SHIFT's eLearning Blog

Our blog provides the best practices, tips, and inspiration for corporate training, instructional design, eLearning and mLearning.

To visit the Spanish blog, click here
    All Posts

    Why and How to Measure Engagement in Your eLearning Programs

    Creating an e-learning course and then just calling it a day simply isn't enough. It's about continuously refining and improving the course content and the way it's delivered.

    More importantly, it's about keeping a close eye on factors like engagement to ensure that the learning objectives are actually being met.

    Think of it like gardening: you don’t just plant seeds and walk away. You water them, shield them from weeds, and make sure they get enough sun.

    Similarly, in e-learning, you can’t just launch a course and forget about it.

    You need to nurture it, see how it’s received, and adjust the content as needed to make sure it’s effective and resonates with your team.

    This ongoing process of monitoring and tweaking helps turn a good course into a great one that truly enhances skills and knowledge.

    A key part of this is having a good way to see how your team interacts with the courses. There’s a saying, "If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it." Without knowing how engaged your team is, it’s hard to know what to fix.

    Keeping track of engagement not only shows you what’s working, but also what might need to be changed or completely redone. This info is super helpful because it lets you adjust the course to grab their attention and make sure they really learn.

    Keep reading to learn more about how to track engagement and use what you find to make your e-learning courses better.


    What does "Learner Engagement" really mean?

    When we talk about engagement, we're referring to how captivated your team members are with the courses you provide.

    It's not just about them watching videos and reading materials because they have to; it's about them genuinely connecting emotionally and intellectually with what they're learning. It’s like getting hooked on a TV show and binge-watching episode after episode; we aim for a similar level of engagement with the courses we design.

    So, why is measuring this engagement so important? Well, when someone is truly engaged with what they're learning, they're far more likely to apply this knowledge at work, boost their performance, and ultimately, advance their careers. When they grow, the company grows too.

    In the end: EVERYONE WINS.

    Engagement Challenges 

    In the corporate world, engaging employees in e-learning courses is a real challenge, and the stakes are high for getting it right. As the industry grows, companies are increasingly relying on digital learning to train their workforce. Yet, despite the availability of e-learning, keeping employees engaged remains a significant hurdle.

    Industry Challenges and Stats:

    1. Engagement Levels: One of the major challenges is low engagement levels. According to recent findings, around 82% of enterprise employees say interactive videos hold their attention better than non-interactive formats, indicating a clear preference for engaging, dynamic content​ (Exploding Topics)​.

    2. Course Completion Rates: Another concern is course completion rates. Studies suggest that over half of the people who register for e-learning courses do not actively participate in the course material. This points to a gap between signing up for training and actually completing it, which can impact the overall effectiveness of training programs​ (Exploding Topics)​.

    3. Adapting to Remote Learning: With more companies moving to remote work, the shift from in-person to online training has been rapid and not without issues. Many employees struggle with the lack of interactive and engaging elements in online training, which can make e-learning feel isolating and less motivating compared to traditional classroom settings.

    4. Technological Challenges: Technological issues also play a role, with some employees facing difficulties with access to reliable internet or not having the appropriate devices for online learning. This digital divide can significantly affect participation and engagement rates.

    5. Skill Development and Career Progression: Engaging in e-learning is not just about completing courses; it's also linked to career progression. About 94% of employees would stay longer at a company that invests in their career development through active learning and upskilling opportunities. This statistic underscores the importance of aligning e-learning strategies with career advancement goals to boost engagement​ (Exploding Topics)​.

    Also read: Are You Measuring The Impact of Your Online Training Programs? Start here


    How to Measure Engagement?

    How can you really measure engagement? How do you know if your team members are truly hooked on the e-learning courses you offer them, and not just clicking away while thinking about their next meal?

    There’s no magic wand to measure user engagement because "engagement" isn’t just a number that magically appears on your dashboard. It’s more about a set of signs that tell us if we're on the right track.

    According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning report, training and development leaders like you often assess engagement through several metrics, in this order of priority:

    • Course Completion: It’s a basic measure, but did you know that finishing a course doesn’t always mean someone was really engaged? They might just be checking off another task from their list.

    • Employee Satisfaction Surveys: It’s like asking them directly, "Did you like it? Was it helpful?" But remember, sometimes people are too polite in these surveys.

