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What's happening in the world of digital learning?

  • Ashleigh Hull

From Data To Value

Do you feel like you’re creating reports just for the sake of it? That all your carefully compiled data isn’t actually being read or understood by anybody - including you? Time to stop. In this blog we’ll be talking about creating meaningful reports that people will actually use.

I’d hazard a guess that the issue you face isn’t that you can’t access the data you want. We are drowning in data. No, your issue is going to be that you have far too much data and don’t know how to find or even figure out what’s relevant.

Here's my advice.

Start by asking yourself: What business need am I trying to meet?

And then write yourself a one sentence answer. The user story framework from the Agile methodology might come in handy here:

“As a <role>, I want to <function>, so that <benefit>”.

For example, something like;

  • As a team manager, I want to be able to check if my team member has completed the course, so that I know whether to remind them to take it or not.

  • As an HR administrator, I want to confirm that every employee has achieved a score of 80% or higher, so that our compliance objective is fulfilled.

  • As an L&D developer, I want to know which areas of the course people didn’t engage with, so that I can improve the material.

Once you have your business need condensed into this simple sentence, you’ll be able to refine your reports so they only show the relevant data. If you think about this from the outset, you can even tailor your content development & learning system set-up so that it’s only gathering the data you actually want. No more wading through endless reports or spreadsheet columns!


Here’s a couple of examples from our own work to give you an idea of how this might look for you.

Health & Safety Compliance

As a gate security guard, I want to check when this contractor last completed the training, so that I know whether they’re cleared for site access.

For Arjowiggins, we built an interactive video that showed contractors how they are expected to act on site. The gate security needed to be able to see whether the contractor who’d just driven up had completed this training, and when, so that they could ensure everyone entering the site was up-to-date on the required site behaviours.

In this situation, we didn’t need to be logging extensive personal information, or detail on how people answered questions. The only data that was needed was a simple pass or fail, the date of it, and a unique identifier (in this case an email address) - so that’s all we recorded.

Continuous Product Improvement

As an elearning development team, we want to know what areas of the course the students struggled to engage with or to understand, so that we can improve the training materials.

We update a suite of courses for this client every year - some content updates to the technical information, and some improvements to the look and feel / interactivity as well.

In this instance, we don’t need to be logging a pass/fail. There are quizzes in the course, and a mock assessment, but these are for the student’s benefit. The true assessment is located elsewhere. The data that’s actually helpful in this situation is the way that people have answered the questions, and any student feedback. If most people get a certain multiple-choice question wrong, you can look at rewording the question or improving how the subject is taught. If most students say they struggled to understand a video, then that video should be looked at in the next round of updates.

So we set the courses to ‘complete’ in the LMS once the last page is reached, rather than once a ‘pass’ score has been achieved; we log the question responses for all multiple-choice questions; and we have a feedback form at the end of the course asking students how they found it, what they struggled to understand and what they now understand better having completed this training. All of that feeds in to our yearly review in advance of the updates.


So there you have it. Drowning in data? Take a step back, and ask yourself - what business need am I trying to meet?

Armed with your single sentence answer, you’ll be able to strip back the unnecessary data, keeping only what is valuable and freeing your content do the job it was built to do.


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