Dramatic Use of Educational Data Mining in Corporate eLearning

Data in Day-to-Day Life

Every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created and stored in databases. Most of the decision-making daily is a result of the statistical analysis. Facebook knows to suggest new friends, Netflix knows the television shows you would like, and you look up Trip Advisor to check the highest rated restaurant, betting on the statistical data that you will have a good stay.

GoodReads is another popular book recommendation engine. Its algorithm leverages the search of over 20 million different data points, considering the preferences of nearly 6 million users, as well as the rating system which is the key component of the site.

Another striking online service that makes use of data and databases is Pandora Radio. This service provides various song recommendation based on users’ music preferences.

IBM Watson, a pioneer in the field of Cognitive Medical Analysis, uses diversified medical information across the hospital branches, to help doctors save time during diagnosis.

But how is this data visualized and analyzed to provide accurate statistical information to users?

This data-informed approach is emerging from a new generation of Data Mining. Data Mining is the process of analyzing hidden patterns of data, segregating and forming meaningful relationships between them.

But, can data mining and corporate eLearning shake hands?

Data Mining in corporate eLearning

All corporate learners deserve a great learning experience, one that affords every opportunity for them to grow. But every corporate learner follows a unique roadmap to build their careers. Every L&D department in the organization needs the right data in the right format and at the time. This data enables them to understand their learners and guide them aptly on their respective learning journeys.

All said and done, educational data is huge and cannot be analyzed using spreadsheets. They need an in-depth analysis of the hidden data in order to understand learners and their learning behavior. Now, enters EDM.

Before we understand what is EDM we need to know what learner data is.

What is Learner Data?

Data helps us make connections that uncover insights about a learners’ learning behaviors. These learning behaviors when analyzed forms a pattern which helps the L&D and Instructional Designers to understand the learners’ needs. The pattern that is collected and interpreted is called “learner data”.

The learner data usually includes academic and demographic information- as well as information from assessments, online surveys and polls, leaderboards, L&D observations, and learner’s Digital Body Language.

With this in mind, let’s understand what is EDM and its uses in corporate eLearning?

Educational Data Mining

eLearning is a blessing to the data miners. eLearning has large amounts of learner data which are endlessly generated and ubiquitously available. Learner data is an exponentially growing nightmare, in which unstructured information chokes the L&D department without providing any articulate knowledge. EDM was born to tackle problems like these.

EDM is emerging as a research area with a suite of computational, psychological and research approaches for understanding how learners learn.

This now leaves us with a question how can EDM have an impact in corporate eLearning?

Three Dramatic Uses of EDM in Corporate eLearning

EDM aims at using algorithms to leverage better learning results in order to enhance learners’ decision making. Let’s see how EDM can be used in corporate eLearning.

1. Discovery of Learning Behaviors with Data Models

EDM is a unique technique that involves forming a validated model for leaner behaviors. The models are formed by the learners’ digital footprints. When these footprints are analyzed on a regular basis it forms a pattern. This pattern is called the map. L&D professionals can analyze this map to form questions about learner’s learning behavior. This technique is called Map Probing.

Using this technique, L&D professionals can build models to answer questions such as:

  • What sequence of the topic is most effective for the learners?
  • What learner actions are more associated with learning?
  • What learner actions indicate satisfaction, engagement, learning progress, etc.?
  • What features of an LMS will lead to better learning?
  • What will predict learners’ success?

2. Usage of Learning Analytics and Visual Data Analytics

EDM helps to determine the hidden learner data in the learning environment. The learner data is collected and reported by using learning analytics. The collected learner data will be in the form of tables and relationships, devoid of learner’s ability to understand it. Hence, they should be visualized in the form of graphics to tap the ability of learners to understand their progress. Thus, visual data analytics is used.

Learning and Visual data analytics apply EDM models to answer questions such as:

  • When are the learners ready to move on to the next topic?
  • When are the learners falling behind in a course?
  • When is a learner at risk for not completing a course?
  • What grade is a learner likely to get without intervention?
  • What is the best next course to be suggested to the learner?
  • Should a learner be offered additional help?

3. Instructional Principle Analysis

EDM helps to address certain questions related to instructional design principles and strategy in order to make learning environments more learner-centric. Questions such as:

  • Which instructional design practice is effective at promoting learning (e.g., microlearning vs. game-based learning)?
  • Which curriculum to follow?
  • Does the newly added curriculum work better when compared to the previous one?

EDM helps in studying the effectiveness of different learning system components and instructional practices that can contribute to the design of better learning systems. Thus, EDM will have strong implications on eLearning.


