Unlike a printed book, or providing a simple PDF of material, the eBook has a distinct advantage in that it allows for data analytics. Since the book is read within a an eReader it is possible to measure the activity of learners
An eBook allows for the collection of engagement data whenever and wherever the learner is studying. The granularity can offer detail never seen before in a print environment, such as: search terms, most read pages, most engaged with chapters, where learners are studying from, what devices are most popular and much more.
This is not an attempt to spy on individuals – indeed the actions of one individual provide little interesting information. However, the data from groups of learners can provide significant data on their actions and more importantly give real insight into the course material and the level of engagement and effectiveness
Benefits of Analytics
One of the key benefits of using analytics to improve employee training is that it identifies what is working and what is not. For example, analytics can be used to identify if many delegates are struggling with a training topic. You will know if you need to revise a part of the training. This increases the effectiveness training.
Identifying hot topics and key search phrases could generate potential new courses to add to your provision or areas of study that are of interest to the delegate
Analytics can also lower costs by increasing efficiency. By revising or removing segments that are not adding value to the learner's experience, you can improve the overall ROI of the training program.
And finally, and maybe most importantly, by having concrete data on the delegate it is possible to demonstrate to the budget holder the effectiveness of the training.
What to Measure – Kirkpatrick model
The most popular model for evaluating training is the Kirkpatrick model*, which looks at four levels. The reaction level is about the learner’s initial response and feelings to the course. The learning level is about measuring how much knowledge learners are gaining and retaining. The behaviour level is where you measure knowledge application and the result level is about the overall impact and ROI.
Whilst the eBook data has a contribution to the results level, it is in the reaction level and learning level that it has most to contribute. The metrics therefore to focus on are
- Completion Rates:
Completion rates can give you a lot more information than you would think. For starters, you can see if employees are actually completing any assigned or mandatory training that is needed for compliance purposes.
Low completion rates may be a sign that employees are struggling with certain concepts or low engagement. High completion rates indicate that learners are invested in training and more likely to retain and apply what they have learned. This metric is a good starting point for determining both employee’s initial reaction to the program and how much they are learning.
- Time Spent Training
Tracking the time spent training can help you determine how engaged learners are in the program. If employees are completing the training too quickly it could indicate that they are simply clicking through the program and are not engaged.
A great way to find out how participants feel about the training program is by asking. This can be done in a number of ways but some of the most common methods are surveys, asking employees to rate their satisfaction and ask for comments.
This information is incredibly useful when you are trying to pinpoint a particular problem that you can't figure out with quantitative data.
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*Donald Kirkpatrick, former Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, first published his model in 1959. He updated it in 1975, and again in 1993, when he published his best-known work, "Evaluating Training Programs."