Social learning analytics offer insight into how online learners connect and form community in co-creating knowledge. Visualizing engagement data in a course can help make sense of a complex social learning context; but how can we visualize the impact of student contributions? We 3D print it.
This post was first published on eLearning Industry.
Why You Should Use Learning Analytics To Improve Content Authoring
As technology progresses, today’s learners expect more than ‘click next’ e-learning. With more options than ever before available to instructional designers and authoring tools boasting increasingly advanced capabilities, we are able to create our most sophisticated, effective e-learning content yet. With a growing appetite for personalized e-learning, how can we ensure that our content authoring enables us to give our learners what they want?
Choosing the right tool for content authoring
There are many tools available on the market claiming to offer access to learning analytics. However, in reality, much of this will only be outdated, surface-level SCORM data. While it can be useful to know how long it took someone to complete a course or who has not yet taken a module, there is much more we can do with this data. The newest e-learning content authoring tools come with advanced analytics functionality to allow us to understand trends in our data quickly and easily. This is the first step towards creating personalized learning. The more we know about our learners, the more tailored our learning experiences will be.
Learning analytics are often overlooked, but are an invaluable way to help us make the most of our content authoring. Using data about our own learners gives us the opportunity to create learning which hones in on the specific requirements of our audience. For example, many tools now enable us to identify trends such as how many people in a certain country have completed our courses, what device types they are using (desktop, tablet or smartphone) or which specific questions people are struggling with. This helps inform our future projects for learning that better suits our target groups, with a view to achieving better results.
Learning record stores
Until now, many of our personalized learning efforts have come from role filters and diagnostics, to assess an anonymous learner’s understanding of content upon accessing a module, or allowing them to select relevant content based on their role. But now, learning record stores (LRSs) and modern tracking standards such as xAPI allow us to keep up-to-date, individual records of our learners’ progress and learning history. This means that we can be much more intelligent in the way we distribute content to our learners. In the future, learners may even be able to take their learner profiles with them throughout their careers. If our content authoring tool software can show us what content someone has already accessed, and how they performed in their assessments, we can build the precise content they will need in the future.
Content authoring for personalized learning
In-house content authoring gives organizations the ultimate flexibility over the learning they create. But this can be enhanced even further with the use of learning analytics, to help learning designers make informed choices about the type of content they include. Perhaps your analytics show that the majority of learners in your New York office are struggling on a certain question about your health and safety policy. You can then investigate to find out why. Are the managers in that office telling them something different? Has nobody had a chance to take the preceding module? E-learning designers can take this information to build content which targets specific needs far more efficiently than ever before. Opting for software with inbuilt analytics functionality enables you to keep a close eye on the learning trends within your organization.
What if I’m buying my content?
Just because you are buying and not building your content, this does not necessarily mean you won’t have access to any learning analytics data. It can be useful for you to have an overview of your learners’ performance even if the content will not be created in-house. If you identify particular issues with certain groups of learners, you can conduct a more thorough investigation into why this might be the case, giving you a better insight into your own organization. Ensure you speak with your content provider to make sure they are working with content authoring software that collects meaningful data. Some tools allow multiple users to access this data, so see if you can have your own account set up with all the data you need. A customizable dashboard of the most important analytics and trends is a quick, easy way to get an overview of data, even if you don’t need the granular level of detail collected by the learning design team.
What does the future hold for personalized learning?
With tracking and analytics technology improving all the time, it is very feasible to see a time where learning designers can create a variety of content based on trends detected in an organization’s learning records. This may be a case of producing different question types, including more explanation or more interactive elements depending on the way learners have performed with previous content. This will help designers build better content, and allow students to learn more, based on their individual needs. The new wave of content authoring tools, with their learning analytics features, are bringing us closer to this smarter content authoring than ever before, and we are looking forward to seeing how closely personalized the learning of the future will be.
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This post was first published on eLearning Industry.
