How to Use Data to Create Better Learning Experiences

May 11, 2022

Most online learning programs collect data on learning activities in order to keep a pulse on their learner’s progress. Who’s missing class? Who is submitting assignments late? 

Generally, this data is used to determine whether a learner has met completion qualifications by the end of your program.  

But what if you could also use data to improve the learning experience overall? What data would you collect? How would you use it?

Below we dig into student data collection and share how you can make that data actionable to improve your overall learning experience. The result? More successful learners, less churn, and more. 

What data can you collect?

While data points like attendance and assignment submission are commonly used in all kinds of learning programs, one of the perks of online learning is that your students leave all sorts of virtual footprints that provide insight into their progress. 

Here are some other data points that you might also want to consider collecting (unless you do already): 

Lateness and Leaving Early from Online Classes: If a student is consistently late to online classes or leaving early, those are signs that the student might benefit from a conversation with your team to make sure they’re on track.

Community Platform Engagement: Most online learning programs offer a platform for learners to interact, ask questions, share their work, etc. Some common platforms for this are Slack, Discord, Circle, or even your LMS. If a student isn’t consistently engaging on your community platform - responding to others or asking questions for example - it could mean that they’re not fully plugged in to your program. 

LMS Logins: Knowing whether or not your learners are logging in to your LMS is key to understanding who is and isn’t accessing the learning content. If someone hasn’t logged in for a few weeks, they might be seriously behind on their modules and at risk of churn. 

Survey Feedback: If a learner rates their experience for the week a 2 out of 5, for example, there’s likely something happening - either they’re struggling or they’re finding issues with your program. Either way, digging for deeper understanding is key. 

There are only 2 questions you really need to ask to know if they’ll succeed in your learning program. Check them out here

How can you use this data to improve learner experiences?

The bad news: struggling learners don’t always reach out to ask for help. Maybe they’re embarrassed that they’ve fallen behind. Maybe they’re just unsure program managers would even care. 

The good news: These data points can help your team pinpoint exactly which learners are struggling so you reach out to them proactively before it’s too late. 

Interventions can take place across any of your program’s communication tools - Direct Message in Slack or Discord, email, SMS, or even a quick call. 

You can intervene by sending quick check-in messages when a learner shows signs of struggling. Beyond that, interventions can also be used to:

  • Provide additional learning resources 
  • Offer clear next steps for a student that’s feeling stuck
  • Understand where the student is struggling and offer emotional support

The idea is to get context on what the student is experiencing and see how your team can fill in the gaps to make sure they stay on track and don’t drop off. 

Learn how reduced student drop-out by 50% here

What are the benefits of interventions? 

While these interventions can help get learners back on track and prevent them from dropping out or deferring to a later date, there are other benefits too.

  • Learners feel seen and like your program cares about their progress - they’re not just a number. They know your program is paying attention to them and wants to support them in their learning journey. 
  • Learners have the opportunity to receive extra support without having to ask for it (thereby catching learners that might have otherwise fallen through the cracks). 
  • Learning programs get a deeper understanding of how they’re doing. Responses to these interventions can provide great insight on how they can improve, what tech might be failing or confusing learners, and more.

These benefits taken together can significantly improve your program’s overall learner experience. 

Not yet intervening to support struggling learners? Virtually’s Student Relationship Manager (SRM) can help automate interventions, in addition to automating data collection and flagging at-risk students using custom triggers. 

Click here to sign up for our waitlist or schedule a call to connect with our team. 

Read Next: How to Create a DIY Student CRM with No-Code Tools

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually