We’ve explored several concepts about distributed learning, and now we’ll show you what they look like in practice. In this post, we discuss data capture strategies for distributed learning activities that aren’t initiated by the L&D team—including Experience API, data connectors, self-reporting, observation, and more.
1) Track with xAPI
If possible, the easiest way to track learning is to embed xAPI tracking into the experience itself so you can use data to improve content and monitor engagement. This method is ideal for materials you’ve created and any systems you control.
2) Use a Connector
For software you don’t control, you may need to deploy a connector—an application that pulls data from the product providing the experience and sends it to a Learning Record Store (LRS). Services, such as Zapier, that connect to applications (e.g., Salesforce, Slack, Twitter, GitHub, Trello, etc.) to your LRS.
3) Make Assumptions
Some informal learning experiences may be difficult to track directly, but we may be able to track and make assumptions about another activity that’s related to the experience we want to track.
For example, we could track students swiping their ID cards as they enter the library to measure the relationship between student engagement and using the library to study. Most likely, there’s a strong connection between library entry and library use, which makes the data relevant for measuring engagement.
Learners can report their own learning experiences, which is useful for opportunties that may not be readily available or accessible to most learners.
For instance, a company provides a bookmarklet that enables 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 important to consider learner motivation when using this approach, as some may want to maintain a personal history of professional development, while others want to share their experiences with others.
Some professionals—such as managers and trainers—may be asked to observe someone’s learning and job performance to provide valuable feedback.
And tools, such as a checklist application, allow observers to easily track real-world learning experience, assess job performance, and even rate learners on certain tasks and competencies.
Up Next: Prioritize L&D Activities
In our next post, we’ll show you how learning from data can help you identify distributed learning activities. And sign up for Watershed Insights to receive L&D industry updates, helpful advice, and more!
How are you tracking L&D data?
Use this worksheet to find how data is being captured and identify areas that may need new data capture strategies.