Now that your e-learning program is up and running, you’ve evaluated it, made changes, and the organization loves it. Can you sit back and relax? Absolutely not. Your e-learning program requires a constant eye on various areas to ensure that nothing goes off track. One tiny flaw can create large problems, and with large problems comes a loss of users. Organizations have made the mistake of letting the e-learning program “ride”, only to find that one day no one is using it. Let’s discuss how you can monitor your program at all times.
First, continue to monitor user data. This data includes the evaluations that you’ve taken the time to create and integrate. But remember to monitor at a deeper level than the evaluations. Are your user numbers up or down? Are the evaluations themselves changing in trend or tone? For example, a course evaluation that was consistently a 5 on a 5-point scale that moves to a consistent 4 is not exactly failing – but is it as good as it once was? You can also see from this type of data if your audience is growing and becoming more sophisticated. If so, you should consider going back to the modification stage to grow with the audience. Be sure to look at the tests that accompany your online courses, as well. Are certain items being missed or skipped on a regular basis? Those items can point to a poorly written question or a malfunction in the interactivity of the item.
Next, be sure to look at your system data. One of the often-forgotten pieces of data for LM Systems is, believe it or not, cost. Once the budget is entered, billing for certain things on an LMS becomes automatic. Be sure that someone is looking at cost for upward trends. For example, the number of users may drop to a point where each one costs more. Or, higher bandwidth use may begin costing the organization more in terms of the overall communications cost. Don’t let the cost get away from you.
Another way to look at system data is to find out how many technical troubleshooting calls are made. Whether you are taking calls internally or sending them out to the vendor, you should be able to monitor both number and subject. If users begin showing problems with course access, for example, you may need to tweak your instructions. Whatever the issues, your call information should be able to help you categorize and identify potential opportunities. Also, take a look at the transcripts or records that are being kept by the system. Are learners barely scraping by or are they all making high grades? Are learners being added to the system quick enough to get them going while they are still interested? This information can be monitored on a regular basis and can give you a great deal of insight into your e-learning delivery system.
Course data is also an important monitoring point. You can look at evaluations regularly to see if courses are appropriate. But be sure to compare courses to each other. In other words, what common characteristics are shared between the courses that are being used more often? Do you have a high number of users on required courses only, while job or promotion-related courses are being ignored? Remember that a course evaluation is only going to occur when someone takes that course. Use the data that you can mine from your delivery system to make comparisons – and to make changes to course offerings as needed.
Finally, don’t forget to monitor the training staff. It’s easy to assume that once the program is up and running the staff will have less to do. This is a common misconception with e-learning programs. As much as we would like the program to run itself, it just won’t happen. Is the administrator spending too much time on clerical tasks, like creating course “shells” or entering course descriptions? If so, consider bringing in an assistant. Are course content designers consistently making changes and taking those changes to the graphic designers? Or is there time to turn a course content designer into a combined content and graphics person? Can your marketing be taken over by someone who resides within the training organization? All of these questions will help you monitor your staff and make changes in order to keep things efficient.
An effective e-learning program saves money and time and creates an effective platform to educate the workforce. When you follow these seven steps, you’ll have a guideline to creating the best e-learning program possible.