Blog Post

How to Use LMS Data to Personalize Learning and Development

Allayjah Meredith
July 9, 2024
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Whether you work for a fast-growing business or a well-established one, you probably leverage data analysis. From observing market changes to developing risk profiles and cost-benefit analyses, data helps you learn from the past so you can influence the future.

There’s no question these analytics have power. But, do they have a place in learning and development?

You bet.

Every learner has unique skills, challenges, and ambitions. To nurture and develop that talent, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. Personalization is the name of the game—and L&D teams can play that game using their own brand of analytics: LMS data. 

Wondering what LMS data is, what metrics are useful to track, and how to leverage that data within your L&D function? Read on to find out.

What Is an LMS?

A learning management system (LMS) is a software tool that allows you to create, host, and deliver learning content at scale. If you’ve ever built a course, certification, or training series with the help of authoring tools, odds are you’ve used an LMS before. LMS platforms significantly cut down on administrative upkeep by hosting all your educational content in one convenient place.

Why Is LMS Data Important?

LMS platforms help you create and host educational content—but that’s only half the battle. To know whether the education you’re providing is effective, you need data to prove it. When looking for the right LMS features, it’s important to prioritize an LMS that supports detailed reporting and data analysis.

With LMS data, you can: 

  • Learn whether your audience is engaging with your content.
  • Develop learner personas that reflect the diversity of your audience.
  • Modify your learning content to make it more engaging and accessible.
  • Personalize your content to speak to each learner’s unique interests or needs.
  • Tie L&D efforts to business ROI and prove the value of your learning program.

By taking a data-driven approach to L&D, you can capitalize on your education program’s biggest successes—and turn “failure” into a stepping stone for future wins.

Benefits of LMS Data Analytics

If we didn’t sell it enough earlier, LMS data is crucial to your L&D efforts. 

According to our 2024 Customer Education Benchmarks & Trends report—in which we commissioned Forrester to survey 300 education leaders at the director level or above—80% of high-success organizations consider “access to multiple types of data” important to running a successful customer education program. 

That was the top response, outranking answers such as “mobile accessibility,” “platform scalability,” and even “content creation support.” Think about that: Educators consider the availability of data more important than having top-of-the-line creation or scalability tools.

Why is LMS data so coveted? Here are four compelling reasons:

1. Personalize with greater precision.

Every L&D team wants to create effective education that provides value. But doing so takes time, capital, and expertise. As you probably know well, all three can be tough to come by—especially when budgets are tight and bandwidth is low.

Yet, having less doesn’t have to equate to doing less. If anything, LMS data becomes more valuable when resources are limited, because you can use that data to ensure every bit of content you create matters. 

How? You use data to personalize your training to the exact needs and goals of your audience. If you’re building a product certification, you might use customer education metrics (e.g., CSAT, course completion rates) to identify which areas of your product clients struggle with most. If you’re developing internal training, you can leverage employee training statistics to align each employee’s learning with their career goals. 

Back your personalization with learning analytics, and you help ensure no piece of content goes to waste.

2. Engage your audience more easily.

If you shudder at the sight of a slide deck, you wouldn’t be the first. While traditional presentations have their use cases, they’re often used as a catch-all solution for corporate communication and training. And as any L&D expert can attest to, learners are not a monolith.

To modernize training and avoid the “death by PowerPoint” effect, educators must extend beyond the lecture-and-slide style of delivering information. If you’re including text on a page, you can vary up the content by introducing the following:

  • Visuals (infographics, photos, etc.)
  • Interactive media (quizzes, sliders, etc.) 
  • Video clips, GIFs, and other multimedia

(Great news: Intellum’s inline authoring tool, Evolve, allows you to create all these interactive elements and more!) 

LMS data analytics can help you understand how your audience likes to learn—so you can serve up the right materials at the right time. For instance, if your clients are showing stronger engagement rates with videos than with written courses, it may be an indicator for you to invest more heavily in multimedia education.

3. Create more accessible eLearning.

Personalizing content for your audience doesn’t just help with engagement—it also ensures the content you’re producing is accessible to the people you’re trying to reach.

No two people learn the same way. How they process information may vary depending on the topic, medium, or specific learning objective. By understanding each person’s accessibility preferences, you can design content that makes learning a breeze, rather than a chore.

