How do you find out if your online courses bring results to the viewers? Is your online school growing or stagnating? You can’t answer these questions without effectiveness metrics.
KPIs (key performance indicators) are tools that help analyze the performance and the goal completion rate.
When analyzing educational projects, you can apply quantitative and qualitative metrics. Let’s take a closer look at them.
How to Use KPIs
You should conduct research and collect data regularly. None of the metrics will give you the information you need if you do not research on a consistent basis. It is always important to track the dynamics and observe how the indicators change.
Every KPI should lead you to an increase in income and profits, basically something tangible. You should understand how a change in your business’ metrics relates to concrete monetary profits.
Completion rate is a percentage of students who have successfully completed the course. To measure this indicator, we take a number of those who finished the course and divide it by the number of those who started the course. As a result, we get the percentage of people, who have fully completed the course.
Why should we consider this metric qualitative? Because we assume that the better the course, the more people will finish it. In my opinion, if you disregard personal emergencies, students drop out for two reasons:
1. Studying is too hard (students don’t understand the material; can’t cope with voluminous assignments; feel like they are not good enough).
2. Studying is too easy (materials seem superficial and obvious; viewers don’t see the practical value and don’t want to waste their time).
Consequently, the higher the Completion Rate, the better the course fits the audience’s expectations.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
NPS is a user loyalty index. It is quite easy to measure. You should ask the course graduates one simple question: “On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you recommend our service or product to your friends or a colleague?”
The metric is the difference between the number of supporters and critics: subtract the number of your critics (those who’ve chosen 1-6) from the number of your supporters (those who’ve chosen 9-10). Neutral answers (7-8) are not factored in the calculation.
The growth of net promoter scores, or the number of people who love your product, means the increase in return rate and the influx of new clients, who’ve heard great things about your product.
Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)
CSI is a customer satisfaction index, also a subtype of NPS. The algorithm for its calculation is quite simple: it is the assessment of any user interaction with your product or service. The scale can vary from “very unsatisfied” to “very satisfied”, or it can be in the yes/no answer format.
It makes sense to measure CSI after every interaction with the target audience: after conducting a webinar, completing a course module, or even after getting a sale. This indicator allows to track quality on every little stage: while the NPS reveals if the course was successful upon the whole, Custom Satisfaction Index helps understand which course elements were most effective (and which elements need re-working).
Other Qualitative KPIs
We have reviewed the most popular metrics; however, you shouldn’t stop there. There are plenty of additional KPIs, such as:
- Familiarity with material (e.g. what percentage of students attend your webinar)
- Homework speed (what tasks take a day or two to complete, and what assignments may take weeks. Knowing that, you can regulate the workload accordingly)
- Expert feedback rate is a key metric for educational projects
- The percentage of those who achieved their goals thanks to your course. For example, you should consider how many of your students got their dream job.
How can qualitative metrics help you increase your income? It’s actually quite simple. If students deeply immerse themselves into the materials, attend interesting and useful classes that meet their expectations, complete assignments without feeling overwhelmed, and get timely feedback from experts then their satisfaction level (CSI) is higher.
If students are happy with everything throughout the course, then they are more likely to complete it, which will increase the COR. The more students graduate, the higher the NPS will be. High NPS makes it easier for you to choose the right trajectory for improving your product or service in the future.
Here we will use metrics such as revenue (the number of purchases multiplied by the average basket), the average check, the number of purchases and others. All kinds of companies use these metrics. Let’s see how we can influence these KPIs in terms of educational projects.
You can increase the average check by augmenting the value of the offer (for example, by introducing additional options and including them in the cost), by creating complex deals, etc.
What are the limitations for such an increase? First of all, your competitors: you cannot have your prices be higher than those of analogous products. However, you can add weight to your offer, make it more valuable and, thus, justify the difference in the price.
For instance, instead of selling educational modules one by one, you can offer a full-blown course. You can suggest membership or subscription to the course. It works.
People would often rather pay more at once and meet all of their educational demands than be forced to pay little by little to cover their immediate needs.
Number of purchases
To improve this metric, you should adopt the upselling practice: if the client bought the course, you could offer them an additional module at a reduced price.
Referrals are also pretty effective: offer your clients discounts if their friends purchase your product or service.
You should understand that it takes time to increase the number of purchases for educational projects. A new client may not be ready to buy everything at once.
Often you need to warm up the audience with useful content, such as information about the brand, emails, and (or) feedback. Give it some time for the client to feel ready to make a purchase.
Number of new users
New users come from lead conversion. This conversion correlates with the traffic on your website and other channels. Often traffic conversion becomes a key metric for product specialists and the marketing department, while sales conversion is important for the sales department’s KPIs.
It’s worth mentioning that these metrics can be mutually exclusive. You may increase the lead conversion from traffic, but for the most part, those will be cold leads, which will negatively impact the sales conversion. In my opinion, it makes more sense to set common KPIs for the marketing and sales departments.
Reactivation of past users
You should analyze the database of past users, as you may discover that people who do not make an immediate purchase, are very likely to do so 6 months later.
The probability of making a purchase is also high after 11-12 months of being included into the database.
What should you do with this information? You should analyze how many times you interacted with the audience in that 6-month or 12-month period. This will help you understand how and why re-activation happens. Perhaps it’s your emails or blog.
The re-activation of past users can be a good KPI for your content marketers, product specialists, and other departments of your online school.
To increase the effectiveness of your courses, you should:
- Increase the quality of an educational product and adapt it to the needs of the audience
- Collect feedback and monitor students’ satisfaction rate throughout the course. It will be too late to change anything once the course is over
- Work both on the new and the old client base. A smart content strategy will help you improve all KPIs, including the reactivation of past users.