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The importance of LMS analytics

6 min reading time

There are a number of advantages to consider when implementing an LMS and adopting an e-learning strategy. Some of the most commonly considered are; flexibility, facilitation of remote working or multitenancy etc. However, one of the most important yet lesser-known benefits of using an LMS is analytics. 

Businesses and organisations rely on analytics every day to make informed decisions in various areas of their business, this should be the same for their learning and development strategy. Using LMS analytics provides a business with valuable data which results in better decision making. Learning and development managers can use analytics to uncover new insights into how their users are engaging with content as well as how to leverage their learning programmes to drive improved decision making, higher performance metrics, and greater impact on the business. 

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Using analytics to help individuals 

Traditional teaching and training methods typically rely on either test results or one-on-one feedback conversations to get an idea of how their student/trainee is finding the course they’re currently taking. However, with LMS analytics, detailed insight into how your learner is doing is readily available at your fingertips. This removes the need to fundamentally rely on course exams or a one-on-one session between trainer and student meaning you can get instant and long-term updates on their progress without using traditional and arguably more invasive methods. 

A sophisticated LMS will usually have a report builder that sources data from various features of your LMS to provide insight into your learner’s activity. Totara Learn has built-in course reports which help trainers proactively track learner activity and progress. With this, you can gain insight into information such as which courses a learner has not completed. Ask yourself why and use the data to build a ‘story’ and spot patterns. Perhaps the courses they’re not completing all cover the same topic, or they all feature long form content which can be harder to take in depending on one’s learning style. 

Use this information to nurture and guide them towards a learning path that better suits them. You can track whether a learner is spending a long time on one course in particular, try reaching out to them and see if they need help understanding the content in order to move them forward. Similarly, you can use the data to see if they’re unsuccessful in completing course assessments and if so, get in touch to see if they need help on the answers they got wrong. 

With analytics, you can provide a more personalised learning experience and tailor the course to meet their needs and preferences. Examine which type of content they are responding well to and if possible, enrol them in courses that rely on said content such as videos. If they need help with a particular course, then perhaps suggest additional courses they could enrol in to enrich their learning programme and propel them forward.


Monitoring sign-in rates

If you’re concerned that your learners are not dedicating enough hours or spreading their training out across a reasonable timeframe, then you can use the data to get an idea of their usage pattern. Information on how often they’re logging in, what time they’re logging in and how long they’re spending on each course can all be found using your LMS's analytical features. This can also be useful in understanding whether you have enough content to keep users engaging with the platform frequently enough, which is beneficial in ensuring a good ROI. 

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Using analytics to gain insight into groups/departments 

It’s natural that you may want to create clusters of learners based on their age/year group if you’re in the education sector, a department within a business or their skill levels. This can be a really helpful way to monitor training as a whole and see which groups are doing better than others.  

Use the data to uncover which areas they are struggling in or thriving, understand why this might be and examine what can be done to bring everyone up to the same level. For example, some groups may have more engaging content such as fun quizzes or webinars. See if you can adjust this content to mirror the group with better engagement. On the flip side, if everyone has the same type of content delivery on their courses yet the response is not equal across all groups, perhaps there is a general learning style that individuals working in the same department prefer. Some may be more visual learners whilst some may prefer numerical facts in a basic delivery. This is the kind of valuable insight using analytics can provide and once again facilitates a more tailored learning experience.


Using social tools 

A good LMS has social features such as chat forums or facilitates integrations with Microsoft Teams which allows for interaction between learners via the LMS. As users are communicating via the platform you can use data on these social tools to gain insight into common discussion points. It may be that a large number of learners are all wanting to talk about one course in particular, perhaps because they all enjoyed it, or they found it hard. Use this information to adapt your courses accordingly either by changing the course content to help those struggling or match up other courses with the ones that have been praised. 


Course evaluation 

Analytics don’t just help you gain insight into the learner’s experience, it’s also useful to use the data to evaluate how your courses are doing. There are several entry points for accessing this data which can then be used to amend/update any courses that may have been flagged. 

If a learner is struggling to complete a course (perhaps they are failing to pass the final exam) then this would indicate as an individual that they don’t understand the content. However, if you notice a group of learners all struggling with the same course then it’s more likely that the course content needs to be re-evaluated as it may be the information is not clear enough for users to get a good understanding. 

Although many of your available courses may be mandatory and assigned based on criteria such as job roles, you may decide to have optional courses available too. Analytics allow you to monitor self-enrolment which is a great way to understand the type of content or format that users are happy to add to their learning programme.  

When looking at the big picture, take into account all available information such as the type of courses that aren’t seeing a lot of engagement and use this to inform your long-term learning and development plan. Use the data to outline the ideal course length, format, and content and adapt accordingly. Having the ability to do this means your learners are getting the most out of the training programme you have provided them and in turn you get the best out of your learners. 


Audit trails 

Virtually every business is obligated that employees comply with several regulations. In many cases, the sheer number of rules and regulations can be daunting, and the cost of compliance tracking and reporting can be high due to its often-manual processes. In addition, the cost of non-compliance can be astronomical. Therefore, a compliance audit is undeniably crucial. This is where the reporting on your LMS can be particularly useful, making it easy by allowing organisations to automate the process of compliance training and reporting. 


Search analytics 

Relying on course enrolment may not be enough when you’re trying to figure out the type of content that your users are wanting or looking for. With the use of a search function within your LMS, you can gather data on what people are searching for. This can open doors to a wealth of information which can be used to analyse the content you have and the content you need. Take a look at the keywords that are frequently popping up.

If certain topics or phrases are being searched for a lot, then this could indicate that your learners feel they can’t easily find information on said topic. It could also mean there isn’t any information on an area that they feel is integral to their training. 

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Using assessments to monitor engagement and understanding   

The best way to understand whether your learners are successfully engaging with their training is to include assessment tools throughout the programme. Doing this naturally helps you gain insight into whether they are retaining the information being taught to them but there are a few more key takeaways here too.  

Using LMS analytics you can take count of how many skipped or failed tests there were. If it’s a high number of tests per individual, then this is a clear indication that they are finding the programme difficult and they need additional help. On the other hand, if there is a high number of individuals failing the same tests then you may need to re-think the content that delivers the learner to the tests.  

Analyse which types of assessment are resulting in better engagement, for example, how does a formal test compare to a game-style quiz? When you’re using an LMS, there’s a huge number of ways you can test your learners to see what stage their development is at so it’s worth experimenting.

Additionally, there are other ways you can encourage learners to complete courses and tests, try adding gamification rewards such as badges. Once you’ve implemented these, come back and review whether the data is showing an increase in engagement as a result.


Benefits of LMS Reporting 

The main takeaway when considering the importance of LMS analytics is appreciating the ability it gives you to build a detailed picture of how your learning programme is working. Arming yourself with a constant inbound stream of feedback, points of weakness and strengths allows you to adapt as and when needed in order to improve the impact your programme will have both for your learners and for your business/organisation. Ensuring you have access to these vital analytics features relies on using the right LMS.

If your current LMS doesn’t allow for this kind of in-depth data analysis then take inventory of what features you require in order to make this possible and if needed, find an LMS which supports all or most of them.  


How Hubken can help  

As a Totara Platinum Alliance Partner and Moodle expert, we design and deliver high quality e-learning solutions for leading UK businesses and organisations, building lasting relationships so that they can realise the full potential of their learning and development projects.

If you’re looking to include an LMS in your learning and development strategy or would like to switch to one that can facilitate analytics, then get in touch with us today to find out how we can make that happen. 


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