For many, a learning management system is a tool to track employee learning and to deliver eLearning. But an LMS can do much more. An LMS captures a wealth of data about learners and learning experiences that can inform learning and development programs in organizations of any size.
Other than keeping track of which courses are planned and completed by each employee, what surprising insights can an LMS reveal to an organization? How can those insights be used to improve results?
Who Are Your Expert Employees? (And Who Needs More Support?)
For a classroom instructor, it’s pretty straightforward to scan student grades during and after the course to see who is performing well and who is struggling. With asynchronous eLearning, though, employees complete courses at their own pace and at a time that’s convenient to them. So, it takes an extra effort for instructors or administrators to monitor performance. And grades don’t tell the full story.
If your LMS has a Student Ranking Report for each course, you can see the relative performance of all students for the class. Most Ranking Reports show grades plus a 1-to-x ranking for each participant. Though employee rankings have come under fire in the “rank and yank” controversies, I find rankings tremendously useful. If most people in the course are performing at about the 85 percent level, for example, then the few people who are scoring about 95 percent or better are your experts. You may want to tap into their expertise for new projects, peer consultation or a new career path.
Conversely, an employee averaging a 70 percent or lower in a class with an 85 percent average is someone who needs a little more support. The employee and organization alike can benefit from outreach by an instructor or manager to help the employee overcome an important learning hurdle or skills gap.
Though often underutilized, a Ranking Report is a powerful tool to put grades into context. If most employees are averaging about 70 percent in the class, then you might not have any experts in the group – or anyone who needs extra support.
How Much Does Your Group of Employees Know?
Sometimes, it’s important to know the general level of subject knowledge for a group of students. By using Pre-Tests and Post-Tests in courses and then examining the group of students’ average scores on both, you can see how much a group has learned – or not.
If there is solid improvement, then you have a group of employees who learned from the course experience. Check the grades in the Post-Test, to confirm that your employees have acquired a sufficient level of knowledge for their roles and your organizational needs.
If there is little improvement between the Pre-Test and Post-Test, you know to look further. Is the instructor not effective? Are the learning materials deficient? Did something happen that distracted students when they completed the Post-Test? Or…perhaps the level of knowledge at the start of the class was already high, so there was little change from a high-scoring Pre-Test. Whatever you learn, the analysis will help you identify next steps.
How Quickly Are Students Completing A Course?
Does your LMS have a Registration Aging Report? This report tracks the number of days between the time someone registers for and completes a course. Just as accounts receivable professionals closely scrutinize aging reports to see which invoices are overdue for payment, learning professionals and managers can gain good information by reviewing registration aging information.
Look for outliers. If most people are completing a course within 60 days of registration, use the report to identify employees that are taking longer. They may need a nudge to get started. Or the material may be challenging, preventing successful completion of a course.
Look for patterns. What’s the average time it takes for employees to complete courses? For courses with a higher aging rating, are they too difficult? Or are people signing up too early? Are there unclear expectations for how long it should take to complete the course? For courses that are completed quickly, are they too easy?
There are many great reasons for courses to be completed quickly or over a longer period of time. Use your Registration Aging Report to flag employees or courses that are taking too long (or not long enough), so your team can act accordingly.
How Good Are Your Training Materials or Assessments?
When a group of employees scores worse than expected on an exam, the cause could be any one of many reasons. If you suspect that the training materials or test questions may be confusing, check the Question Summary Report.
A Question Summary Report will show how students fared on each question. When you find a question that most people got wrong, check the question. Was the material adequately covered in the course? Is the question itself clearly worded? Are the answers appropriate?
Instructors know that there is no way to gauge the quality of training materials or a test when you’re designing it. Only human data will show what works (and what doesn’t). And a Question Summary Report is a popular way to present data that can reveal shortcomings to address.
LMS reports don’t simply measure student learning. They provide powerful insights that can help improve the learning experience and outcomes. Are you wondering what reports are available in Avilar’s WebMentor LMS and how they can help? Contact us. We love tapping the untapped potential of any LMS!