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4 Learning Metrics to Track for Online Courses (Hint: Your LMS Might Not Be Giving You The Full Story)

4 learning metrics to track for online courses.

Quick: if you had to say what the most important learning metric is for your online course… what would you say?

Chances are you'd say “course completion rate”, but this is not the only or best online learning metric to use to judge how effective your courses are.

According to a survey conducted on Learning Measurement 2016: Little Linkage to Performance by the Brandon Hall Group:

Course completion is the number one metric being used, and by a wide margin.

This is clearly the easiest metric to gather, but it doesn’t really tell an organization much.

If 98% of learners complete a course, you still have no idea if it was effective, if they liked it, if they will remember it, or if it will help the business.

The more strategic measurements are much further down the list, like team effectiveness or time to effectiveness.

Why The Numbers Matter for Your Online Courses:

Your ability to track and analyze the key learning metrics for online courses affects almost everything, from the success of current students to the future growth capabilities of your e-learning program.

If you're selling training to companies, for example, your executive clients will want to know whether or not the course was worth their investment. If you're not keeping track of your learning metrics, how can you prove it to them?

The 4 Primary Learning Metrics to Track for Your Online Courses

As an online educator and course creator, these are the 4 highest leverage learning metrics you can track. (Obviously, we all go data-crazy but these 4 will help you sleep well at night without overworking yourself.)

1. Student Progress

Tracking student progress on a lesson or module basis might not be the most important metric on its own. However, it will give you valuable data to work with as you start diving deeper.

A practical example of how progress tracking is a good learning metric.

On a basic level, students who progress through your course consistently and at a good pace are most likely engaged and invested in your course material.

How to Track:

Presumably, you're already tracking progress in your ecourse.

If so, you can use your built-in LMS reporting tools, like a training metrics dashboard, to see at a glance what your engagement numbers are–and where students start dropping off.

Here's an example of the ProgressAlly Reports – the method AccessAlly Pro uses to track user engagement in your online courses.

Having Trouble?

If you're struggling to keep students engaged and progressing through your courses, you might try:

  • Improving your onboarding sequence, to help students achieve a high level of commitment early on in the course
  • Creating a reminder automation, so students are automatically reminded to log in and finish the course material.
  • Connect with your students 1-1, so you can find out why they're getting stuck – and how you can help them get back on track.

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2. Learner Competency

When all's said and done, do your students actually benefit from the course? Do they walk away with a mastery of the material?

If you're promising a certain level of expertise – or offering a certificate – this is a serious issue to address.

The future growth and success of your online course will be judged ultimately on how well your students perform “in the field” after graduation.

How to Track:

There are a few different ways to monitor the competency of your students throughout the course, including:

Quiz scores

Quizzes are made for testing learner competency, and can be used as a pass/fail metric to force students to master each lesson's material before moving on.

Quality of homework submissions

Open-ended homework requirements are another great way to monitor how well the students grasp course material.

When using homework submissions, course instructors can give personalized feedback to help each student overcome roadbloacks, leading to higher success rates for individual learners.

An example of using homework for analyzing learning metrics for your online courses.

With AccessAlly Pro, instructors are able to view and respond to homework submissions.

Having Trouble?

If you're struggling with low quiz scores and less-than-impressive homework submissions, there are a few areas to look into for improvement:

  • Review progress stats, to identify any course lessons where your students might be getting stuck
  • Increase checkpoints with students (more quizzes, homework, etc.) so you can pinpoint the area of difficulty
  • Hold office hours or live sessions in a Facebook group to answer questions

3. Instructor Effectiveness

The hard truth is that some students will struggle with course material because of how it's set up and/or presented.

Even the best classroom instructors might waver a bit when presenting their first online course…or struggle to engage with students at a level they need to succeed. Others are natural and effective online teachers, and can deliver impressive courses.

Example of a great learning instructor, Natalie Macneil.

How to track:

Fortunately, the warning signs are usually fairly easy to discern:

  • Learner competency – if students are having difficult mastering the material, they might have low quiz scores, infrequent engagement in forums, or might stop logging into the course altogether.
  • Student reviews – watch for negativity towards course layout or the instructor's ability
  • Instructor’s responses to questions – are they attentive and knowledgeable in their responses?
Learning metrics for online courses include identifying time of login.

With AccessAlly Pro you can identify when a student logs into your course area. Use this feature to automate follow-up reminder emails when students are absent for long periods of time.

Having Trouble?

