How to Improve Online Training Content Consumption

Man with computer screen reflecting on his face
Daniel Quick
April 21, 2021

If you ever feel that you’re creating a whole lot of online training content and struggling to understand the response you’re getting, you’re far from alone. In fact, according to our 2021 State of Customer Education report, 43% of our audience are still struggling to measure the impact of their learning and training initiatives, with no change from last year.

In response to this challenge, our CEO Barry Kelly sat down with Maria Manning-Chapman, VP of Education Services Research at TSIA, to talk about the training content consumption conundrum in more detail, and provide some actionable advice on how you can address it for your own customer education programs. If you missed the event, here are your highlights!

What customer education online training data should I be tracking?

Even if you can’t do anything else at all, Chapman recommends you “start by getting your arms around who is consuming and who isn’t.” This can be split into three pools of penetration rate data, getting progressively more specific. First, your install base penetration rate is a simple ratio. If you look at all of the companies who have bought your product, who has consumed training and who has not?

Next, look at the accounts that you manage. Consider each company that has bought your product, and work out the potential number of people in each account who could be consuming learning content. Then look at the percentage of that number who actually are. If you have a team of 10 people at the company that purchased your product, for example, and only 1 or 2 are consuming your training, what would you do if those advocates or active learners left the company? You have an opportunity there to engage the remaining 8, and therefore to extend your reach and secure your position.

Lastly, get more focused and look at individual penetration rates. Zero in on individual online training content consumption patterns, such as how long each user spends on your materials, when they drop off, which courses they are completing, and where they are showing signs of friction or increased learner engagement.

The value of creating online training content consumption thresholds for customer education

On this individual level, you also want to be able to categorize your learners into active, under-active, or non-active consumers, a process that only 19% of our webinar audience is currently tracking. It’s easy to track a non-consumer of course, but the difference between active and under-consumers can be more complicated.

Many companies end up choosing an arbitrary number of hours or frequency of online training content that a learner has to cross in order to be considered active, but picking a threshold out of thin air won’t help you to create better customer training outcomes.

Instead, look at the journey in reverse. What outcomes are you looking to create as a result of training your customers? Examples could be customer retention, subscriptions, and renewals, customer satisfaction, or ticket deflection. Once you know which impact metric you’re using, you can then work out how many hours of customer training, and what frequency of training is necessary to increase the likelihood of the desired results on that metric. For example, you might find that five hours of training at least once every two weeks increases the chance of that customer renewing their subscription. If that’s your goal, you now have the threshold with which to measure an active consumer.

Remember, it’s not about ignoring the active consumers, as needs will change over time. Once you have categorized your learners though, you can create alternate learning paths or materials for active and under-active consumers, to help channel both groups towards greater depth, respectively.

“It takes a village to get everyone consuming”

We love this quote from Chapman, which explains why it’s so important to collect online training content data that can be valuable across different departments, and allow different stakeholders to access customer education data, something which is not yet a common practice. She continues with a great example of exactly this:

“Think about a support agent, who is working with a customer. If they had access to your training records, suddenly they have better insight and can say ‘Hey this is someone who has taken some training, they aren’t at ground zero – let’s up the conversation.’ Similarly, if they know that this is someone who hasn’t taken any training, there’s an opportunity to recommend a specific course, or say ‘check out our learning portal’.”

This is about more than simply what online training content data to collect and who to give it to. When it comes to actively driving consumption in your users, this also needs to be considered cross-departmentally, and even cross-organizationally.

By sending your accounts the right data about their consumption, for example, Chapman comments you may even be able to get their internal managers to do some of the leg work on your behalf. You may find that with this information in front of them, managers will encourage team members to engage more with your educational content and training, or individuals will feel motivated to learn more themselves.

Ready to create a strategy for measuring online training content consumption?

Without knowing how your learners are interacting with your content, it can feel a lot like shouting into a void. Measuring online training content consumption is your route to creating more targeted education and training materials, supporting stakeholders across the organization, and effectively enabling your learners to ultimately get more value out of your product.

Want to learn more about how you can access and benefit from this kind of learner data? We’ve just scratched the surface! The full webinar includes:

  • The most valuable and the most popular technology integrations to rely on for collecting actionable learner data. (Spoiler alert: They aren’t the same)
  • Slides that present real-world examples of online training content consumption data dashboards for accounts and individuals.
  • The most impactful ways to share this data with your users, and across your organization.

Get in on the conversation by watching the full webinar, here.

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