Christopher Pappas from eLearning Industry joins us in this guest post about maximising the potential of using Big Data in eLearning. 

How to Manage and Maximise Big Data in eLearning

There is a buzz about Big Data in the eLearning world and for good reason. With Big Data comes the potential to transform your eLearning content, design and strategy. It allows you to focus on online learners and play to their strengths. It helps pinpoint which elements need improvement or revision within your online training materials. Every interaction an online learner has with an eLearning course or module can be collected and analysed, giving you vital information, all of which can provide targeted, informed eLearning that puts the learner at the heart of your L&D strategy. Are you making the most of Big Data?

Does My Learning Environment Collect Big Data?

Any interaction an online learner has with your eLearning course creates Big Data. It isn’t about creating a “big” volume of data; the word refers to the value of any piece of data. So, your Learning Management System or social media platform will collect Big Data about your eLearning course. That means any organisation running eLearning courses has the potential to collect and use Big Data. The key is to identify your primary sources and then determine if it’s time to upgrade to more robust platforms. For example, an LMS that features customisable reports and advanced metrics. Here are some top tips to manage and organise your Big Data pool:

1. Overlook the Extraneous

You don’t need to monitor every LMS report or social media stat to improve your eLearning strategy. In fact, it’s best to overlook the extraneous and focus on data that pertains to your learning objectives and outcomes rather than trying to sift through an info dump to find the relevant analytics. This also makes it easier for your team to center on the evaluation criteria so that they can do their job more effectively.

2. Mind the Gaps

Another worthy focus of your attention is performance, skill, and knowledge gaps, as well as existing gaps in your online training strategy. Conduct task analysis, training needs analysis, and online assessments to identify these areas for improvement. Then concentrate on LMS reports that track progress in these key training sectors.

3. Set Up Automatic LMS Report Deliveries

You don’t need to check your reports daily by logging into the LMS. Instead, set up automatic LMS report deliveries so that they’re sent straight to your inbox. You can even customise the frequency to ensure that you always stay up to date with training performance.

How Can I Use Big Data in eLearning?

The best resource at your disposal is your LMS. The performance of your online learners during an eLearning course and their feedback afterwards will tell you a lot about its effectiveness. Assessment results provide data that establishes how well your online learners are able to use what they have learned. You can also gather Big Data from your social media platforms and course website. You’re able to track traffic, conversions, and mentions, all of which tell you which eLearning courses are most successful.

Other relevant organisation systems, such as support and CRM, can help you focus your training needs through learning analytics. This way, you can use Big Data to improve your eLearning course. You can sort, filter, and cross-reference Big Data to provide certain patterns that you can use to determine the usefulness of online training activities, as well as the overall success of your eLearning course. How you use Big Data is key to transforming your eLearning environment. Here are 3 tips to help you make the most of Big Data and achieve your training objectives:

1. Updating Your Online Training Content

Use Big Data to analyse the popularity of certain eLearning courses over others. What makes one eLearning course more popular? Is it driven by business need? If so, you may wish to create related online training modules to help reinforce the learning. You can look to other systems to see other business issues that may require training to improve performance. For example, your support systems may indicate that more support tickets are related to a specific application. Therefore, your online training content should better train users on that app to improve productivity.

2. Individualising Online Training Content

By looking across the different learning elements within your eLearning courses, you can review the learning tools that are most successful. For example, you may find a correlation between the number of eLearning courses containing online simulations and those with higher assessment results. You should, therefore, focus on simulations as key learning tool within your online training content. You can even look into the data of individual online learners, or groups of online learners, and analyse their particular needs and strengths. Relevant eLearning courses can then focus on individual learning preferences when developing online training content in the future.

3. Providing Management Information

Reporting to leadership about the success of eLearning projects, systems, and training is at the heart of every L&D strategy. Focus your learning analytics on collecting data to support defined KPIs so you can easily report to managers upon request. You can even assign managers/supervisors with data analysis tasks to streamline the process.

Once you have identified how you will use Big Data in eLearning, set up your tools effectively. You want to be able to efficiently collect and report on your required metrics at any time. If you’re finding it difficult to collect a piece of information, dedicate resources to the effort. Your investment in Big Data and ongoing learning analytics will pay dividends. You will improve the quality of the online training content and your eLearning course design by using information specific to your organisation. You can also demonstrate to leadership how online training is making a real difference to your workforce. The future of eLearning is to be found in Big Data: tailoring online training courses to the individual needs of your online learners.

Big Data gives you the power to perfect your eLearning course design and improve your eLearning ROI. However, to put your big data to work for you, your organisation needs to make sure they have a reporting strategy in place. To see how Kallidus helps organisations such as HMRC, Morrisons and the NHS with their reporting - Download Kallidus' eBook on Reporting Strategy 

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