March 27, 2017
Big Data, from the aspect of eLearning industry, is the whole diversity and amount of data created by the learner’s activities while undergoing the training. Quite recently, most of this data was usually lost, due to the technological limitations of the eLearning results evaluation. However, thanks to the constantly evolving ...more info
Big Data, from the aspect of eLearning industry, is the whole diversity and amount of data created by the learner’s activities while undergoing the training. Quite recently, most of this data was usually lost, due to the technological limitations of the eLearning results evaluation. However, thanks to the constantly evolving technology and appearance of LMS’s with powerful analytics modules, eLearning and corporate training specialists can now work in tandem with Big Data architects and analysts to leverage the power of Big Data in eLearning.
5 steps to leveraging Big Data in eLearning
While Big Data is around for long and has been implemented in various fields of application during the last decade, it is yet to show its full potential for the eLearning industry. Why so? Because despite the growing role of blended eLearning (nearly 30% of the market) and fully online learning (26%) in corporate training back in 2015 and a steady growth since then, deploying Big Data in eLearning is not ubiquitous as of now — as it is a costly and time-consuming effort many companies still consider voluntary. Unsurprisingly, doing training the way it was always done cannot yield better results. We think embracing the Big Data to be the logical step to remaining competitive in the fast-paced and rapidly evolving business landscape of the 21st century
What is the difference between Big Data and the standard learning outcomes evaluation techniques? Usually, the researchers define a rather small group of parameters (20 at most) and evaluate a representative group of subjects using these parameters (500-1000+). These limits were previously set by the state of technology.
Nevertheless, the eLearning industry is changing and evolving, and we think it’s safe to say that implementing Big Data in elearning will become increasingly more common within the next years. This is due to the fact that Big Data architects and analysts have tools and techniques for evaluating hundreds of parameters of all process participants (learners in particular)! This creates an overwhelming stream of data, a true goldmine of knowledge. Nevertheless, it is of little use if not properly collected, sorted, evaluated and turned into decisions. Here are the 5 steps to using the Big Data in eLearning efficiently:
- Creating a measurement plan. A detailed measurement plan is half the success in any business effort, Big Data analysis included. It helps define the business goals, choose growth strategies, select the KPIs to use, set measurable benchmarks and determine the segments to use for reporting. Once the plan is set, Big Data officers must follow it, constantly adjusting and improving it in the process.
- Gathering the data from various sources like LMS statistics gathered during the course (learner performance, feedback and training results assessment), social media analysis and website analytics, business reports, focus groups and interviews, etc.
- Sorting and curating the information. Certain methodology and practices are needed to curate the flow of the information. For example, the data officers should sort out and highlight the data related to the course and learner performance, as it is of the highest priority for ensuring the course runs at peak efficiency. However, the less important knowledge should not be put aside, as it can be invaluable later, for evaluating different learning strategies, etc.
- Finding and analyzing the educational patterns. When the most essential data is curated and grouped according to certain parameters, it is easier to identify the emerging patterns. Data officer can then visualize them so that the course authors, L&D and/or HR specialists can make informed decisions on adjusting the course content.
- Taking actions according to the patterns revealed. Using the detailed statistics the Big Data provides, eLearning and corporate training specialists can identify the areas for course improvement and the bottlenecks of their courses - and tailor the content accordingly. Quickly adding some supplementary materials to help the students overcome the challenge at hand and adjusting the course content so that the future runs will not face this issue — this helps ensuring the best training outcomes and great learner experience at all times.
One of the most prominent applications of the Big Data in eLearning might be the creation of truly personalized adaptive learning, where the course content will include hundreds of possible learning paths and analysing the Big Data produced by each particular student will help create immersive, custom-tailored individual learning paths. This can truly revolutionize the education as we know it and bring the eLearning and corporate training to a whole new level of efficiency.
What is your experience with implementing Big Data in eLearning in your company, if any? Please describe it in the comments, we are grateful for your thoughts and opinions on the matter!
We also recommend reading our article on the eLearning hot trends for 2017 and the years ahead to be informed of what is hot (or will soon be hot) in the eLearning industry.