Tracking Techniques in eLearning
While focusing on content curation, multimedia integration, and course layout are all-important, one of the key aspects of an eLearning course's development is tracking learners' activity. By collecting and analyzing data, eLearning professionals are able to identify trends and ensure that their audience is getting the most out of the eLearning experience. Here are the 5 most effective tracking techniques in eLearning that you can use to track your learners' activity.
- Integrated LMS
Virtually all LMS platforms give you the ability to track learners’ activity, to varying degrees. For instance, an LMS might automatically send you reports on a daily basis concerning completion times and other important data, while other LMSs may have more limited tracking capabilities. Many LMSs even give you the opportunity to export reports using different formats, such as PDF or CSV, and apply various filters to view specific data fields quickly and conveniently. There are a variety of LMS platforms available, ranging from installed LMS solutions to those that are cloud-based. If you are looking for advanced tracking options and the ability to customize your reporting fields, then an integrated LMS is probably your best choice. In many cases, LMS platforms adhere to a particular standard, such as SCORM and Experience API, which allows for easy data transfer, especially concerning learner activity reports. This information typically includes learners' progress, such as what percentage of the eLearning course they've completed, how many times they have clicked onto a specific page within the eLearning course (which can give you an indication of whether the content is being easily absorbed), and if the learners have passed the module. In regards to eLearning course completion, the LMS will generally base this upon one of two factors: assessments and content completion. For assessments, learners must receive a minimum score on a quiz or exam at the end of the eLearning course or module in order to receive a certificate or access the completion screen. If you are tracking by eLearning course completion, the learner must view all of the pages of the eLearning course and complete the necessary tasks in order to receive a certificate, but does not necessarily have to pass an exam or test at the end. The system does, however, require them to visit every page in order to trigger the eLearning course completion screen.
This is one of the most basic tracking techniques in eLearning, and it will usually only provide you with a minimal amount of data. You can integrate this tracking technique into your eLearning course by issuing a certificate of completion to your learners once they have successfully finished the last module. They can then give/send this certificate to a moderator or facilitator, who can keep track of how many learners have completed the eLearning course and what score they received. You can also ask that learners sign in when they begin each eLearning module and then sign out at the end, so that you are able to monitor the attendance and how long it took them to complete each module. This tracking method typically requires a great deal of time, given that all the gathered hard copy data has to be input into the computer manually. However, it can be more budget-friendly, as you won't have to worry about installing software.
This tracking technique involves monitoring the pages in your eLearning course that have been clicked on by your learners. You can then get reports by using a web analytics tool, which will give you the opportunity to gain insight into how many page clicks a particular module received, peak visiting times, and how long each learner stayed on a specific page. Keep in mind that this tracking technique only deals with page views. As such, if you have an eLearning course that is one large Flash file or a video presentation, this technique will not be able to tell you if a learner has completed the eLearning course or how long it took him/her to complete it.
There are two types of tracking techniques that you may want to consider. The one is database and the other is clickstream. Both of them can serve as standalone tracking options, or to be added to your existing LMS-based tracking technique in order to offer you more specific data. The database solution requires learners to input their basic information, such as their name, when beginning the eLearning course. A web page will then collect this information and record it, so that you can create a report that details the eLearning course completion data and learner's activity. The clickstream tracking technique involves web analytics tools that have been modified using a particular code in order to produce a web log that details more in depth information about the learner. Also, when learners complete the eLearning course, the tracking system will note that they have visited the final page of the module, giving you the ability to keep a close eye on completion statistics.
- Web Server
Through this tracking technique, eLearning professionals are able to monitor how many times learners have visited the eLearning course, which pages they accessed, and how much time they spent in the eLearning course. You can also get an in depth look at peak viewing times, which can be helpful if you plan on scheduling synchronous learning activities, such as online training events, in the near future.
By using these effective tracking techniques in eLearning, you can track your eLearning course visits, and your learners’ overall behavior. This offers you the opportunity to customize the eLearning experience for your target audience and ensure that compliance standards are met, as well as boosting the ROI for your eLearning course.
This post was first published on eLearning Industry.