It may feel like the phrase “Big Data” hasn’t been in the headlines as much as it was a few years ago, but that’s only because it’s now a mainstream concept instead of being something new. Despite this, there are surprisingly few companies who are really making the most of big data. It’s a shame, because with so many rich sources available to companies of all sizes, nearly every aspect of a business can benefit from making good use of data. In this article, I’ll describe some ways big data informs eLearning, if leveraged correctly.

How Big Data Informs eLearning

Where to Find it

Many companies have turned to a variety of web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions in multiple departments of the business, from recruitment and talent management to customer service and support, human resources, finance and accounting, marketing and advertising, business intelligence, sales, and so on. Each one of these software solutions produces mountains of data – and it can be used to enhance your company’s training and learning programs. This is really a golden opportunity because businesses have simply never had as much data at their fingertips as they do now. Think about it this way: Your company’s training and learning programs are meant to better equip your workers for real-world situations on the job, so it makes perfect sense to use the data generated by the tools used in the real-world operation of your company to inform your eLearning efforts. Carpe diem ~ Seize the day!

Connecting Big Data to eLearning

Think about all the data generated by interactions with customers. Inside that data set are all kinds of issues that could result in targeted eLearning programs targeted at better performance for your sales and marketing teams. Analyzing this data could reveal customer needs and wants that aren’t being adequately met by your product or service, or because of a lack of knowledge on the part of employees. This is one of the chief ways big data informs eLearning: It can reveal the gaps in current performance to be addressed by fresh, engaging eLearning content.

Analysis of customer interaction data can also be informative for your marketing and advertising employees. Transcripts of interactions with existing and prospective customers reveals the way they talk about their needs as well as your brand and solutions you offer. If you want your marketing and advertising content to be as on-target as possible, use this customer data to inform your copy by having it mirror the way people actually talk about and describe the relevant topics. You can also mine this data for the kinds of keywords and phrases you should be using in your content.

Examination of data around safety compliance might reveal how employees seem to frequently violate particular protocols. Knowing that this is something covered in your new hire orientation training, you can then take a look at your training content to find out where it needs to be improved in order to create better outcomes.

Use it to Improve eLearning

If your company uses a learning management system (LMS) to administer and track eLearning programs, remember to use the big data it generates to inform and improve your training and learning efforts moving forward. Contained within all that LMS data are valuable insights into learner preferences. Use that data to design and deliver the kind of content your learners want, how they want it and when they want it. The more you can personalize your eLearning programs to learner preferences, the better the outcomes you’ll achieve.

If your learners have plenty of feedback opportunities about your eLearning content, you’ll be able to easily identify these preferences directly. If not, you can still identify them indirectly when you analyze the data and see patterns such as low completion rates for particular courses and modules. If the cause of low engagement isn’t immediately apparent, you may have to take the extra step of surveying your learners to get to the bottom of what’s happening to find out how it can be addressed.

The Big Picture of Big Data for eLearning

As you can see, the possibilities are endless when it comes to harnessing the power of big data to inform your eLearning efforts. Use it to discover and address performance gaps in every department of your company, including your training and learning programs themselves. For most companies, the data is there – it just needs to be leveraged in ways that lead to better eLearning, better performance, and better business results for your company’s bottom line.

It should also be clear how invaluable having the right learning management system (LMS) is to getting the most out of big data as it applies directly to your learning and training programs. The eLeaP LMS was designed to not only deliver eLearning results through its powerful set of features, but also to do so in way that is more user-friendly than most of the hundreds of LMS options on the market today. According to software review site Capterra, eLeaP is in the top 10 of most user-friendly LMS platforms. It’s a web-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) LMS available 24/7/365 from any device with an Internet connection and web browser, which gives you and your learners easy access whenever and wherever they want it. Sign up for a free 30-day trialto see what eLeaP can do for you, including a library of 850+ training videoson a wide range of business topics.