Metrics allow you to view your education or training program from a fresh perspective. By approaching your course analytically, you will quickly be able to identify the successful elements of your strategy. Not only that, you will be able to single out aspects that require improvement to better satisfy your learners and further attract new students. With your findings in mind, you will be able to fully understand where your course stands and what needs to be done to improve your current status quo. But to use metrics, you’ll need data.

Data helps you understand the cause and effect of various happenings in your course. You will no doubt see changes as you study your course’s efficacy. These changes can be positive or negative depending on your individual situation. Regardless of the changes, you must be able to identify the cause.

After you have gathered all your information, it can be helpful to review the following five questions and assess your course’s current standings top better understand any changes or shifts.

1. What change might have caused this?

This first question may seem a little broad, but it will begin your investigation of what happened. The following questions will help you break down your current situation more in-depth, but during this time, you should take a broad look at your course and look for the most significant changes from this year to last. You need to gather all possibilities before you delve into the specifics.

2. Has the material changed?

New material added to the course may have presented challenges that your students struggled to meet. Has there been a sudden drop in enrollment? Are more students failing tests and assessments? With a world-class system such as XenDirect, the answers are possible to find!

3. Has the facilitator changed his or her strategy?

One of the key pieces of data you will need is facilitator evaluation. Your students will be able to give a candid evaluation based on the facilitator’s teaching methods, communication, availability, and other factors. If this member of your staff has failed to uphold his or her duties, student evaluations will show it. The best part of this data point is that multiple students reporting the same issues enables you to see things from different points of view.

4. Has the attendance rate changed?

Student attendance is crucial data for any course. Has it gone up or down this year? Were there more drops? Did drops increase after a certain time? Did daily attendance vary at different points? These things could indicate that the coursework was too challenging, that the material itself failed to match the course description, etc. If enrollment itself is down, then you may want to consider a revamped marketing strategy.

5. Has the waitlist increased or decreased?

If your course’s enrollment has reached capacity, then you should have a waitlist for those eager to join your course. Compared to previous years, has the number of students on this course’s waitlist increased or decreased? An increase might indicate that the course is now required for certain majors or concentrations; it could also signify that your marketing strategy has improved. A decrease, on the other hand, this might mean that students were unable to easily enroll in your course–and thus may need a more accessible enrollment method such as an online registration.

In the world of business, leaders often utilize a tactic called “fresh eyes.” Fresh eyes means that leaders look at their current operations from the perspective of an outsider. Whether they are trying to solve a supply problem or improve their employees’ speed, this strategy is often useful to gain insights. Looking from an outside point of view allows these leaders to gain a certain level of objectivity and clarity when trying to identify areas for improvement. In the world of education and course management, metrics will allow you to gain objective insight and develop a proactive plan for the future.

These questions will help you assess your course with fresh eyes. You’ll soon discover what you need to succeed.

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

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