Unlike the grade school classroom, if an online course instructor is mediocre, students can choose to go elsewhere…and ask for a refund on their way out. Help your students and instructors to get back on the same page:

  • Require instructors to follow guidelines (availability for students, resources, etc.)
  • Run a beta launch to review all course materials before they’re given to students
  • Address recurring concerns 1-1 with instructor, if necessary
  • Offer professional e-learning resources to help your instructors teach effectively online

4. Customer Satisfaction

When your students walk away from the course, are they happy with their experience?

This is extremely important and provides balance to the competency metric. (i.e. a student might love the course but not be an “expert” after completing it….or they might have learned it all, but hated the whole process).

learning metrics for online courses

How to Track:

Tracking the customer satisfaction for online courses is identical to the customer happiness tracking you're already doing for the other parts of your business:

  • Track the percentage of course students who become repeat customers, purchasing more products and courses from your business
  • Use post-course questionnaires to find out how (and why) your course students rate their experience
  • Track the ratings & reviews of your online courses on external sites and forums
  • Track whether your students are referring new clientele to you
Having Trouble?

If your students aren’t happy, find out what’s going on ASAP:

  • Read & listen to negative reviews, to spot any recurring trends or issues
  • Reach out 1-1 to as many students as possible to learn why they're dissatisfied
  • Ask your students during the course what they would like to see improved, instead of waiting until the end to hear that it just didn't work out

It's Time to Start Tracking Learning Metrics for Your Online Courses

Tracking and analyzing the right learning metrics is a “must” if you're selling online courses. Though there are many ways to measure training effectiveness, the training metrics examples in this article should help you prioritize which are the most helpful for your business.

From there, you have a strong starting point to start improving success rates – and your bottom line.

How to Create Your Own Certification Program: Hibiscus Moon Case Study

Learn how to create your own certification program with this Hibiscus Moon case study.

Online courses are all the rage…

But what if your teaching lends itself to something even bigger, like empowering others through a certification program?

That’s exactly what Hibiscus Moon has done with her Certified Crystal Healer Course.

For over 10 years, she's been in business, delighting her clients with a warm, charismatic personality and an instinct for “what works” in online training.

Today she provides the perfect example of how to create a certification program with over 1000 graduates and students from 38 countries around the world.
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Launching An Online Course: 38 Things Nobody Talks About

Launching an online course

I've earned over a million dollars from creating and launching online courses.

To get to that point, I’ve done it all: launching an online course in the health and wellness space when I was brand new, selling evergreen products that are always for sale at low price points, and creating high end programs that cost thousands and are only available to purchase during a launch window. 

One thing I’ve noticed is that there are certain things about launching an online course that nobody talks about.

From marketing and technology to “sweat equity,” I want to share what I’ve learned over the years so you can save yourself some of the frustration and emotional ups and downs that come with launching an online course.

Keep reading if you plan to launch a course or program soon – or if you’ve launched before and you want to see what other humans go through during a launch.

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How to Design an Effective Online Course (Even If You’re Not an Academic)

how to design an effective online course

Two years ago, there was a prediction that customer experience would soon overtake both price and product as the key differentiator between brands…

That prediction has come true.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of e-learning and membership sites. When e-learning was less popular, the only real touch points you had with a client was in the “in between” moments – pre-sale, thank-yous, and when they emailed you with some issue here or there.

An online course multiplies your customer touch points, and the quality of your customer experience depends on the entire course, from start to finish.

It opens up a world of opportunity for your online business… but will it be effective enough to make you stand out from the competition?

It depends a lot on whether or not you know how to design an effective online course.

The good news is that you don't have to be an academic or instructor to get the job done. Continue Reading

If You’re Not Using 1-Click Upsells, You’re Leaving At Least 35% of Your Revenue On The Table

Using a 1-click upsell can double your revenue.
“You just bought an amazing new phone, do you want a protective case to go with it?”

You betcha!

The upsell is everywhere you go, from fast food drive-thrus to the shoe store. And no wonder, since post-purchase upsells have been shown to increase revenue by 35%… at least.

That’s an average.

To put that number into perspective, a business that's currently bringing in $85K/year by selling online courses could boost that number to $114K (or more).

Just by adding a one click upsell.

In this article, you'll learn why upsells work, the best time and place to offer a 1-click upsell, and some one click upsell WordPress plugin suggestions.

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Discover The Perfect Business for Introverts

Perfect business for introverts

If you’re looking for the perfect business for introverts… you know that as an introvert, you have certain advantages and disadvantages.

You have…

  • The ability to focus and get stuff done on your own
  • A rich inner world full of creative ideas
  • Empathy in spades.

But what you might not know is how to turn these gifts into a viable business model that makes the most of your strengths.

That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about today, and we’re going to look at how one mega-successful female entrepreneur and acclaimed introvert has made millions of dollars with this revenue model.

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