With the increasing popularity of remote work and the need for digital learning solutions, eLearning has become a critical part of HR and L&D programs. However, creating engaging eLearning experiences can be challenging, and it's essential to measure its effectiveness.
Measuring engagement is crucial for HR and L&D leaders because it provides valuable insights into the success of their training efforts. Engaged learners are more likely to retain information and apply it to their work, resulting in better job performance and higher productivity. Moreover, measuring engagement helps identify areas that require improvement, such as course content or delivery methods.
In this blog post, we'll explore why and how to measure engagement in your eLearning programs. We'll discuss the benefits of engagement measurement, the different types of engagement metrics, and how to use them to improve your eLearning programs.
What does "Learner Engagement" really mean?
Engagement in the context of learning refers to the level of active participation and emotional investment that learners have in the learning process. It goes beyond mere compliance with attending classes or completing assignments and involves a deep connection with the material being taught. Engaged learners are motivated to learn and are willing to put in the effort required to acquire new knowledge and skills.
Measuring learner engagement is crucial because it provides insights into the effectiveness of the learning program. When learners are engaged, they are more likely to retain information and apply it to real-life situations, leading to better job performance and higher productivity. Measuring engagement can also help identify areas that need improvement, such as course content, delivery methods, or even learner support.
L&D leaders face several challenges in creating engaging eLearning programs in the workplace. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of engagement among learners, as highlighted by the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI). However, despite this challenge, the 2020 LinkedIn Workplace Report found that only 35% of L&D professionals actively seek new ways to increase engagement levels.
Additionally, many organizations lack systems to measure the success of their eLearning activities effectively.
Another significant challenge is the rise of remote work and online training, which requires new strategies to measure engagement levels. The same LinkedIn study found that 24% of L&D professionals do not consider online usage data when measuring engagement, indicating the need for new approaches to measure engagement levels in online learning.
To overcome these challenges, L&D leaders must develop new approaches and tools that account for the unique characteristics of eLearning and remote work, which can ultimately lead to more engaging and effective learning experiences.
Also read: Are You Measuring The Impact of Your Online Training Programs? Start here
How to Measure Engagement?
Measuring student engagement is equivalent to measuring an employee's participation and interaction with a given training offering (whether online or offline) in terms of quantity and quality. However, there is no single metric to measure learner engagement. Rather, engagement can be seen as a goal to be achieved. And there are several metrics that can help determine if you're on track to reach that goal.
According to LinkedIn’s latest report Workplace Learning, training, and development leaders are currently assessing learner engagement based on the following parameters and in the following order of priority:
- Completion of the course.
- Student satisfaction survey.
- Learning minutes invested per month.
- Repeated visits per month.
You'll surely want to measure completion rates and progress with your compliance eLearning courses. However, those alone will not give you a real assurance of engagement. Your workers must complete the courses, so they really have no choice. For this reason, this blog is focused on courses that are NOT mandatory.
Engagement Metrics By Stage
It is not the same to measure the level of commitment of your employees before, during, or after a course. Different levels of commitment may appear at each of these stages. Therefore, it is important that you make a distinction between them and measure the corresponding parameters according to each phase. Here are some strategies you can implement to measure your employee engagement before, during, and after a learning experience:
1) Engagement PRIOR to the learning experience
Assessing engagement prior to the learning experience can help L&D leaders create more effective and engaging eLearning programs. One way to measure pre-learning engagement is by analyzing overall registration rates. This metric provides insight into employees' motivation to learn and indicates how well learning programs are promoted within the organization.
To measure registration rates, you can start asking the following questions:
- What percentage of your workforce enrolls in an eLearning course voluntarily?
- Do they sign up right after announcing a new course offering?
- Or do they need a couple of reminders?
2) Engagement DURING the learning experience
One way to measure engagement is by tracking completion and abandonment rates regularly. This metric provides insight into whether the learning content is engaging enough or if it leaves workers feeling unmotivated or confused, causing them to drop out of the course.
However, it's important to note that completion rates alone are not enough to assess engagement levels accurately. While completion rates are commonly used to measure engagement, they don't consider the fact that learning can occur non-linearly and at different times. For example, if an employee learns how to create a Facebook Ad in 10 minutes without completing the entire course, it's still a valuable learning experience. This highlights the need to look beyond completion rates and consider other factors such as the time spent on specific modules or the number of interactions with the learning material. By measuring engagement during the learning experience more holistically, L&D leaders can create more effective eLearning programs that truly engage employees.
Also read: Types of Interactive Content Proven to Boost Learner Engagement
Learn about weekly and monthly active users. This measurement evaluates the number of times students visit a specific site/course. How does this work? When a user constantly visits a website, it means that they have found value in the first experience and in all subsequent ones. In marketing, this is called a "sticky experience." L&D can also use this concept, using repeat visits and a "sticky learning experience" as a valuable metric for measuring if students resonated with the content and their level of engagement. In addition, this metric allows you to understand other interesting issues:
- Evaluate the success of campaigns to promote internal learning. How does activity change after a certain campaign?
- Test the number of employees who developed a "learning habit." What percentage of your employees continue to learn on a regular basis, either on a weekly or monthly basis?
Measure the level of collaboration and interaction between students. This is one of the best metrics to measure learner engagement.
If learners are engaged, they will want to share their experience with others so that they can enjoy it as much as they did. Through modern learning solutions, L&D professionals have access to valuable questionnaires and content-sharing data that allows them to inquire about employee engagement with other users by sharing or recommending courses to others after they have completed them.
Also read: Five Rules of Engagement All eLearning Designers Should Live By
Track the time your students spend on learning and ask yourself,
- "Are your employees learning as much as you would like them to learn?"
- "Is it possible that they are spending more or less time learning from what you initially planned?
- And finally, how much time should your employees invest in learning approximately?
The answer to the latter is that it "depends." What really matters here is the student's goal. If they want to learn a completely new skillset, then the time spent metric really matters. Conversely, if the learner is just trying to take some refresher courses, then the total time learned isn't going to be that important.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to the student's goals and how they can apply that knowledge to improve performance in their current job or boost their professional growth.
3) Engagement AFTER the learning experience
Don't forget to measure employees' level of engagement after a course is over. This will give you more information about the success of the experience and if there are things to improve.
Measure the percentage of employees who use their new skills. One of the most important objectives of any learning strategy is for employees to be able to apply the skills acquired during training. Can you notice higher productivity or quality of work after a course? Ways to measure this parameter are, for example, 360-degree feedback, self-assessment questionnaires, or analysis of specific job performance KPIs. Compare KPIs at the individual, team, and organizational levels prior to a course offering with the results observed after completing that learning experience.
Find out how many courses are taken independently by your employees after the course is over. The pursuit of continuous learning in the workplace is on the rise within L&D, and this is perhaps the most important indicator of how committed your employees are to this learning culture.
Also read: Learning Is Not a One-Time Event! How to Promote Continuous Learning In Your Company
Use satisfaction surveys. One of the most traditional ways to measure learner engagement is to simply ask those who are taking their courses. .
While there are several ways to measure learning engagement, one thing needs to be kept in mind: Data is key. Therefore, L&D professionals should try to gather as much as possible to continuously optimize.
Have you implemented in your company any of the ways we measure the engagement of your employees? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.