Measuring engagement in mandatory courses

I recently read the LinkedIn 2020 Workplace Learning Report and was surprised to see 24% of L&D pros globally do not measure learner engagement based on online usage data. Measuring learner engagement has always been a tough nut to crack but I am a strong advocate that measuring it is crucial.

This goes hand-in-hand with my belief that the L&D team should act like a team of researchers; before attempting to produce any training they should first understand what learners are struggling with just as much as they should understand the patterns of their everyday job. Understanding how and when people are learning is important to make sure not just the content is personalised but delivery as well, which therefore drives engagement.

This brings me to the various ways of measuring engagement that are used. Going back to the LinkedIn Report, the most used are:

  1. Course completion
  2. Learner satisfaction surveys
  3. Minutes of learning per month
  4. Repeat visits per month

Over the last decade L&D has become so much more than just compliance training. However, despite the subject matter, we must ensure our learners are engaged – even with the mandatory modules they’re less inclined to take. A large number of the organisations I work with rely on digital learning for mandatory compliance training, and do not consider other subject matters such as soft skills. However, metrics like the above will not paint an accurate picture of compliance training. So, how do we measure engagement when we are talking about mandatory learning?

I suggest looking at metrics like ‘how long did it take the learner to go through the course?’ If it’s taking your learner a few days to complete a course, it suggests attention is being dragged away from the learning at hand and therefore indicates low engagement. Equally just clicking through the slides mindlessly to reach the quiz also indicates of low engagement.

Next would count ‘how many attempts at the quiz (if applicable) did it take before achieving a pass score?’ This works for all courses, but it is a particular favourite tactic of mine for newly introduced modules, where learning is fresh. It is a great way to see whether your course managed to deliver content in a memorable way.

Last but not least, ‘how close to the deadline are the learners taking the course?’ You could argue this is backward looking but if your eLearning is engaging and relevant learners will not leave it to the very last minute (and potentially only completing it after a few nudges from senior management).

I hope this blog helps you in measuring success of mandatory learning, and if you want to discuss your corporate learning needs, please do get in touch.


Ilinca Budeanu

Business Dev Manager

Contact Ilinca