How engaged are your learners? Specifically how engaged are they with your learning management system (LMS)?
I was recently talking to someone and they mentioned that probably half their learners hadn’t ever logged on to the system. Half of the others had logged on but not completed their prescribed learning and only the final 25 per cent had logged on and finished their courses. They concluded that that represented a full engagement percentage of 25 per cent.
It has been some time since I found myself in a similar position. Then – some two decades ago – I was looking to find ways to ensure 100 percent engagement with a benchmark of every employee completing three hours of technology-based learning each year.
So here are my thoughts about analysing learning (LMS) engagement – another way of using LMS data differently.
So what might the levels of engagement be? How might we describe an individual learner based on their level of engagement?
I’ve settled on five types and thought about what questions we might ask to guide us to increasing their level of engagement.
Non-users are those people who’ve never logged on to the system. Hopefully this will be a low number. Your LMS data should reveal who they are. What patterns can you see in their demographics?
|Are they an audience that does have relevant learning in the system that they should be completing?||Why are they not logging in to complete them? Do they now know they need to complete them? Do they know they need to, but are other factors holding them back? Are they having significant problems logging in? If there isn’t any suitable content in the system, then what steps can you take to address this?|
|Are they a more senior audience?||It’s not uncommon for more senior employees to believe that the LMS is the place where more junior staff goes for their learning. What scope is there to offer suitable content for this group?|
|Are they individuals with less access to technology or an audience that is often on-the move?||What can you do to improve the system accessibility? Is now the time to explore your system’s mobile interface?|
|What is the nature of their role?||If they are customer-facing or in a call centre, are there more general challenges that hinder their ability to access learning. If they are office-based, are they so client-focussed that they struggle to learn at the desktop? Would mobile options offer these people more flexibility?|
Non-starters are those that have logged in at least once, but never used any of the content. If they’ve browsed but then launched anything, then we need to find out why?
|Are they an audience that does have relevant learning in the system that they should be completing?||Do they now know they need to complete them? Do they know they need to, but are other factors holding them back? If there isn’t any suitable content in the system, then what steps can you take to address this?|
|What is the nature of their role?||If they are customer-facing or in a call centre, are there more general challenges that hinder their ability to access learning. If they are office-based, are they so client-focussed that they struggle to learn at the desktop? Would mobile options offer these people more flexibility? Are they being put off by either the format of the training or its duration? Would shorter micro-learning resources offer more appeal?|
Non-completers are those who have logged in and started lots of content, but haven’t finished it. It should be said that in all likelihood you will have many people who will have both incomplete and completed courses in their records. Let’s call those partial-completers (see later). For now you are really interested in those who never or rarely finish anything; or possibly you will focus only on those courses that are mandatory. You might later combine the analysis for non-completers with that for completers to better understand the partial-completers, or to validate some of your conclusions from the other two groups.
I’ll state now that course completion is a concept that generates some interesting discussions. Does someone actually have to complete a course in the first place? What if someone finds what they want by just dipping in and out and has no need to then complete the remainder of the course?
|Is this content that they should be completing?||If it is – particularly if it’s mandatory – why do these users struggle to do this? Are they experiencing technical issues that they are choosing not to report? Is the format proving difficult for them to manage in terms of time or approach? Are these users significantly different from those that manage to complete it? Might there be a lack of management support to drive completion? Has the importance of completing this learning being sufficiently communicated?|
|Why are they not completing the content that they start?||Are they finding what they need from just a part of the training and don’t feel they need to complete it? If there would be value from them completing the module, how can you encourage them to do this? Are they actually not finding what they want in the content, i.e. it’s not meeting their expectations? If there is a pattern here, then perhaps it’s time to revise or replace that content. Do you have duplicate content in these topic areas and are these learners dipping into these competing courses? If so, would consolidating your titles help here?|
Your partial-completers are learners who complete some courses, but don’t complete others. I would expect this group to be a sizable proportion of your audience. You can analyse this audience by combining the questions for non-completers (above) and completers (below). In this respect they are a particularly useful group, as they are clearly engaged to a degree.
|Specifically, what conclusions can you draw from the types of content they do complete and that they don’t?||Are there certain formats that work better for this group? Does this back up the use of particular styles of learning to reflect the everyday business environment? Is there a clear dividing line between the completion of mandatory and discretionary learning?|
Completers are your most engaged learners, particularly if they are also completing content that they’ve selected for themselves. You might be tempted to not look into them anymore, however they can be a great source of information. When you know why they are so engaged, you can share their best practices across the other learners.
|What are the characteristics of the content they take and complete?||Is this content that is very aligned to their roles, suggesting the need to develop more business-focussed materials for the other audiences? What type of content is this? Is it, for example, short bursts of micro-learning that they find easier to complete, or is it mobile-ready and offers more flexibility? Is this content that is undertaken as part of a blend, which steers the learners through to completion?|
|What support does this audience get from their line managers?||We know that one of the most critical success factors in learning is the active support of each learner’s line manager. Do the completers enjoy higher levels of management support?|
|How is their working and learning environment?||Is it easier for this group to find the time and space to learn? Do they work remotely from home or are their quite mobile and being supported with mobile-friendly content.|
Looking deeper at your different audience groups, using the wealth of data that you can get from your LMS, is a good way to begin to understand your varying levels of engagement. With the increasing range of learning development options at our disposal, this analysis should also help us to develop our future learning and development strategies.