants like Amazon, Netflix, Google and YouTube value big data and analytics. With more information they collect, they can better help their valued customers to decide, find and quickly access what they want.Likewise, learning analytics is a great way to determine the requirement and provide customized learning experiences to each learner to improve their learning, engagement and also the retention rate. As each learner is different in the way he/she learns, learning analytics can enable L&D professionals to tailor their approach towards each learner’s academic aptitude. According to Towards Maturity’s Learning Benchmark report, 97% of learning professionals desired personalized training.Learning analytics can also be leveraged to customize learning to a specific group’s learning interests. To be more precise, if a certain group/team of employees learns and retains information more when the learning is integrated with other activities (gamification, social elements etc.), L&D teams can then act on improving the training accordingly.

    • Increasing Cost-efficiency

With learning analytics, L&D teams can improve the employees’ success rates and hence prevent employees from failing or wasting time and resources. As employees begin to perform better and better throughout their training, they are more motivated and highly productive, which in turn, translates into increased ROI. Also, by leveraging learning analytics, organizations can access the strength and requirement of their resources, employee learning patterns, the efficiency of training, and accordingly allocate resources to drive ROI.The learning analytics and education market is rapidly growing, with the growing need for data-driven decision making. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global learning analytics market is set to grow to $7.1 billion by the year 2023.

    • Promoting Quality Assurance and Data-Driven Culture

Quality assurance is relatively the most clear and straight forward advantage of leveraging learning analytics. L&D professionals can access how learners are approaching their courses and then proactively identify problem areas, and accordingly make improvements in their training. More so, learning analytics can provide real-time feedback on learners’ performance so that L&D professionals can redesign or alter specific training material on the spot to aid the learners.More and more organizations are now using learning analytics as a way to manage their L&D efforts more expertly. Through analytics, L&D teams get a clearer outline to improve their processes as well as the learners’ experience. This, in turn, helps develop a certain culture of data-driven decision taking throughout the organization.In conclusion, learning analytics has proven to be a much needed tool for L&D professionals and learners alike. As per The NMC Horizon Report > 2016 Higher Education Edition, learning analytics is one of the leading digital technologies that are expected to gain a greater foothold in the coming years. Learning analytics helps L&D professionals predict learning patterns, take informed decisions and dive deeper into the learners’ data. In addition, learning analytics also helps develop data-driven training materials, map learners’ performance, while also predicts learners’ behavior and helps employ personalize learning.Learning Management Systems are a great way to analyze learner data. And, in today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, a learning analytics feature such as UpsideLMS’ innovative Reporting & Analytics dashboard is capable of relaying insightful information that helps improve decision making and produces better results.