7 Tips to Effectively Manage and Process Big Data in Elearning

Table of Contents

    For every elearning business to be successful, you need to consider several factors that facilitate growth. Coming up with a solid strategy that processes big data is one of them. 

    As research shows, almost 60 percent of businesses are using analytics at some capacity, and it’s helping them make better decisions, improve business-customer relations, and enable some key strategic initiatives.

    Learning how to work with data effectively has a major impact on your business performance since the information you get bridges the gap between what you know you can do with it and what you are yet to find – the immense potential behind it.

    Data analysis, data visualization, and user feedback are all great resources to get your hands on, but how can you use them to your benefit?

    If you are an elearning professional who wants to learn how to manage stats and analytics better and put them to good use, you will find the following tips helpful.

    Tip 1: Set your priorities

    Part of making sense of data and processing it is the ability to prioritize the information you get. Creating a priority list should help you assess whether which piece of information is relevant to the short- and long-term goals you are trying to achieve. 

    The key criteria here is to assess how your users (or learners) are using the LMS (Learning Management System), or how they are interacting inside an online course.

    If you can identify a problem that is preventing them from getting the most out of the learning experience you intended to create, then it is important to tackle that one first since it seems to be the most crucial at the moment.

    For example, assuming that your learners struggle to make a meaning out of your course content, you should start by making the text or the language easier to understand.

    Or, if you are getting low engagement, perhaps you need to customize your elearning design, use interactive content, more videos, or offer additional elearning resources like PDFs or ebooks.

    Tip 2: Align the data with your goals

    Every piece of data is a valuable piece of information that can improve many aspects of your business and drive growth. But unless you can recognize what needs change or improvement, you won’t be able to utilize the data fully.

    For example, if your goal is to introduce a new training program for your employees and you want to come up with a way to monitor attendance. You have to analyze the data that is related to it e.g. user time and online hours, user interactions, or how many times they logged on your LMS. 

    If you haven’t yet decided on your goals, you can begin asking the following questions:

    • How quickly are learners progressing?
    • Which courses learners love/dislike the most?
    • Which courses spark the most social interactions?
    • Which course requires improvement?
    • Is there any gap that needs filling?
    • Are the learning activities well balanced?
    • Is the learner’s study time matching your expectations?

    Such questions can help you identify blind spots you may ignore and encourage you to focus on one problem area at a time.

    For example, they can help you decide what courses to revamp, upsell, retire, or promote.

    Tip 3: Look for data in the right places

    Data resources can be found anywhere, but you need to know where to look for them. 

    In the elearning industry, you can find and mine useful data through your LMS’s analytics, CRM software, marketing software, social media insights, surveys, focus groups, or website stats using Google Analytics. 

    Such information can give you an accurate representation of how your online courses or your website are performing for example, or how they are being received and treated by the users.

    google analytics
    A view inside Google Analytics

    The key here is to combine the data you find with multiple sources to help you truly understand the performance of your course and the behavior of your learners. An excellent way to go about it is focusing on quantity first, gathering any useful data resource you find and then narrowing down your options to get the results you need. 

    You can achieve this using a business intelligence tool, but will talk more about this later. 

    Tip 4: Identify important trends and patterns

    Each data analysis session will bring different results but there are also elements that remain the same every time. These constant factors are the elearning trends and patterns that you have to pay more attention to, since they can show you what’s most relevant and engaging for your audience, and what can be improved.

    For example, if only a small percentage of learners make it to the course completion or passing the course assessment, this shows that you need to find what’s stalling your learner’s progress and change your instruction strategy. 

    Perhaps it’s difficult for learners to follow the course instructions, or answer the exam questions effectively, and end up struggling to learn the key concepts. 

    If this is the case throughout all of your modules or courses, then you need to come up with a plan of action and change that to help your learners develop the skills they need in the long run.

    A view inside LearnWorlds’ student reporting

    If you are using a course platform you would be able to identify such gaps, tackle them down and grow your elearning business. Most platforms come with reporting features, but you need to check beforehand if the analytics it is giving you are resourceful and can be put into good use. 