    • Learning Minutes per Month: How much time did they actually spend learning? This sounds great, though it doesn’t reveal if that time was productive or if they were just letting the clock run.

    • Repeat Visits per Month: This one is interesting because if they come back, they probably liked something, or maybe they were just lost looking for the way out.

    Now, while measuring course completion and progress in mandatory courses is important, these won’t tell you much about true engagement. After all, if it’s mandatory, what choice do they have but to complete it?

    That’s why this blog will focus on those courses that are NOT mandatory.

    This is where you can really see who is genuinely interested and who is actually learning.

    We’ll explore how you can fine-tune your senses to pick up on the real signs of engagement and make sure those courses are not just completed, but truly enjoyed and applied.

    Engagement Metrics By Stage

    Measuring engagement in e-learning courses is a bit like following a recipe: each stage requires different ingredients.

    Here are some practical, easy-to-digest tips for each stage to help you, as the training chef, get the best flavor out of your employees:


    1) Pre-Learning Experience Engagement:

    Pre-learning engagement is a critical factor that can determine the initial success of your e-learning programs.

    Here, we delve deeper into how to capture and understand the initial interest and motivation of your employees:

    General Registration Rates:

    This metric not only reflects initial motivation towards learning but can also serve as a thermometer for the effectiveness of your internal communication strategy. A high immediate registration rate post-announcement indicates that your message has resonated well with employees and that the skills or topics promised by the course are perceived as valuable.

    However, it's important to view these numbers in context:

    • Registration Segmentation: Analyze who is signing up. Is it mostly employees from a certain area who might have more interest in the topic? Or are you seeing broad participation across different departments and hierarchical levels?

    • Timing of Registrations: Identify when most sign-ups occur. An immediate spike after the announcement may suggest enthusiasm or an urgent need for skill development. A gradual increase might mean that employees are taking more time to decide, which could require more motivational efforts or additional information about the benefits of the course.

    Promotion of Learning Programs:

    The way you promote your learning programs can significantly influence registration rates:

    • Internal Marketing Strategies: Evaluate how you are communicating the availability and benefits of the courses. Are you using the right channels? Is your message clear and appealing?

    • Incentives for Enrollment: Consider if implementing incentives such as recognitions, awards, or tangible benefits for successfully completing courses could boost interest and participation.

    • Employee Feedback on Previous Experiences: Use feedback and suggestions from past experiences to adjust and improve how new courses are presented. This may involve tweaking the topics offered, the course formats, or even the timing of the sessions to better meet the needs and preferences of your employees.


    2) Engagement DURING the learning experience

    During the learning experience in your e-learning courses, there are several practical and direct ways to measure how your employees are participating.

    Here are some strategies you can implement to gain valuable insights into your team members' engagement:

    1. Completion and Dropout Rate: First, look at the completion rates of the courses at the team, department, and organization levels. If many employees are not finishing the courses, it might indicate that the content is not engaging enough or doesn't align with their needs. Monitoring these metrics helps you adjust and improve the learning materials.

    2. Interaction and Collaboration Among Learners: A strong sign of an engaging course is when employees not only participate actively but also collaborate and share their experiences with others. Through forums, discussions, and online group activities, you can measure how much students are interacting with each other. This also promotes a culture of collaborative learning.

    3. Weekly and Monthly Active Users (WAU/MAU): This metric shows you how many employees regularly return to the learning platform. A high number of WAU or MAU indicates that users find value in the content and are motivated to continue learning. This can also reflect the success of your internal promotion campaigns for learning.

    4. Time Spent Learning: Monitor how much time your employees spend on the courses. If an employee quickly learns something specific and useful without needing to complete the entire course, this is also a sign of efficient learning. However, if your goal is deep and detailed learning, then you would want them to spend more time on the material.

    5. Direct Employee Feedback: There's nothing like getting feedback directly from the source. Conduct satisfaction surveys at the end of each course to get specific feedback on what worked and what didn’t. This not only measures engagement but also provides crucial data for future improvements.

    By integrating these metrics into your measurement strategy, you can gain a clearer and more complete understanding of the level of engagement during e-learning courses. Remember, every piece of data collected offers an opportunity to further optimize and personalize the learning experience, ensuring that the courses are not only completed but truly enrich and benefit your employees.