To cut long story short, clearly, there is a place for EDM in eLearning. As training and content move online, EDM will enable eLearning to be always assessed at all levels. L&D professionals will benefit from understanding the possibilities of the development of EDM. EDM will continue to grow in the coming years.

Suggested Reading:

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[Free Webinar!] More Courses, Less Cost: How to Provide More Content on a Limited Budget

New year, new training budget!  And a new class to help you figure out what to do with it.    Managing a budget has always been weirdly enjoyable for me – sort of like playing a jigsaw puzzle with money.  You add and subtract until you have the right number of resources to accomplish each goal, and where you don’t have cash flow, you hold things together with duct tape and creativity.

Join us on Wednesday, February 13 at 9AM Pacific.  Register with Training Magazine Network for free. The description is below. See you soon!

More Courses, Less Cost: How to Provide More Content on a Limited Budget

How is your 2019 training budget treating you?  It’s early in the year, and many L&D managers and directors are figuring out how to best apply their budget to their annual goals.  Many of us have limited funds, so we start asking ourselves questions like the following:

  1. Should I develop this course or learning program in house, or purchase existing content from a vendor?
  2. What kinds of content are out there, and how do I select content that will best serve my learners?
  3. How can I use course content catalogs to augment our existing curriculum?
  4. How do I develop more custom content without investing more of my budget?
  5. Can I save money by presenting some instructor-led classes in a virtual format?

In this session, Katrina Marie Baker, Senior Learning Evangelist of Adobe, will facilitate a discussion of these questions.  You will have an opportunity to share your ideas and hear what fellow attendees are doing with their training programs.  Katrina will also share real-life examples and practical tips for prioritizing, planning, and budgeting against your organization’s L&D priorities.

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My Journy so far, with Captivate…

I started using Captivate 5.5. in 2014. Captivate Ver 5.5 itself had great features. The best part is, Adobe does not stop after launching a new version with an added feature but continue to bring whole new version every year with lots of new useful features. Presently using 2017, and will soon be using CP 2019.

I also appreciate their back-office team. Once we are recognized as certified, they do have our value. Whenever I have posted any query(regarding matters of Certification, its validity, and its incentives etc. … ) through email, they have always solved the query.

Also community effort to bring all captivate professionals under one roof (https://elearning.adobe.com) is really appreciable. I get a quick response to my query. At the same time, I do get appreciation from others whenever I have posted good work. This makes us proud.

Thank you Adobe.

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How can we use an SRT file to import closed captions?

The ability to use srt files for closed captions would save so much time.  Does the 2019 version have this ability?

Also, is there a program like Grammarly that could be used to quickly edit closed captions so that capitalizations and grammar are correct.

I am stuck in my production as CC is needed for optimal compliance.



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How Emotion Can Improve eLearning for Your Learners

Emotions Matter

  • First off I would like to point out that I did not write this article, but I came across it and thought that  it would be very useful to our community

Whether it’s a popular movie, TV show, or YouTube video, they’re all about connecting with our emotions. Some aim to make you cry, others to make you laugh. Either way, it’s this emotion that forms the connection with the media we embrace the most. In fact, that’s the single common ingredient of viral videos.

So why don’t we use any of these same tactics in our eLearning courses? Unfortunately, too many designers are content with the same tired approach. #boring

So let’s look at some various emotions, and how you could utilize them in your course to amp up the engagement level.


In most cases, fear is bad. But in certain cases, when learners get the anxious feeling that there is something to lose, it can enhance their motivation and help them to really focus.

Example: Suppose you’re creating an eLearning course that reviews HR policies, and the material is, shall we say…dry as a desert. Incorporating a tense moment, such as, “Hurry…you have two minutes to run around the office and find the violations before the inspector get’s here!” can make the material more stimulating. The fear of failure is typically missing in eLearning courses. But the nervous energy of finding the last violations as the timer counts down can be priceless for the trainee.


In most cases, you probably wouldn’t place sadness at the top of your list for inclusion in an eLearning course. However, this emotion can be a very powerful sentiment, especially in scenarios that require an emotional response to certain situations.

Example: Suppose you are building an eLearning course that focuses on customer service within the mortgage industry. Your trainees need to learn how to consistently interact with customers in a variety of trying situations. A common situation your employees could be faced with is a family who’s losing their home due to foreclosure. You obviously want these staff to respond with compassion (which is related to sadness). This could be trained by presenting unfortunate situations and demonstrating appropriate reactions. By connecting with emotional scenarios, it will help the appropriate call-handling tactics to resonate with learners.


