Integrating Your eLearning Programs With Business Intelligence
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How To Integrate eLearning Programs With Business Intelligence

The need for Business Intelligence (BI) in corporate training needs no explanation. Gathering data about worker behavior, customer pain points, and training effectiveness can help organizations tweak their eLearning programs and also make sure that their investments in corporate training garner higher returns.

The BI Challenges

There are, however, challenges when it comes to integrating corporate eLearning with BI. One of the biggest issues comes with data gathering. Is a poor response to your cold-call campaign due to a poor script or poor customer targeting? Without context, the data gathered by your Business Intelligence systems may not yield the desired outcome. The result is an increase in investment in training sessions that do not target the right need.

The second major challenge is the seamless two-way integration. On one hand, third-party Business Intelligence tools provide your trainers with the insights they need to design courses for employees. On the other hand, LMS applications are equipped with native BI systems that measure the effectiveness of a course. Integrating third-party insights into course designing and using learner insights from your LMS to measure course impact in the real world can be a challenge since these systems often operate in silos. It is not always possible to automate the movement of insights from one system to another.

Finally, the cost of implementation could be a challenge, especially for small and mid-sized businesses. The cost of BI tools varies, ranging anywhere from free to as much as $3,000 per month. These tools have varying levels of sophistication, and picking the right tool for your business is based not only on the features on offer and the cost but also on the opportunity costs of not integrating BI to your eLearning programs.

Integration Strategy

Many corporate businesses have invested in what has come to be known as the Integrated Analytics Platform. An IAP is an end-to-end solution that integrates data from multiple sources to deliver one dashboard or solution that aids in decision making.

An IAP helps bridge the data gap between BI and LMS analytics. Essentially, all the marketing-related data points are routed through the Business Intelligence platform to deliver insights, and this information is integrated with the data generated by your LMS analytics tools. The result is a second-tier Business Intelligence system that can now be used by both the BI platform and the LMS tool to render insights, providing a two-way system that gathers data from and delivers insights to marketers and corporate trainers at the same time.

The success of this type of system, however, still depends on the hygiene of the data gathered. BI is typically a ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’ system and the hygiene of the data inputted determines the success of the outputted information.

It is vital for corporate trainers, who determine the direction of course design, to pick the right Business Intelligence tool and LMS platform to go with. Tools and services like Grow and Sisense that are equipped with data cleanup features tend to be more expensive (more than $500 per month) for a small corporate team.

It is more important, however, to pick BI and LMS tools that have a seamless ability to integrate. Using APIs, corporate trainers can input analytics reports from their LMS that include information like course completion rates, engagement, and assessment results to the IAP to determine whether better results correlated with improved performance on the business side.

The Future Of eLearning BI

The next decade will see eLearning gradually transforming from a platform of convenience (reusable content, remote training, etc.) to a platform for personalized training. Success with any kind of personalization hinges on Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Business Intelligence will play an increasingly important role in all of this as we capture more and more data related to customer behavior and employee performance and use these insights to craft unique and personalized training materials.

Although BI-integrated eLearning systems are still targeted largely at the mid- and large-sized businesses, the technology has become more mainstream over the past couple of years. Also, unlike legacy tools, BI technology providers primarily serve over the cloud and offer subscription-based pricing to customers. It won’t be long before such sophisticated personalized training platforms become available to small businesses and bootstrapped startups too.

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