Effectiveness of eLearning: from time spent to training objectives

With the spread of eLearning in the corporate environment, and specifically in funded training, we return to talk about the measurement of the effectiveness of educational programs, historically based on the time spent in the classroom: in this article we talk about how LMS platforms allow an assessment based on the achievement of training objectives, accurately measuring the engagement and participation in learning activities.



We have already talked on several occasions about LMS platforms and remote monitoring of the performance of activities and the use of resources shared by the teacher. But what exactly do these platforms measure?

One of the key factors of monitoring is certainly the interaction with the platform itself and with the course contents: LMSs, in fact, track user actions such as clicks and page views. Furthermore, if activities are aimed at a purpose, these platforms allow to measure the achievement of the objectives, such as a complete display of a resource (video, text, presentation) or completion of an activity or test (for example using SCORM). Finally, on the basis of the actions performed, it is also possible to keep track of the time spent on individual activities or resources and on the whole course.



Speaking of time measurement, however, LMS platforms seem to have an insurmountable limit related to tracking how that time is spent by users. Even knowing the “duration” of an activity, in fact, if you use this as the only monitoring criterion, you cannot be sure that the user has actually carried out the actions required for the training.

If the resource is a textual content presented in pdf, for example, the platform can measure the time spent on the page that contains the resource itself and any user movements (scrolling of the page or passage from one page to another). Clearly, these collected data do not tell us if the user has really acquired the information contained in the document, as on the one hand they cannot give vision of the real engagement level – that is, if the user has only browsed through the pages or if he has read the text carefully – nor about achieving learning objectives.



How to exploit the potential of LMS platforms to measure the effectiveness of eLearning training based on the achievement of objectives?

The solution is as trivial as not easy to implement: a well done instructional design allows in fact to build contents and link them together in such a way as to guarantee that the user can proceed in the training program only by reaching the intermediate objectives set for any activity or resource. The key to monitoring therefore passes from the simple measurement of the time spent on the course to a set of factors – first of all the interaction with contents – that allow those who manage the training course to have a view of the real progress of each user.

To measure the effectiveness of training, it becomes discriminating to have a coexistence of project elements – the choice of the type of activities and resources, their organization in the platform, the insertion of intermediate tests and so on – with monitoring functions available in most of the LMS platforms.


It is therefore clear how a monitoring system, however advanced, cannot ignore the ability of the teacher in building training programs: the effectiveness of eLearning training always depends on good instructional design in combination with a valid LMS platform.

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