Measure The Impact Of eLearning - 4 Layers Of Learning Measurement For All Learning And Development Teams
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Why Measure The Impact Of eLearning Projects?

Measuring your learning is one of the 6 pillars of people-centered eLearning. Research has found that when the effectiveness of eLearning is continually measured—along with the other 5 pillars—projects are far more likely to deliver real-life impact.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who would dispute the value of measuring the impact and effectiveness of eLearning. But it can sometimes seem overwhelming. Don’t worry, though—you don’t need to be an analyst or excel genius! You can get a simple, user-friendly process in place with just a few key metrics that will help you achieve your goals and give you early warning if you’re off course.

Laying The Groundwork

Before we get into how to measure your learning, there are a couple of fundamental things you need to check first:

  • Make sure you’re 100% clear on the goals of your eLearning project—you must have a tangible purpose (otherwise, how can you measure success against this?).
  • Who exactly is the audience you’re targeting, and what are their needs? This template will help you nail down key information about your audience. What are the most important indicators to track?

The 4 Layers Of Learning Measurement

It’s important to build in measurement and evaluation throughout your learning project… don’t leave it all for the end! One way to approach this is by starting with the performance improvements you’re looking to achieve, then drill down layer by layer to get to more detail.

Take inspiration from how digital marketers work. For example, they may have an objective to increase leads of the sales team by 50%. That’s the performance indicator. As well as tracking the number of leads, they may also be looking at the type of leads (e.g., demo requests vs. pricing requests), the number of visitors to the website and the percentage of these that convert to leads. Improvements (or declines) in any of these areas will affect the digital marketers’ ability to achieve the end goal of more leads for the sales team.

So, when it comes to hitting the goals for your project, think about a few key measures that are most relevant to you. These measures are the ones that will help you identify areas for improvement and demonstrate the value of your project.

Layer 1: Measuring Performance Improvements

The good news is that if you’ve planned carefully, you’ll know your project goals and what to look at to judge success, making measuring performance relatively easy. For instance, if you’re aiming to reduce complaints, complaints are what you need to track. If you want to increase the sales team’s opportunity to close rate, that’s what you need to track.

You can also take more holistic measures into account here; for example, including self, peer, and management measures and feedback. Get more learning measurement suggestions here.

Layer 2: Measuring The Learning  Program Itself

Drilling down a level, past the end result, you can measure the project itself. In essence, measuring performance improvements is all about discovering the effect your project has externally, but measuring the learning program is about looking inward.

A big reason to do this is so you can confidently demonstrate that your eLearning (which you’ve invested time and effort into creating) is actually affecting the performance improvements you’re seeing from your users. These measures could come in the form of survey responses from users or metrics such as usage, sessions, or shares.

Layer 3: Measuring The Effectiveness Of The Learning Content

Drill down a bit farther, and you come to the content that makes up your learning program. It could be that some of your content works brilliantly for your users, while other parts just aren’t hitting the mark… but how do you know which is which? That’s where learning analytics come in. We’re talking tools like Google Analytics, built-in data dashboards in your authoring platform and the data available in your LMS. The most valuable data is updated in real-time so you can see up-to-date trends in user behavior.

If you’re not sure where to look first, suggestions include your most and least popular pages and the exit points where your users drop off. Find out how this learning analytics can help you and discover more ideas here.

Layer 4: Measuring The Design Concept

Let’s take it right back to the beginning. Before deciding on a design concept, have a look at the data from your last project and consider experimenting with different prototypes.

If you’re still not certain about your concept after that, why not A/B test? Remember that for a true A/B test, you need to be careful to change one variable only—or else it will be really hard to distinguish what caused the result! Possible variables include formats and the length of just about anything—be it videos, copy, audio clips, topics—the list goes on!

How Do You Know Which Learning Measures Are Right For You?

These are only a handful of the learning measures available to you and your L&D team, and there are so many more! Check out this list of 20 powerful learning measurement ideas to help you improve the performance of your eLearning.

You don’t need to use every measure, of course. It’s really important that you choose the learning measures that will help you discover whether your eLearning is achieving your project goals. It might be that you only need to focus on 1 or 2!

Suggested further reading:

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