    Also read:

    Types of Interactive Content Proven to Boost Learner Engagement

    Five Rules of Engagement All eLearning Designers Should Live By


    3) Engagement AFTER the learning experience

    After your employees complete an e-learning course, it’s crucial not to miss the opportunity to measure the impact of that learning. This post-course evaluation stage is as important as preparing and running the course itself because it provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content and the practical application of what was learned.

    Here are some practical approaches to measuring engagement after the course has ended:

    1. Application of New Skills:

    One of the most significant measures of any course's success is seeing how employees apply the acquired skills in their daily work. Are there improvements in productivity or the quality of their work?

    To assess this, you can use:

    • Performance Reviews: Look at changes in performance evaluations before and after the course.

    • Specific KPIs: Compare key performance indicators related to the skills taught in the course before and after its implementation.

    • 360-Degree Feedback: Gather feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates on the practical application of the learned skills.

    1. Initiative for Continuous Learning:

    How many of your employees seek to continue learning on their own after completing a course? This can be a strong indicator of their motivation and commitment to continuous learning:

    To assess this, you can use:

    • Enrollment in Additional Courses: Measure how many employees sign up for other relevant courses after completing one.

    • Use of Supplementary Resources: Check if they are accessing additional materials or resources recommended at the end of the course.

    • 360-Degree Feedback: Gather feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates on the practical application of the learned skills.

    1. Satisfaction Surveys 

    Never underestimate the power of directly asking your employees about their learning experience:

    • Direct Feedback: Conduct satisfaction surveys at the end of each course to get feedback on what they liked, what they didn’t, and what could be improved.

    • Discussion Forums: Encourage the creation of forums where employees can discuss and share their experiences and learnings from the course.

    Implementing these strategies will not only help you measure post-course engagement but also allow you to continuously refine and improve your e-learning programs to truly meet the needs and expectations of your employees. Ultimately, the success of your learning initiatives should translate into better job performance and ongoing professional development.

    Also read: Learning Is Not a One-Time Event! How to Promote Continuous Learning In Your Company

    Learning analytics are invaluable not just for predicting learner outcomes but also for creating genuine learning experiences and fostering engagement.

    Undoubtedly, course engagement is one of the most important aspects to continuously track, as it's a good indicator of how well your learning and development strategy is being executed. While there are various aspects to evaluate to measure this engagement, one thing should be kept in mind: Data is key. Therefore, you should aim to gather as much data as possible.

    Have you implemented any of the methods we mentioned to measure the engagement of your employees in your company? Can you think of any other methods? Share your thoughts in the comments.




    Related Posts

    How to Leverage AI to Solve Key L&D Challenges and Boost Learning Impact

    In today's landscape, training and development departments are tackling a range of challenges from technological upgrades to creating content that's accessible and engaging for a diverse workforce. This complex landscape is reflective of broader industry trends where the pace of change is not just fast, but accelerating. The Industry at a Glance: According to LinkedIn's 2022 Workplace Learning Report, 64% of learning and development professionals agree that their role has become more challenging compared to just two years ago. This is largely due to the rapid technological shifts and the increasing demand for digital upskilling. A recent Gartner survey highlights that 58% of the workforce needs new skill sets just to keep up with their current job demands, let alone future innovations. The same Gartner study points out that the shift to more remote and hybrid work models has necessitated a complete rethink of traditional training methods. This includes not only the mediums of delivery but also the content itself to ensure inclusivity and engagement across geographies and cultures.

    5 Rules for Designing Multi-Device eLearning Courses

    Diving into today’s eLearning scene, creating courses that perform seamlessly across multiple devices isn’t just an added bonus—it’s absolutely essential. Consider this: more than 70% of learners flip between computers, tablets, and smartphones to access their education. This isn’t just a shift; it’s a revolution in how we engage with and absorb knowledge.

    Is Your Company Embracing Just-in-Time Learning?

    Are you struggling to keep your team's training up-to-speed with the pace of today's business demands? You're not alone. As job requirements shift and evolve at lightning speed, traditional training methods often fall short. That's where Just in Time Learning (JIT) comes into play—a strategy that delivers exactly what your team needs, right when they need it.