    A chart like the one above will give you the power of elearning data at your fingertips. From here, you gain access to data that can help you assess how your course and students are performing (time spent, certificates, and scores) and review important learning KPIs.

    You get to set your own KPIs – key performance indicators, and may be something along these lines:

    • Number of signups per cours. Associated goal: ‘Getting 200 students signing up for the Data Science course’
    • Course completion rate. Associated goal: ‘Having at least 70% of learners passing their exams’ 
    • Score rate in the first semester – to make sure the students will stick with your program. Associated goal: ‘Helping learners ace their practice tests in semester 1’ 
    • Year over year students growth. Associated goal: ‘Doubling the number of students by year 2’ 
    • Students involvement rate per course. Associated goal: ‘Increasing learner’s involvement in lessons by 25%’

    The targets you set for your business reveal the most important KPIs here which is the revenue you expect to get per learner, average class and daily attendance, learner retention, and operating inside your profit margin. 

    Tip 5: Keep your data safe

    To ensure maximum efficiency, you need to protect the data you collect at all costs. Even if you don’t need every piece of information or doesn’t directly relate to a goal at hand, keep the data safe for future use.

    An excellent way to protect your data is by introducing online security measures and authentication protection protocols. You can use encryption for specific sources or other security measures to ensure that the data you collect is only accessible by people from your team or organization. 

    Image Source: Comparitech

    It’s important to keep your learners’ information and online course analytics safe at all times, but also to know who has access to it and how they are using it.

    General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR, has a lot to do with keeping your data safe as well. If your business doesn’t comply with GDPR, there is a huge risk of data becoming available to unauthorised individuals and this may raise multiple privacy breaches or hurt your business: penalties, bad reputation and word of mouth. 

    With GDPR in place, you get to protect the rights of your learners in regards to their data, ensure that data privacy laws are consistently enforced, and that you keep up with and follow the legislation across the EU.

    Tip 6: Use a good analytics tool

    Having an analytics tool that can get you the information you need is paramount, especially when you’re in the realm of elearning practices and LMS development services. The best tool to use in elearning practices is a learning management system – LMS. An LMS can give you valuable insights into your learners’ progress, their interactions, habits, and behavior. 

    If you are using or considering using an LMS, ensure to check out its reporting capabilities first and decide whether they can respond to your business needs. Ideally, the more detailed a reporting system is the better data quality you can get from an LMS.

    Not all LMSs offer reporting or data analysis features. However, you can use third-party apps or other software like Google Analytics or a business intelligence platform like ClicData that offers a simple solution to manage and analyze your data.

    clicdata dashboard
    Screenshot showing ClicData’s dashboards

    With ClicData, you can connect to Google Analytics, survey, or your application database, centralize the data into a single place and automate your KPI dashboards as you see fit. You can build derived metrics combining data from multiple sources to get more insights into your users’ behavior and make informed decisions. 

    Tip 7: Hire a professional

    A big data consultant can help you improve your data analysis strategy at large. If you don’t have the time or resources to carry out data analysis sessions often, hiring a professional can help you cover a lot of ground, identify gaps or untapped opportunities, and dig deeper into those data analytics that can improve your performance. 

    Look for any freelancer big data expert on Fiverr, who will offer their services per project and see how you can support this financially.  

    How Are You Planning to Use Your Data?

    As big data is becoming bigger, learning how to use it effectively is the way forward. 

    “Nobody can afford to ignore what learners do in their online academy. But once you analyze your data, you have what you need to make intelligent decisions on how to grow your business.” – George Palegeorgiou (PhD, Chief Product Officer LearnWorlds).

    Whether you are harnessing its power to identify new business opportunities, make better decisions, increase profitability, or simply keep your customers happy, it is an important skill to possess. 

    If your current strategy is failing to produce the desired results, then now it’s the right time to rethink this through and come up with a better plan that works for your business!

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    About the author

    Kyriaki is a Content Creator for LearnWorlds, writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.