Disgust probably seems like an odd choice to include in eLearning, but when you’re looking to curb negative behaviors, getting your learners to feel disgusted can certainly draw their attention.

Example: Suppose you’re creating a course for food service staff on sanitation. It’s important to show why this is so important to their everyday work, so evoking some disgust in this context can bring those germs to life. For instance, you could use visuals of various bacteria and mold resulting from neglect in the kitchen. A few nasty pictures, combined with some statistics, will go a long way toward driving home the message.


You may feel that most of us have enough disappointment in our lives, but connecting people with something they could (or already did) miss out on is powerful. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a huge motivator for many people.

Example: Suppose you’re creating a course for salespeople on writing a detailed and appropriate Statement of Work for each of their prospective sales. You could include the downside (lost profits for the company) that result if reps don’t document, and thus charge for, everything the client needs. But to really make the connection, you could also point out the lost sales commissions those reps should have gotten, had things been correctly documented. When your course points out how much thinner the reps’ wallets are than they should be, they’re sure to start paying attention.


SO many people complain about their job, or the company they work for. But people like to believe in things, support a cause, or feel pride. Why not find opportunities in your course to connect people with the good the company does, or the good they could do in their role?

Example: Look beyond profit margins and day-to-day responsibilities. Most companies do good for someone, whether that’s providing assistance to at-risk single mothers or creating software tools to help small businesses prosper. Look for success stories within your industry and let employees feel a part of it. We all grow more vested when we feel like we’re a part of something bigger.

Emotions and eLearning

Think about some of the strongest memories you have. They’re undoubtedly connected to some strong emotion. Some positive, and others negative. These are the connections we make as people and what causes such strong mental connections.

So, why not leverage this powerful tool in your eLearning courses? Not only will this help to solidify their connection to the material, but it’ll make a huge difference in learners recalling and adopting what you’re trying to teach them.

Link To Original Article:

ThinkingKap’s eLearn blog at https://www.thinkingkaplearning.com/how-emotion-can-improve-elearning-for-your-learners/

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Infographic on Creating High-Impact Blended Training Programs – 7 Amazing Examples

Businesses are looking to train a wider audience in a shorter time, and learners want the flexibility to learn in their own fashion. For these reasons, businesses now seek to shift from traditional ILT programs to blended training.

It can be a challenging task to transition your training program from ILT to blended training. 

The following is an infographic on the 7 examples of adopting a Blended Training approach.

Infographic on Creating High-Impact Blended Training Programs - 7 Amazing Examples



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5 Distinct Uses Of Self-Directed And Adaptive Learning In A Corporate Habitat

Have you picked a new skill in the last years? Or studied a programming language on your own? In this article, I talk about the self-directed learning and its similarities with adaptive learning.

How To Use Self-Directed And Adaptive Learning In A Corporate Habitat: 5 Ways To Consider

People are enthralled by stories of individuals who renounced traditional education yet still become champions in their field. Bill Gates, Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Wintour, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison; none of them have a college degree, but they have achieved a level of success only a few can match. How did they do this? What is their secret?

In my previous article on “6 Benefits You Should Know About Adaptive Learning in Corporate Training“, I spoke about the overview of adaptive learning and its benefits for corporate learners. But, in this article, I would like to sketch the similarities between self-directed learning and adaptive learning. Are these two similar? Before we dig deep, let’s first understand what self-directed learning is.

Self-Directed Learning

Nowadays, self-directed learning is more of an organizational necessity. This is because of the constant need for re-skilling due to increased technological advancement. New knowledge hoards so quickly, and industries change swiftly that traditional learning styles and paths cannot keep the gait. Unless you had a degree in clay jewelry fad of Ancient Egypt, chances are your degree is outmoded. Nonetheless, some newly detected Bedouins will capsize the terracotta archetype.

So, What Exactly Is Self-Directed Learning?

Malcolm Knowles, an educator and chief for adult learning, has described self-directed learning as a process:

“in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.”

So, how does this ring a bell with another learning strategy? Don’t you think it is analogous to adaptive learning? Well, I think there is a fine line between adaptive learning and self-directed learning. I feel, self-directed learning is all about the learning context created by learners whereas adaptive learning is about the learning context the computer algorithms create. But the major fleck between the two learning methodologies, is that, they engage learners in learning through a growth mindset.

Adaptive learning framework is built upon confidence-based assessments. Let’s take a look at it next.