Say you’re building an online training series. As you pilot the series, your LMS data may show that a portion of your learners struggled to process abstract material but excelled when the content applied real-world concepts. To make this training more accessible, you could build a self-serve motion where learners choose their preferred path. Or, you could segment your audience and design modular content that offers catered education to each segment’s needs.

4. Prove the ROI of your program.

You could have a stellar vision for your education curriculum, but without the funding needed to deliver that program, your greatest ideas stay on paper.

LMS data gives you the tools to make a business case for education. By sharing what’s working well—which courses are being completed, which audience segments are engaged, etc.—you can build confidence in your program and secure additional funding. If you have less-engaged learners, pitch how the program could deliver more value to these audiences.

Don’t have a current LMS in place? Start small. Create a minimum viable product for your education curriculum using tools your company already uses, like a content management system (CMS). Measure your efforts with a pilot group, then use those results as a springboard to make the business case for an LMS.

What LMS Data Metrics Should You Track?

With so much LMS data at your disposal, you might ask: Where do I even start?

Whether you’re researching LMS options or looking to optimize your existing data collection, here are three LMS analytics worth tracking:

1. Completion and drop-off data

Usage data is the bread and butter of your LMS analytics. With the right LMS, you can discover which courses learners are completing, which they’re dropping, and how long they’re spending on individual pieces of content. Use this data to understand what content is resonating and what might need some healthy iteration.

2. Engagement scores

Completion rates don’t tell you the whole story. To know whether your audience is truly benefitting from your content, you’ll want an LMS that supports engagement data. If you’re creating a certification for customers, make sure your LMS supports feedback collection through surveys like the CSAT. Even better if your LMS can gather both quantitative feedback (e.g., Likert scores) and qualitative feedback (e.g., open-ended responses).

3. Content preferences

To offer personalized learning journeys, it’s important to understand your audience’s content preferences. Just like how Netflix allows users to give a TV show a thumbs up or thumbs down, consider an LMS that allows learners to rate content they enjoyed or disliked. In doing so, you can offer timely and relevant recommendations based on the person’s role and goals.

Tip: Daunted by the prospect of building out dedicated learning paths? Some education platforms, like Intellum, pair LMS data with AI to make personalized content suggestions based on each person’s learning activity. 

How to Use LMS Data to Personalize Your Education

So, you have an LMS, and you’re tracking the LMS data analytics that matter most. Now, the question becomes: How do you capitalize on that data to provide a best-in-class learning experience?

Here are three steps to get you started:

1. Be transparent about your data.

As with any business intelligence, it’s important to use your data responsibly. Be transparent with your audience about the data you’re collecting. Explain why the data is relevant to the program, and reassure them that you’re only storing information to improve their learning experience. This can help build trust between the organization and its learners.

2. Embrace collaboration.

Analytics alone can only get you so far. Instead of dictating learning plans based on data, make learners a part of the process. If you’re working with employees, share the results and ask them how L&D can provide a more personalized learning path. If you’re creating client education, launch a discussion forum to communicate your curriculum roadmap and invite suggestions. 

Analytics aren’t infallible; having a conversation can provide more nuanced insights that inform the process moving forward. These conversations also empower learners to drive their own learning journey, which can result in greater satisfaction and engagement.

3. Leverage technology.

Analytics technology is developing at a rapid pace. Just look at the emergence of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics. By leveraging these advancements, you can extend the power of LMS data even further. For example, you can use AI to analyze usage data and make changes to recommend learning paths in real time.

Harness the Power of LMS Data With Intellum.

Most L&D teams are comfortable designing content—but far fewer are comfortable poring over spreadsheets of data. With Intellum, you can connect learning data to business outcomes with ease. Build courses, certifications, and other eLearning materials using native authoring tools, then analyze performance from our in-app dashboard. For deeper analysis, use our integrations and robust API to export data to your BI tool of choice.

About the Author

Allayjah Meredith Speaker Headshot
Allayjah Meredith
Learning Experience Designer
Allayjah Meredith is a Learning Experience Designer at Intellum. With 4 years of experience in Learning & Development, she is passionate about insightfully leveraging technology to create captivating learning experiences that solve complex business problems.