How to Collect and Measure Moodle™ Learning Data with an xAPI LRS

By May 29, 2017 No Comments
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This post is authored by Margaret Roth, Chief Business Development Officer at Yet Analytics, provider of the world’s most visual learning record store. Yet’s xAPI LRS collects learning records from across a learning ecosystem. The LRS analytics dashboard measures learning activity, resource use, and engagement, enabling an organization to see the impact of learning investment, evaluate the effectiveness of learning resources, and define an experience graph.

Measuring learning and demonstrating its impact on business outcomes is one of the biggest challenges of modern teaching and learning. Some aspects of learning are easy to measure, like information retention – but others, like content engagement, learning preferences, and collaboration, have traditionally been very difficult to measure accurately  and collect at scale.

Fortunately for today’s L&D teams, new data tools exist to help you get access to not only summative assessment data but ongoing formative, experience-based data. The Experience API, also known as xAPI, is an open data specification for granular, in-the-moment data collection across learning tools. The extra good news for you as a Moodle™ user is that your LMS can already produce xAPI data, with the help of a readily available plugin or two. The ability to launch xAPI activities can be enabled in your Moodle™ site via the free xAPI Launch Link plugin and the ability to produce xAPI statements from across learning activities can be done via the free xAPI Logstore plugin.

You probably already use data from your LMS – but xAPI can provide a new level of detail, allowing for different kinds of measurement and analysis. xAPI also lets you collect data from multiple systems, not just your LMS, so you can run metrics and analysis to quantify the impact of all your learning tools. xAPI data, formatted as experience statements, is collected and stored in a specialized system called a Learning Record Store, or an LRS. Yet’s xAPI-powered LRS also provides visualizations and analytics tools to help you discover meaningful patterns in your learning data and measure the impact of your learning programs.

Measuring Learning Data with Visual Analytics: What You See and What You Get

The Yet xAPI LRS provides many ways to look at and measure learning activity. Here are a few examples of learning metrics and visualizations that are accessible through the Yet xAPI LRS, along with ways to leverage those insights in your learning organization.

Most Used Resources, Most Active Users

We can see how content and course components are being used by learners and what kinds of activity patterns happen when that content is used:

LRS showing most used activities, most active users

Here we are using the LRS visualizations to see which activities are used the most, and who the most active users are.

What you see: Visual overview of most – or least – common users and activities.

What you get: Resource usage statistics – what content is getting accessed most? Engagement data – which users are most or least engaged with learning activities in a given time window?

These kinds of usage statistics can be used to assess which resources are most popular and which are not getting any use, and likewise which learners are most and least engaged. If you’ve got outcomes data like employee performance metrics or post-course evaluations to correlate these usage patterns to, you’ve got a great foundation for demonstrating the ROI of your learning programs with data.

Engagement Over Time

We can compare patterns of resource usage, action, or learner behavior by looking at experience data statements over time:

LRS illustration measuring engagement

Here we are looking at a time series view of resource use and engagement.

Learner engagement and actions over time in the LRS

These visualizations are scoped to show the same time window, but stacked by learner engagement and actions taken. The different views let us see aggregate activity patterns.

What you see: Patterns of engagement over time, by resource, user, and activity.

What you get: Activity patterns – are teams spending learning time working on the same activities at the same time? Do some resources get used on a repeating cycle? When do your team members spend the most time on learning?

With this kind of data visualization, you can start to identify learning cycles and compare activity patterns. Is your sales team cramming the day before a new sales cycle? Are team members learning the same material but never at the same time? These learning patterns and cycles can inform content design, timing, and overall learning strategy for your organization.

Learning Activity Patterns

We can identify patterns of learning activity between individuals and groups by taking a look at the experience graph:

LRS identifying patterns of learning activity

Here at a high level – view on the right – we can see which learners are most active, and we can then also see detail – on the left – about which learning activities were used by multiple team members.

What you see: A network graph of resource usage and activity by learners.

What you get: A visual map of learning activity. Frequency and commonality of activity in particular are very visible in this visualization. Who’s most active? Which patterns of activity are common or uncommon?

The network graph is particularly interesting because it reveals the experience graph of your organization’s learning activity. With this data view, you can see what activities and activity patterns are shared across individuals and groups. In particular, seeing how this graph changes over time and how different learners’ experience graphs compare can provide real insight into how your organization is learning at an individual and group level.

Apply Learning Data to Improve Your Business Outcomes

The more digital tools we use as an organization, the more data we all create – but the value of that data is trapped until we can get access to it. By connecting Moodle™ LMS to the Yet xAPI LRS, we are able to see and leverage the patterns in our learning data. All of these visualization tools exist to empower you as the learning and talent experts to explore the granular experience data captured by your LMS and other learning tools, and apply the analysis you conduct to improve your learning and development programs.

Granular experience data from across learning tools gives workforce and  talent development teams the ability to explore patterns in not just final summative assessment but in the ongoing experience of learning. L&D teams can know in real time which resources are getting used, which team members are most engaged with learning content, and identify patterns of learning behavior among teams and individuals.

Ultimately, all this data and analysis is only useful when we apply it back to improve learning programs, support team members, and improve business outcomes. As a learning and development leader already using Moodle™, achieving those goals with xAPI-powered insights are just a plug-in away.


Interested in learning more? Yet Analytics recently joined us on a Moodle™ by eThink Partner Webinar. To learn more about how you can use an xAPI LRS like Yet’s to collect and measure learning data from Moodle™, watch the video below. Yet’s presentation begins at 30:35.