Confidence-Based Assessments

Learning through growth mindset involves confidence. The algorithms are created to test the current understanding of the learners and also their confidence of the subject by additionally qualifying the questions with confident/not confident choices.

Here is a course that has the confidence-based assessment and the associated remediation that is provided immediately after an incorrect answer.

Let’s now have a look at the 5 distinct uses for corporate Learning and Development:

1. SMART Goal Setting

Adaptive and self-directed learning enable the employees to set Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-defined goals on their learning journey. These goals help employees to be constructive even in their off-productive hours. They give the ability to break down the learning material and give employees enough time to learn each chunk. Thus, it avoids ambiguous, amorphous, unrealistic, irrelevant, and delayed learning.

2. Flexible Learning Schedule

Most of the corporate training programs make use of limited resources and materials. This means, the training programs are sparse and scheduled in such a way that it disrupts the employees’ working schedule. Who wants to attend a training session in the middle of a major project-deadline?

Adaptive and self-directed learning legitimize employees with flexible learning schedules. Both the learning methodologies give the employees to choose their learning paths. They also provide them with digestible learning content which can be learned at their own pace. Thus, employees see training as an opportunity and not as a task to be completed.

3. Opportunity For Continuous Learning

Employees, nowadays, are expected to take charge of their own learning. This can be achieved through adaptive and self-directed learning. Both the methodologies provide the right learning processes and strategies to the employees to embark on their learning journey.

Adaptive and self-directed learning also support errors and mistakes. This, in turn, helps the employees gather the necessary evaluation, take time to reflect on them and track their progress effectively. This thereby encourages a growth mindset which in turn fuels continuous learning culture in the organization.

4. Create Your Own Motivation

A conventional method of training path gives employees a clear-cut motivation; to complete the training to be on the project. But in adaptive and self-directed learning, employees will create their own motivation as this encourages them to never stop learning.

Adaptive and self-directed learning uses the philosophy “the more I understand, the more I get excited about it”. Thereby, nourishing the internal motivation of employees.

5. Communicate Shared Organizational Objectives

Employers can support adaptive and self-directed learning by communicating the organizational needs and goals to the employees so that they can align their personal visions with these goals. The employee’s personal vision will act as an inception for them to lay out their work-related learning goals. By shackling employee’s learning goals with organizational vision, employees’ learning can be directed to business outcomes.


Self-directed and adaptive learning is a smart way for organizations to invest in enabling their workforce. They are one of the many strategies that are can be used the quench the contemporary learning needs of employees. They can foster a lifelong learning culture among the employees.

Suggested Reading

  1. Top 8 eLearning Trends For 2019

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Learning Thursday #3: Use Virtual Reality (VR) to Try on Makeup

Learning Thursday typically focuses on L&D articles and research. But this week, I’m featuring a fun virtual reality activity to ease us into the new year.  (If you need to satisfy your academic reading fix, the last Learning Thursday is here.)

Virtual reality (VR) has been a hot topic in many industries. As you may know, the makeup industry is beginning to use VR to sell products. Maybelline is a prime example. Check out their Virtual Try On tool, which shows you how different products will look on your face. The tool allows you to upload a photo of yourself, take a photo using your device camera, or try out looks on a model.

If you want to know what you’re getting into before you try the tool, here is what it did with a photo of me.

The first photo is me with minimal makeup:

And this is me after using Maybelline’s tool to apply eyeliner, eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick:

Not my usual style, but it’s pretty realistic!  A few questions for discussion…

  1. Do you think this tool would motivate you (or someone you know who wears makeup) to purchase more products?
  2. Is it less intimidating to try out looks like this, versus in a store?
  3. Is it less realistic to try out looks like this, versus in a store?

If virtual reality is interesting to you, check out Adobe Captivate 2019, which helps you build immersive VR learning experiences.

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What’s new and changed in the latest Community Portal update


This update addresses changes in the notification workflow. You will get an email notification for the following scenarios:

  • When your post is published. Users who follow you will also get an email notification.
  • When a new comment is approved. Users who’ve already commented on the post will also get an email notification.
  • When someone mentions you in a post or a comment.
  • When you re-edit a previously posted comment. Users who’ve commented on the post will also get an email notification.
  • When someone follows you.
  • When your level is upgraded or downgraded.

To activate the notification service, follow the steps below:

  1. On the top right-hand corner of the page, click User Profile.

2. Click Settings.

3. On the Mail Notifications page, enable or disable an appropriate notification workflow.


This update also enhances the search performance in the portal. We’ve integrated a few changes in the background to make the search experience as seamless as possible.

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