5 Considerations for Measuring Online Learning Effectiveness

Today, we live in an era where most companies are able to provide flexible learning and training options for their employees. Micro-credentials, nanodegrees, online courses, learning management systems (LMS), and other forms of online learning have made it possible to accurately pinpoint skills gaps and deliver just-in-time training at scale. Moreover, learning online gives learners the flexibility to go through the courses at their own pace and comfort.

While this is convenient, the big question remains: how do we measure the effectiveness of online learning?

Measuring the effectiveness of online learning in your organisation helps you to strategise and design future courses, improve on the current courses you are facilitating, and build a case for shareholders to keep investing in active learning for the development of your organisation. All of these require informed data to back up your leadership decisions.

The good news is that data is easy to collect. However, one of the biggest challenges in measuring online learning effectiveness lies in organising that data in useful ways. In this article, we will highlight five main challenges that you may face and how to overcome them so that your data makes sense.


Challenge 1: Setting clear goals

You will need a clear picture of what a successful online learning module is for your organisation before you can identify the right data to look for. It is important to tie your data to the goals you have set. 

For example, if your training goal is to implement a consistent communication style across your organisation, you may track completion rates as well as the accuracy of learners’ responses during the training. This data will inform you if your employees were able to apply what they have learned. If the majority of them did not complete the training or fulfill the requirements, then this data tells you how you need to re-design your course to tackle the issue at hand. 

💡Read more: Here is a checklist of assessment criteria for online courses that may be helpful.


Challenge 2: Choosing the right kind of data

From the number of enrolments to the total time spent within a course, there are many kinds of data that can be collected in an online course. Determine the kinds of data that you need to measure the success of the course, so that you can design your course activities to collect the data needed.

On the OpenLearning platform, you can add outcome tags to specific activities which enables you to measure the achievement of learning outcomes in your course. At the end of the module or course, you can arrange learners’ work by tags and assess the achievement of each outcome. You might also choose to use this platform feature in creative ways, such as in this social tagging activity. It is a good idea to design your course with data collection in mind so that you are able to choose which data to collect to measure the effectiveness of the course.


Challenge 3: Ensuring the accuracy of your data

The accuracy of an assessment is only as good as the data collected. Some learners may be less willing to share their dissatisfaction for fear that it will affect their performance review, or they might even get on the wrong side of their superiors. Thus, it is important to build a safe space and instill trust in the learners to encourage them to provide honest feedback that produces accurate data collection.

For example, you can inform the learners that their feedback will be kept anonymous and their honesty will contribute to the improvement of the training and overall development of your organisation. Clarify and state clearly how the data will be used. This will assure them that they will not get into trouble for being honest.


Challenge 4: Connect learning with your organisational goals

You cannot measure the effectiveness of online courses if you do not consider the impact that training has on your organisation. Your ultimate training goals must always be aligned with your organisational goals. 

For example, if your organisational goal is to increase monthly sales of a new product, data collection on your employees’ completion rate of the training is not sufficient. Consider tracking their knowledge of the new product through learning activities such as elevator pitches or practical product demos. You might also track the sales record of the new product and make a comparison of before and after training. Here is an article that presents a useful method to design and align your online course with your organisational goals.


Challenge 5: Analysing the data

While data collection may be automated, data analysis remains a manual labour. The statistics will only make sense if they are analysed according to your goals. If you are using an online learning platform like OpenLearning, you will automatically have access to data that would be more than sufficient to get you started.

For example, you can easily access data about how many learners have signed up for the course, or which pages they spent the most time on, or even which activities they’ve completed. You can select how you would like the data to be sorted to assist in your data analysis process. Reports can be generated in the form of charts and diagrams where you can immediately know the sign-up rate, the demographics of the learners, and their progress. As you make sense of the data collected, you’ll be able to make small improvements to the standard of your course — such as optimising activities that are less engaging, or experimenting further with pages that learners are spending more time on.


Calculate your online learning & training ROI

Based on our experience in the EdTech sector, we understand the critical importance of optimising your programs for maximum impact. At OpenLearning, we're committed to empowering organisations to achieve tangible results through informed decision-making.

Our AI-powered learning management system (LMS) goes beyond traditional solutions, providing a comprehensive platform for enhancing your programs.

To ensure you're maximising the potential of your initiatives, we've developed a simple process to calculate your ROI:

  1. Share Your Requirements: Complete our short form with your needs and objectives.
  2. Expert Analysis: Our team will analyse the information you provide, taking into account industry best practices and tailored solutions.
  3. Tailored ROI Report: Expect a personalised report in your inbox, outlining actionable insights and recommendations based on your unique requirements.

Ready to take the next steps? Complete our ROI calculation form and we'll guide you through the process.

📱 Free resource: Start using our free ROI calculator today.



Measuring the effectiveness of online learning begins at the course design stage, underscoring the importance of employing the right tools from the outset. Fortunately, these tools are readily accessible through Learning Management Systems (LMS) and online learning platforms like OpenLearning. For a deeper dive into how our platform can improve your online teaching and learning experience, we invite you to explore our 30-day free trial.



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Topics: Course Design Tips Employee Training and Onboarding

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