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Making the classroom digital

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Training providers face an existential challenge. The pandemic, coupled with ever growing learner choice, places great pressure on traditional classroom offerings.

While many still enjoy learning in a social setting, there are now alternatives to getting the bus into town on a wet Tuesday evening.

Providers are responding to this challenge with hastily adapted courses, delivered on Zoom.

Unsurprisingly, students tell us remote delivery does not match the quality learning experience of the classroom. The trainer struggles to “read the room” and gauge how content is landing with the learner.

To achieve our learning objectives, we need to understand our learners better in a digital context.
The answer lies in our learners’ Digital Body Language”.

Digital Body Language

“The in-person relationship is fading”.

The lost and knowing looks of the classroom have been replaced by the hovering, clicks and drop-offs of digital interaction.

We need to communicate with our learners differently. We must better understand their online behaviours and what they want to achieve.

“Digital body language applies to groups, forums, enterprise social networks, social media, internal and external electronic behaviour, communities, webinars and virtual classrooms”.

We must take the insights presented by these interactions and seek to interpret the digital body language of our learners. We can then respond accordingly with content delivered in a manner that provides a valued learning experience.

This is Data Driven Learning Design which we do in 3 phases:

The 3 Phases of Data Driven Learning Design

1. Discover Insights

Data derived from our interactions with learners allows for the creation of better learning. For providers, the big question is how to get our hands on this data.

Where this data is to be found depends greatly on whether our provider has a Learning Management System already in place.
Examples of what data you could track from within your LMS:
Learner Engagement A high drop off rate indicates poor learner engagement.

Course Attempts If Learners are making multiple attempts at your course, we need to ask, why?

Quiz / Assessment results A good way to understand if your content is sticking or refresher courses are needed.

Feedback As well as directly surveying your learners, community forums and discussion boards let us know how our learners are engaging with our content.

Outside of your LMS, the following can also provide much valued data:
Google Analytics This can provide a valued insight into how your learners are reviewing and engaging with your content online.

Consult IT support Your IT service provider can often provide analytics on your customer base.

Source the top 10 search items on your site This is as simple as knowing what your customers are looking for on your site.

Ask your Learners Ultimately, the best way to know how you are doing is to ask your learners.

2. Respond

Lori Niles-Hofmann tells us that “Data puts strategies in your pocket”.
Knowing our audience helps create great learning experiences. If we could consistently monitor the following, our learning solutions would be truly fit for purpose:

These data points show us the true digital body language of our learners and are our “call to action”.

They can tell us not to schedule webinars just before lunch, to build more mobile content, deliver more videos and keep them to a maximum of 5 minutes.

It is this data that informs the design of truly impactful learning.


Creating strategies around real-time information removes the “hope for the best” from content creation. We no longer have to rely on intuition and carry the associated risks. The data presents opportunities and the ability to solve problems.
We take an iterative approach, consistently measuring our performance and taking the action needed to improve.

The next step in learning design moves us away from making people want our learning to making learning that people want.


Our customers manage 85% of their commercial relationships without human interaction.

This observation is fast becoming a reality in the world of learning. Data Driven Digital Learning affords us an alternative to viewing our learners solely through the “classroom lens”.

User Centric thinking powered by real data means we can respond quickly to learner needs.
Understanding the digital body language of our learners is our opportunity to create truly impactful learning for the future.

Now is the time to take this opportunity.
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