Learning Analytics Dimensions: Learner Analysis


Welcome to our fourth installment exploring results from our Learning Analytics Research Study and what they mean in practice. This week, we’re diving into the dimensions under the Learner categories. (We’ll pick up the Learning Program and Learning Experience categories in our next posts.)

Learner Category Dimensions

Learner analytics means looking at learning data from the perspective of what people are doing and how they are performing. We identified five dimensions under this category:

  1. Person: comparing individual learners

  2. Group: comparing different groups of people (e.g. different parts of an organization)

  3. Location: comparing based on the location of people, either at the point the learning happened or their usual work/office locations (see the following image)

  4. Instructor: comparing different instructors, especially for instructor-led training (ILT) (e.g. learner ratings from surveys)

  5. Behavior: comparing groups based on their behaviors (e.g. comparing sales figures of people who completed a course against those who did not complete a course)

For example, this report shows logins by location over time:

Watershed logins over time

Views by Learner Dimension

When we looked at the number of reports and report views for these dimensions, we found that most reports in the learner dimension are organized by person (72% view share) with a few organized by group or location (13% each). (See the following pie chart.)

Views by Learner Dimension

Based on our research, one reason why reports organized by person are popular is because they allow direct-line managers to see how specific groups of learners performed on various e-learning courses and assessments. And, reports targeted at these managers are more likely to get a higher number of views than reports designed for L&D or senior managers simply because there are normally more line managers looking at these reports.

Interestingly, even though location and group have similar view shares according to the following bar chart, only 39 reports are organized by location, compared to 355 reports organized by group. This suggests that perhaps reports comparing location may be underutilized by report creators and could be popular amongst report viewers if made available—as these reports can help viewers identify how well learners in certain locations are performing or how active learners are by location.


Actionable Insights!

Here are two actions you can take away from this learning analytics blog post:

  1. Encourage line managers to stay engaged by providing less-generalized, more-targeted reports about their respective team members.

  2. Consider using reports comparing people in different locations. These reports may get more traffic than you think.

Up Next: The Learning Program Category

Next week we’ll start to explore the different dimensions within the Learning Program category. We’ve identified learning programs to be the most popular reported on category, so make sure not to miss this one. Sign up for Watershed Insights now!

What types of learning analytics are you using?

Download this checklist to start tracking the analytics you already have in place and where you’d like to go next.

Learning Analytics Checklist

Andrew Downes

About The Author

As one of the authors of xAPI, Andrew Downes has years of expertise in data-driven learning design. With a background in instructional design and development, he’s well versed in creating learning experiences and platforms in corporate and academic environments.