How to Track Attendance for your Live Online Learning Program

September 14, 2022

Tracking attendance is extremely important for online learning programs, since it provides valuable feedback to help learning programs improve their curriculum and student outcomes. 

A main benefit of attendance tracking is that it helps your team identify the sessions students are most interested in attending. If you offer a variety of live events inside your program like office hours, mentor sessions, and ice breakers, tracking attendance for Zoom calls may help you notice that students prefer one type of session over another. With this data in hand, you can make strategic decisions of which events to continue offering and which to pause.

Additionally, tracking attendance may help you pinpoint the students who are falling behind on their coursework, prompting your team to develop creative ways to re-engage them. Are students in need of additional support? If so, which ones? Or are they just missing class because the events themselves aren’t easily accessible? 

Finally, you can leverage attendance data to your advantage in recruiting future students. Showcasing high attendance can help your program stand out (not to mention collecting and showcasing student feedback!). 

Either way, tracking attendance throughout your online learning program is a powerful tool. We share 3 ways your team can approach attendance tracking below. 

Curious about boosting student engagement? Here are some ways to stop the rapid decline in student engagement.


Option #1: Manually track attendance

You can leverage spreadsheets or cloud-based database management tools like Notion and Airtable to  manually track attendance. While this methodology is accurate, it leaves room for human error and can be time-consuming. Not only do you have to find the right time during class to take attendance (for example, learners may be late to class or enter and exit the Zoom session due to poor connectivity), but you also want to avoid disrupting the classroom flow. Additionally, this manual approach isn’t particularly scalable, meaning that as more students enroll in your program, the more challenging tracking attendance becomes.


Option #2: Use Zoom's default attendance reporting

Did you know that by default, Zoom tracks meeting attendance?

While useful, Zoom’s data is limited. Although you can identify the number of meeting participants, their names and email addresses aren’t always available or how long they attended the meeting.  If a participant has technology issues throughout the session, Zoom may not capture data correctly. Zoom also does not provide analytical data that helps online learning programs spot trends like identifying members with the highest and lowest attendance rate.

Find 3 big picture insights you can learn from attendance data here


Option #3: Use Virtually

Virtually offers the best solution for tracking attendance for Zoom calls. Virtually’s attendance tracking  is over 97% accurate and includes join times, leave times, and duration students stayed in each class. Advanced reporting features include if a student was late or on time to a meeting, the time they logged into the call, a list of absences, and feedback from automatic surveys sent to attendees after the event. Virtually also takes care of sending out automated event reminders (example: 10 minutes and 1 hour before the event), and you can easily export data to Airtable or any other platforms capable of importing CSV files.  

With Virtually taking care of event reminders, attendance tracking, and reporting, you’ll have all the insights you need to make informed decisions about your online learning program.

Try Virtually for free! 

Read Next: The Power of Data Aggregation for Student Success

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually