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Why and how to evaluate e-learning course effectiveness

3 min reading time

With any business strategy, evaluating its effectiveness and being proactive about implementing changes is a surefire way to achieve success. And it’s no different when it comes to your L&D strategy. There are a number of areas that will need to be assessed in order to determine the overall success of your L&D strategy, but in this blog we’ll be focusing on why and how to evaluate e-learning courses. Let’s get started.

Not quite ready to evaluate your courses? First, follow our top tips on how to build the most effective online learning and development courses.


Why should you evaluate the effectiveness of your e-learning courses?

Whether your courses have been created in-house or by a third-party content creator, developing e-learning courses requires a great deal of time and resources. To ensure that you’re getting the best ROI from your courses, you need to measure their impact and effectiveness.

Using this information, you can adapt courses to ensure that they have been optimised, while also shaping the future development of new courses to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes again.

Some of the common issues found during the evaluation process are:

  • Lack of variation – if a course is made up of one content type (i.e. all text-based lessons) it’s highly likely to produce poor engagement rates
  • Lack of interactivity
  • A poor UX
  • Lack of accessibility

If your learners aren’t getting what they need from a course, then the good news is that with the right e-learning platform you can easily amend your course to ensure it produces the results you’re striving for. It may be as simple as addressing a missing topic area by adding a new lesson or turning a lesson into a video to boost retention rates. The important thing is to evaluate your courses consistently and make changes as soon as possible.

Why and how to evaluate e-learning course effectiveness top tips


How to evaluate e-learning courses: Follow these top tips


Keep your objectives in mind

Before you start the evaluation process, you need to make sure you’ve identified the learning objectives and desired outcomes of the course in question. Ideally, this should have been outlined in the development stage. If so, you can refer back to this.

An example of a learning objective would be for employees completing a compliance course to achieve 100% pass marks on the end-of-course assessment.

Whatever the objective may be, it will help shape the evaluation process going forward.

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Decide how to measure the effectiveness of the course

Keeping your objectives in mind, you need to outline the measurement tools and metrics that you will use to assess the effectiveness of the course. These may be course completion rates. or the average time spent on the course.

Referring to our example of the compliance course objective, the best way to measure its effectiveness would be to look at the assessment scores of people who have already completed the course.

Why and how to evaluate e-learning course effectiveness with reports


Gathering data

The next stage is all about gathering evidence and data. Depending on what you decided in the previous step, the way to carry this out will vary. The most reliable and straightforward way of collating data would be to use your learning management system’s (LMS’s) automated reporting tools.

Once again referring to the compliance example, you can use your LMS’s reporting tools to extract an automated report that collates the assessment results of each learner. With the right LMS, such as our Totara Learn platform, you can create automated reports that gather data on a number of areas such as course completion rates and time spent on a course.

Another effective way to gather data is to speak directly with your learners. You can use polls and surveys in your e-learning platform to gather feedback from learners about their experiences. Ask them questions such as; was the course engaging? Was it clear and easy to understand? Do they feel they have successfully retained the information acquired during the course? Using this information, you can begin the next step – analysis.

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Analyse your findings

Once you’ve gathered your evidence, you can begin to analyse your findings. How do the results of your evaluation stand up against your learning objectives?

For example, if the compliance course assessment results indicate that learners are only achieving an average pass mark of 60%, the objective is not being met. To find out why, you can look at employee feedback to support the analysis and make any relevant changes.

Try to find trends in your data to help you identify any strengths and weaknesses, applying any strengths to future courses and taking action to address the weaknesses.


Re-launch updated courses

Once you’ve made any relevant changes, it’s time to ‘re-launch’ your courses. Although it’s tempting, it’s crucial that you don’t just launch the courses and hope for the best. It’s essential that you repeat the evaluation process, creating a continuous cycle of improvement as a result. Be sure to take note of any changes that have made a difference to learning outcomes and apply them across other courses within your L&D strategy.

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So now you know how to evaluate e-learning course effectiveness, perhaps you’re in need of a platform that can help you boost the ROI of your L&D strategy. Looking for easy-to-use course-building tools, comprehensive reporting tools and a unique enhanced UX? We’ve got you covered. Get in touch today to find out more.

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