Why learning analytics benefits instructors and learners

By Troy Nielsen

There is a view of learning analytics as being only relevant to L&D departments, and those who are taking care of business bottom lines. While it’s true that analytics can help organisations to optimise their resources and increase revenue, there is a whole spectrum of benefits for instructors and learners if you utilise reporting to take a deep dive into your learning data.

Keep reading for insights into how instructors and learners can use LMS reporting to develop practical, actionable benefits.

A work meeting with managers discussing learning analytics

How do learning analytics help instructors do their jobs?

Knowing - on a learner-to-learner basis - where time is being spent, who is using course materials and how progress falls across a class gives a window into the learner experience that might be hard to come by without the help of analytics.
Check out this report focus: assignment submission summary for an example of how instructors managing multiple courses and assignments can use analytics to increase their organisational capacity.

For instructors, analytics don’t just reveal previously unknown information about learners, they also support qualitative judgements and existing expertise. Given that educators are already likely to have an idea of which learners require help, and which areas of a curriculum need attention, analytics can be used to target evidence that informs those improvements.

This goes hand in hand with selecting the right metrics to support meaningful changes. For instructors, effective use of learning analytics is all about knowing how to ditch vanity metrics for actionable metrics for better e-learning.

An e-learning course with a high course completion might look like a great success, but data on completion doesn’t tell educators much about how learners are actually using their time. For an analytics profile that truly supports instructors, a dashboard of actionable metrics should be created for continued assessment and optimisation of your courses and programs.

How do the benefits of learning analytics reach students?

While instructors can use LMS reporting to support their role, students might wonder how the benefits of analytics are relevant in their day-to-day learning experience. The answer is that analytics monitor how learners interact with course content. Information gathered from this process can be used to paint a picture of learner engagement - how often learners are online, when they prefer to study, and how long they spend studying.

Knowing how learners engage with lessons is the best route to creating a satisfying and informative program. The more that learners immerse themselves in course content and communicate with their peers, the better their performance is likely to be. And in return, the more that learners engage, the more beneficial the learning environment becomes for the entire class. Studies confirm the value of a collaborative learning environment, with discussion forums being a particularly effective way for students to cement their understanding.

What's the best way to use your learning analytics to improve your courses?

Regardless of what industry you work in, being able to measure the engagement of your courses and programs- whether to inform, teach, improve, or change - is critical to understand your training’s likelihood of success.

Totara Learn comes with its own robust reporting. However, if you’re looking for a more advanced analytics solution that makes it easy to determine which key performance indicators to focus on for improving learning outcomes, you may want to consider integrating a dedicated analytics tool.