5 eLearning Data Analysis Pitfalls And How To Expertly Avoid Them

Which Mistakes Must You Avoid During The Data Analysis Process?

Despite its many positive effects on Learning and Development, research has shown that data analysis is a rather challenging process. Results can sometimes be skewed or poor representations of reality, and it all boils down to a number of mistakes eLearning professionals make. In this article, we will explore 5 of the most common eLearning data analysis pitfalls so that you can detect and avoid them successfully in the future.

5 eLearning Analysis Pitfalls You Must Be Aware Of

1. Limited Scope Of The Matter At Hand

A pitfall you must overcome before even getting started with data analysis is not taking full advantage of your data pool. Many organizations limit themselves to historical evaluations of previous training courses, ignoring the numerous capabilities of data analysis tools. Although it’s useful to examine what happened in the past, don’t pass up the opportunity to identify patterns that reveal what the future holds for your online training strategy. Link learning outcomes with business performance to determine the most effective ways of learning and make insightful recommendations for the future. This way, you will enjoy the maximum potential of data analytics and achieve substantial improvements.

2. Biases In Analysis And Interpretation

Data analysis is an objective process that helps you reach conclusions and make decisions based on real-life evidence. However, that doesn’t mean that personal biases can’t affect how you interpret data and, thus, the final results of the analysis. Let’s take a look at the most common data analysis biases:

  • Confirmation bias. This occurs when we subconsciously look for information that confirms our existing beliefs and exclude data that go against them. It can happen when we search, recall, or attempt to interpret data.
  • Historical bias. This typically occurs when large databases are affected by systematic sociocultural prejudices. Therefore, when collecting large amounts of historical data to train Machine Learning algorithms, for example, we end up perpetuating these skewed views and distorting analytical outcomes.
  • Selection bias. Sometimes samples don’t accurately and objectively represent the population either because they’re too small or not truly randomized. Selection bias can also be a result of overrepresentation, exclusion of some groups, or poor design that hinders the effective participation of all subjects.
  • Exclusion bias. When dealing with terabytes of data, it is tempting to want to only pick a small portion to analyze. However, this can lead to exclusion bias, or in other words, the omission of important variables, leading to distorted results.
  • Survivor bias. This refers to the tendency to focus mostly on successful outcomes. In eLearning, this would translate to only analyzing data from learners who passed your course. However, valuable insights can undoubtedly be extracted from the learners who failed or dropped out as well.
  • Outlier bias. Outliers greatly differ from the median, which is why it is important to handle them properly. Failing to include them in the analysis can result in overly ambitious results that don’t reflect reality.

3. Excessive Reliance On Quantitative Data

Both quantitative and qualitative data hold great importance for the effectiveness of your eLearning analysis process. However, the fact that quantitative data are easier to collect and interpret might cause professionals to rely excessively on them. Nevertheless, this data analysis pitfall will result in an insufficient understanding of the learning environment and the factors that affect it. For example, you can try to measure learner engagement via factors such as completion rates and time spent on each module, but your conclusions won’t be complete if you don’t take into account a qualitative factor, such as satisfaction rates.

4. Implementing Ineffective Interventions

Another eLearning data analysis pitfall many organizations struggle with is that even though their insights and conclusions are correct, their interventions are not. In other words, the solutions you are implementing to solve the issues that the analysis has highlighted are ineffective. This could happen either because you failed to consider the outcomes of the analysis themselves or additional factors, such as your available resources. When utilizing analytics to improve your eLearning strategy, you must adopt a holistic approach that ensures alignment with all steps of your Instructional Design process. This involves carefully examining any possible adjustments and interventions and refraining from one-size-fits-all approaches.

5. Accessibility And Inclusivity Concerns

A final pitfall you need to consider is neglecting to design data analysis tools and methodologies with accessibility and inclusivity in mind. Failing to take the necessary steps to include these groups in your data pool by following accessibility guidelines or permitting the integration of assistive technologies will significantly distort analytics outcomes by excluding an important learner demographic. Not to mention that eLearning data analysis can give you valuable information about how you can make your training course more accessible to learners with different needs and disabilities, thus improving its overall quality.


The deeper eLearning professionals delve into the world of eLearning data analysis, the more pitfalls they naturally encounter and sometimes fall for. However, you shouldn’t be discouraged by these challenges, as they can be overcome by utilizing proactive measures and strategic planning. Armed with these, you can enjoy the transformative qualities of data analysis and use them to significantly improve the effectiveness and quality of your online training strategy.

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