Have you ever considered hiring a business analyst to mine your learning data and arm you with the information you need to make informed business decisions? We recently talked with Chris Longstreet, the Director of Learning Experiences at Choice Hotels International, about how his team of analysts uses learning data from an LMS, Google Analytics, and Vimeo to:
- Study learner navigation to increase learner engagement.
- Study learner behavior to enhance training design.
- Compare business analytics to learner analytics for clues to improve performance.
1. Increase Learner Engagement
Through data mining, Choice Hotels International is answering questions about its U.S., Canadian, and international learners such as, “What are they doing in the system? Where are they going? What do they need? What interests them? What makes them bored? What’s the path of their mouse on the screen?”
By answering questions like these, Longstreet’s team has made useful discoveries, including how:
- Most learning content is accessed through the Search bar.
- Learners are more apt to complete learning assets if they are sent an email with a direct link to the training.
- International learners engage with training far less than learners from the U.S. and Canada.
- Choice Hotels International’s learning environment has an inverted relationship to its travel business cycle. While its hotels are less busy during the first three months of the year, engagement with its learning environment goes up.
Armed with valuable information like this, Choice Hotels International has been able to develop solutions to increase learner engagement. For instance, Longstreet’s team decided to:
- Place an icon for the learner’s personalized training map near the Search bar.
- Build a messaging system inside the LMS where they can send every learner a message with a direct link to a learning asset. During the first quarter of this year, the LMS sent over 150,000 messages and, as a result, learning engagement has skyrocketed. Management is also informed when their staff receives a message, allowing them to follow up with their employees and help them apply what they learned to their jobs.
- Further analyze data for international learners to determine how to drive engagement with that audience.
- Launch new programs January–March, when overall engagement is highest.
Due to these changes, Longstreet’s team noticed engagement levels are up, and the number of pages visited has gone down significantly. In other words, learners are getting to the content they need faster. “The average session duration went down from about 14 minutes to six minutes per session,” said Longstreet. “So, we cut our user time in half, which means they are spending less time away from their other responsibilities.”
During the interview, Longstreet added, “We can also track engagement down to location. For some reason, Canada has had a 50% jump in the last three weeks. Now we can figure out why.”
2. Enhance Training Design
Learning data not only helps you identify how to increase engagement, it also provides clues on enhancing training design.
For instance, Longstreet’s team mines its LMS data to determine how learners are interacting with their learning assets. Based on this data, Longstreet’s team has been able to determine which types of assets are resonating with its audiences. They learned microlearning assets (such as short videos) have high engagement levels; however, promotional video “trailers” for those assets do not. Based on this information, Choice Hotels International can allocate its training budget to the types of assets that its learners are more likely to use and appreciate best—and avoid spending time and money on assets that don’t provide value.
In addition, Choice Hotels International uses Vimeo data to determine if learners are watching whole videos or if/when/why/how they are dropping off early. Based on this data, Longstreet’s team identified how to improve training design to drive learner engagement. Among its findings, the team realized the need to:
- Capture learner attention faster.
- Keep assets between three to five minutes as much as possible—and avoid assets over 20 minutes.
- Write scripts that are “very singularly focused.”
3. Improve Performance
In addition to mining data to improve learner engagement and experiences, you can compare business analytics to learner analytics for clues to improve performance. For example, when a hotel performs poorly (e.g., poor customer ratings, low ‘likelihood to recommend’ scores), a business process consultant pulls LMS reports to determine if the hotel staff is engaged in the learning environment.
By analyzing LMS data through the lens of business performance data, Choice Hotels International identified a direct correlation between hotel performance and hotel engagement in its learning environment. Preliminary results suggest hotel properties with higher training content completion levels also earn higher guest satisfaction survey scores. So, those who use the LMS perform well, and those who do not perform poorly. This finding has motivated Longstreet’s team to implement initiatives that help drive learner engagement.
How Can You Use Learning Data?
Even if your team is not staffed with a business analyst, you can still use learning data from a variety of sources—your LMS, Google Analytics, Vimeo, and others—to increase learner engagement, enhance training design, and improve performance. As you begin to put data mining processes in place, you’ll find that the more data you mine, the more useful information you’ll find.
- Using LMS Data to Improve Performance at Choice Hotels International [Telephone interview]. (2018, March 21).