Thursday, April 17, 2008

Is Your ELearing Engaging - Web Analytics

Presentation: Analyze This: Is your elearning truly engaging
Presenter: Ryan Sparks, Care2Learn

How we can use existing software to measure engagement

Google Analytics (free)
Google tool (cost) - dependent upon firewall

Basis of Web Analytics
- Tracks how people arrive at a website and what they do when they arrive
- Bounce rate: percentage of single page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page
+ In courseware - will typically apply to the first page of the course.
- Exit Rate - the percentage of exits that occur from a page
- Conversion - Occurs when a visitor reaches a goal (last page, quiz completions, pdf download)
+ Think about what page goals you wish to measure

(issue for me - the LMS will already measure these things in our courses. May be more useful for the independent web pages)
I had given directions earlier on how to add Google Analytics to Blogger. Go to the Google Analytics site for more information on installing the tool on your website.

Understanding the data
- Daily visitors
- Top 5
- Average visitor time
- Average visitor depth
- Geographic distribution of visitors
- Average visitor bounce rate (single-page visits)

Add filters (to increase validity of date)
- Get rid of own access to course
- Get rid of instructional designers/developers updating content.

Things to ask
- Are the students interacting extensively with the course or just leaving the browser window open?
- Activities require a minimum amount of time being completed?
- What percentage are burning though the course?

Content
- Is it most visited because -
+ Way course is structured?
+ Most paths to that page?
+ The content most useful, engaging, accurate?

(Left since I did not need this for my corporate situation)

2 comments:

Dan Spellman said...

Wendy: Good post. Understanding the metrics seems to be a universal problem. While there are a number of us who enjoy working through the data in order to reach meaningful analytics, this love is not shared by everyone. Helping the "business owners" to better understand which metrics are meaningful and how to leverage them, is the first step to improving your website. I recently posted a blog regarding measuring your bounce rate that you may find interesting ( http://spellman.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/04/how-high-can-yo.html ).

Michael Hanley said...

Hi Wendy,
Your post taps into something that is on most serious bloggers minds:
How can I focus on topics that are important to me while still engaging a wide audience, particularly in specialised areas such as e-learning?

I use a wide and pretty ramshackle set of trackers (but works for me). Each of these records a different set of metrics. I use

- Google Analytics
- Feedburner
- Icerocket
- StatCounter (my favourite / most granular / most comprehensive dataset / also Irish, just a coincidence that I am too!)
- MyBlogLog

Most of these allow you to block your own IP address(es) so that you're not skewing the data.

In my experience, there are two broad groups of blog users, which I shall (with tongue firmly in cheek) call the quick and the dead, or those who comment / provide feedback, and those who choose, passively, to read only.

Contributors are great - they tell you what you're doing well (and not so well). Usually though, they're passionate about the topic you're posting about and are motivated to respond and join the debate (like me right now).

"Passivists" are the majority of course, and their viewing behaviour throws up some real surprises in my view. For example, I recently finished a series of about 20 posts on the subject of Constructivism in E-learning. A bit worthy maybe, a little dry and academic, I would have thought.

But enter "the three principles of constructivism" or "elearning non-formal" into Google and there's my E-Learning Curve blog on page 1 (I pulled those search terms from StatCounter's Keyword Analysis).

Equally, some more topical notes I posted on Recession and the challenges to E-Learning is right up there too.

As a blogger, that's fantastic - it enables me to "see" my audience in a way I would never have been able to do without these tools.

Anyway, best of luck exploring tracking tools to meet your needs.