Once you’ve put in the effort of collating the necessary content, writing it out, and finally designing an online learning programme, you want to ensure that it delivers on all of your performance goals. After all, what good is a programme that doesn’t manage to inform, educate, and enlighten its intended audience? Whether you’re offering a course to students or employees, ensuring that they are learning well is an important step that educators often miss. Only when you know if your course is a hit or a miss can you rework it effectively. Additionally, measuring the course’s success can help you determine if it is a worthwhile monetary investment.
While it may seem the best way to gauge the quality and effectiveness of your learning programme is to ask the people it is intended for, the truth is that participants rarely volunteer such information. Instead, if they find the programme hard or generally ineffective, they’re likely to either quietly drop out or muddle through it somehow without sharing their experience with you.
So what can an educator do to measure the success of their online course? In this article, we will take you through ten useful ways in which you can judge your course’s performance along specific metrics. Before we do that, however, let’s address a far more elementary step in the process of evaluating learning programs — setting goals.
Set Clear Goals For Your Course
After you’ve designed your course and are ready to put it out, you should take a moment to figure out your expectations from your online learning programme. What do you want your students to learn, experience, and retain? Having clear goals will help you choose the right metrics to measure the success of your programme.
For instance, if you are designing a course to orient new employees to the company’s work culture, your goal would probably be to secure a high retention rate for the company. Similarly, if you are educating employees on workplace harassment, your goal would be to create a safe and friendly work environment. Once you have a clear set of goals, it becomes easier to evaluate your learning programme for effectiveness.
10 Ways to Measure the Success of Your Online Course
Monitor Learning Progress
Watching learners progress through a course can be a useful way to gauge how well they are absorbing the course material. One way of doing this is tracking how long it is taking them to complete different modules or tasks. This will tell you if there are any specific modules or concepts that are causing learners to slow down, and if they need to be improved in any way. Additionally, you could also see if there are any lessons that students keep referring back to. This could mean that a particular lesson might need to be reworded or padded up with examples to help them understand it better.
These are some of the ways to monitor learning progress that can help you identify portions of your course that need improvement or redesigning.
Track Performance Goals
The easiest way to check how your students are doing is to check their performance on assignments or practice exercises. Although these indicators may not reflect the entire truth about a student’s performance, they can be useful indicators of learning and retention when looked at collectively.
Here’s an example of tracking performance goals. Let’s say you’re running a course designed to help employees with better workplace etiquette. You can compare their performance before attending the course with their performance after completing it to see if undergoing it resulted in positive tangible differences.
Monitor Course Completion
While learners may leave a course unfinished for various reasons such as poor health, conflicting work schedules, or other urgent matters, statistics around course completion can be a helpful tool to judge if students are finding your course useful. If motivated and engaged students are struggling through the course and leaving it midway, you might have a problem on your hands. Research suggests that students enrolled in online courses are less motivated than those in face-to-face courses. To tackle this, your course might need to be redesigned or its content revised to make it more engaging and creative.
Check Assessment Scores
Tests, quizzes, and exams are classic tools to measure learners’ understanding and uptake of the course material. Assessments like these not only offer students a chance to see their shortcomings but are also excellent opportunities for educators to check overall learner progress. Assessment scores can help educators understand where their learners are struggling and which concepts might need to be looked at again for possible simplification.
Group Activities And Discussions
Group discussions via video calls or chats are a great way to gauge what level of understanding students are operating at. There are two advantages to getting learners to interact with others in the group and voice their opinions openly. First, learners get a chance to evaluate themselves and their level of accomplishment in the course based on the responses of their peers. Second, such interactions tell educators exactly how well learners have grasped important concepts relevant to the course. Group activities can therefore be an eye-opening experience for both educators and learners while simultaneously making the learning process more enjoyable.
Observe The Practical Application Of Concepts
Create scenarios where learners have to apply the knowledge they have acquired through your course. Check if they can put their knowledge into practice without having to refer to written material or consult with others. If they can bring their learning to deal with imaginary scenarios with accuracy, you know you’ve created a successful learning programme.
For instance, if you’re training a batch of employees in customer service, you could have them place real customer service calls and see how they perform. If your course has effectively taught them the critical tenets of customer relationship management, they should be able to deal with difficult situations or dissatisfied customers and bring outstanding issues to a positive resolution.
Turn Learners Into Teachers
Students or employees who have completed your course can be valuable resources for your programme. You can turn graduates of your course into teachers for future classes. This is a great way to see how well they can communicate the topics and ideas covered in your course to a new batch of learners.
Collect feedback from your learners
At the end of your learning programme, you could have students fill out an online form or engage them in one-on-one discussions about what they thought of the course and their suggestions or opinions about improving it. Companies could also hold focus groups where employees share their thoughts about training modules they have undergone, pointing out pros and cons and identifying areas they struggled to get through.
Reviews and recommendations
Many learners might feel uncomfortable sharing authentic feedback about their experience in your course. They may instead leave a review or recommendation on your website or a third-party website. Make sure you keep an eye out for such reviews so you can incorporate valuable suggestions or feedback into your programme.
At the same time, ask your learners whether they would be likely to recommend the course to a colleague or friend. A simple yes or no answer should suffice to give you an idea of your course’s value to its intended audience.
To determine whether your course is successful and to what extent, you need to measure its Return on Investment (ROI). To calculate the ROI, you will need to weigh the cost of running the programme (including design and development costs, cost of running a website, payment for online teachers, and so on) against the benefits it has been able to deliver. These benefits could be financial (sales and revenue) or in terms of the impact your programme was designed to achieve (for instance, employee retention, better customer service, or improved productivity). By weighing these two parameters against each other, you’ll be able to arrive at a cost-to-performance ratio, based on which you can judge how effective or successful your online learning programme has been.
Learn With Learnium
With these strategies, you can assess what’s working or not in your learning programme. They can also help you overcome some of the challenges inherent in designing and building successful learning programmes that engage with learners and derive positive results. Learnium is the ideal solution if you need help designing an online course or choosing a learning platform.
We use the latest technology to equip educators with tools they can use to turn their online classrooms into exciting and meaningful spaces where students can learn in creative ways. Using Learnium can help you develop a more inclusive, easy-to-use, and customisable platform to host online lectures and webinars, while also being able to share resources and chat with students!
Reach out to Learnium today to find out more about designing amazing online learning programmes!