We’ve explored several concepts about blended learning, and now we’ll show you what they look like in practice. In this post, we discuss data capture strategies for blended learning activities that aren’t initiated by the L&D team—including xAPI, data connectors, self-reporting, observation, and more.
1) Track learning with xAPI.
If possible, the easiest way to track learning is to embed xAPI tracking into the learning experience so you can use data to improve the content and monitor learner engagement. This method is ideal for materials you’ve created and any systems you control.
For instance, you can observe anything the learner does—such as more innovative learning experiences like games or simulated job tasks that put learning into practice. You can even track VR training experiences.
xAPI brings data from your LMS, apps, social platforms, classroom training, and real-world activities together in one system to create comprehensive reports.
2) Use a data connector.
When dealing with software you don't have control over, you'll need to deploy a data connector—an application that extracts data from the product providing the learning experience and sends it to a Learning Record Store (LRS).
Services like Zapier can connect to various applications (e.g. Salesforce, Slack, Twitter, GitHub, and Trello) to your LRS, ensuring seamless data integration.
3) Make assumptions based on other activities.
While some informal learning experiences—such as conversations between colleagues, online searches, or web-based tutorials—are challenging to track directly, you can make assumptions by monitoring related activities.
For example, tracking students swiping their ID cards as they enter the library can provide insight into the relationship between student engagement and library usage.
By analyzing this data, you can measure learner engagement effectively.
4) Self-report your learning experiences.
Learners can report their own learning experiences, which is helpful for training opportunities that may not be readily available or accessible to most learners.
For instance, a company provides an xAPI bookmarklet that lets people to record websites they find helpful. And some product providers offer apps that allow learners to record and share real-world experiences via photographs, audio recordings, or video.
It’s essential to consider learner motivation when using this approach, as some may want to maintain a personal history of professional development. In contrast, others want to share their experiences with others.
5) Observe training and on-the-job performance.
In specific industries—like healthcare, aviation, and construction—managers commonly observe learners' job performance to provide valuable feedback.
Using observation checklist applications, you can easily track real-world learning experiences, assess job performance, and rate learners on specific tasks and competencies. This practice ensures accurate data capture and facilitates targeted improvements.
Up Next: Prioritize L&D Initiatives
In our next post, we’ll show you how learning from data can help you identify blended learning activities. And sign up for Watershed Insights to receive L&D industry updates, helpful advice, and more!
About the author
As a co-author of xAPI, Andrew has been instrumental in revolutionizing the way we approach data-driven learning design. With his extensive background in instructional design and development, he’s an expert in crafting engaging learning experiences and a master at building robust learning platforms in both corporate and academic environments. Andrew’s journey began with a simple belief: learning should be meaningful, measurable, and, most importantly, enjoyable. This belief has led him to work with some of the industry’s most innovative organizations and thought leaders, helping them unlock the true potential of their learning strategies. Andrew has also shared his insights at conferences and workshops across the globe, empowering others to harness the power of data in their own learning initiatives.
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