You’ve put in a lot of time and effort to make a great online course.

What’s the point of an online course if it doesn’t help the learners it’s meant for? So, if you teach students, you must know if they’re learning properly.

Therefore, you want to ensure it fulfills the requirements of your target audience and helps them achieve their desired goals.

Understanding the level of engagement, satisfaction, and comprehension among learners helps make necessary adjustments to improve the learning experience. 

Also, it is important to assess an online course’s performance to ensure it helps achieve the desired learning outcomes.

But you can improve only when you know if your course is working well.

So, how will your success or failure be measured in this course?

In this post, we will explore how to measure online course performance using different measures to see how well it is doing.

10 Effective Ways to Measure the Success of an Online Course

One of the easiest ways to measure your online course success of an online course is by seeing how long it takes to finish different parts of the course.

This shows you areas of improvement in your online course, which you might need to improve.

However, there are more effective ways to measure the success of online courses.

Let’s explore each.

1. Track Course Performance Goals

Google Analytics can help track various aspects of your online course performance, providing valuable insights into user behavior and engagement.

It provides detailed information about your course’s audience, including demographics (age, gender, location), interests, and behaviors. 

You can track user engagement metrics such as session duration, page views, bounce rate, and conversion rate.

These metrics help you understand how engaged your learners are with your course content, how many courses are sold, and identify areas for improvement.

Here’s an example of the Canada Safety Training Google Analytics dashboard, representing the number of page views, user engagement, first-time visitors, files downloaded, and course purchases.

This data helps you measure the financial success of your course and identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

Canada Safety Training Google Analytics dashboard

2. Monitor Student Learning Progress

Monitoring learning progress in an online course involves tracking how well students understand the course material over time.

It includes observing their engagement with the course, such as module completion rates, time spent on tasks, and assessment performance.

For example, you can monitor learning progress by tracking how students progress through the course modules, noting any areas where they may struggle or require additional support.

This information enables you to make necessary adjustments to improve the effectiveness of the online course, ensuring that students are achieving the intended learning outcomes.

3. Monitor Course Completion Rate

So, what is an effective way to measure your teaching performance during an online course?

The answer is monitoring the course completion rate.

While some learners may not finish due to health issues or busy schedules, tracking completion rates provides valuable insights into how engaging and useful the course is for students.

For example, a high dropout rate among motivated and engaged learners could signal underlying issues with the course.

It is also because online students often struggle with motivation compared to traditional classroom settings.

To address this, consider redesigning the course structure or revising the content to enhance engagement and creativity.

4. Analyze Group Activities And Discussions

Monitoring participation in group activities and discussions indicates the extent to which students are actively engaging with the course content and interacting with their peers.

Higher participation rates suggest students are invested in learning and motivated to contribute to group learning experiences.

Meaningful exchanges, constructive feedback, and thoughtful contributions indicate that students comprehend the material, synthesize concepts, and apply knowledge in collaborative settings.

Assessing the quality of interaction within group activities and discussions helps measure the depth of understanding and critical thinking among students.

Here’s an example of the discussion board commonly accessed from the course menu, although you can provide a link to it in another course area, such as in a content area.

You must create one or more forums before users can start message threads.

discussion board

Source: UND

5. Content Relevance With Real-World Application

Evaluate whether the course content aligns with current industry standards, practices, and trends.

Assessing the relevance of the content to real-world expectations and requirements ensures that students are equipped with knowledge and skills that are applicable and valuable in their professional fields.

Gather feedback from students regarding the perceived relevance of course content to their personal and professional goals.

Positive feedback and insightful reflections indicate that the course content is meaningful and applicable to students’ needs.

Surveys or interviews with employers can provide valuable insights into whether students are adequately prepared.

Track students’ performance and success rates post-course completion, such as job placements, promotions, or successful project implementations.

Here’s an example of a student who learned backend bootcamp via an online course, which helped her level up in the tech field and resulted in growth.

earned backend bootcamp via an online

Source: Vimeo

6. Send Exit Surveys and Polls

Exit surveys and polls can be sent to students upon course completion to gather feedback on the course experience and performance.

These surveys and polls should include questions that assess various aspects of the course, such as content relevance, instructor effectiveness, engagement level, and satisfaction.

By analyzing the responses received, you can gain valuable insights into areas of strength and areas needing improvement, enhancing the course for future students.

Additionally, exit surveys and polls allow students to voice their opinions and suggestions, creating a sense of collaboration in course development.

Here’s a sample exit survey questionnaire that you can use to evaluate your course performance.

7. Review & Assess Assignment Scores

Tests, quizzes, and exams are assessment tools to evaluate students’ understanding and retention of the course material.

When you review assessment scores, they can identify areas where students struggle or have misconceptions.

Low scores or consistent errors on specific questions can indicate learning gaps or misunderstandings that must be addressed. This data allows you to improve the course design and curriculum.

8. Calculate ROI

Now that you are promoting your online course and students are enrolling and completing it, you must assess the ROI.

Calculating an online course’s Return on Investment (ROI) involves comparing the costs associated with developing and running the course to the benefits it generates.

Start by identifying all the expenses incurred in creating and delivering the online course. This includes costs such as:

  • Design and development costs
  • Website hosting and maintenance fees
  • Payment for instructors or course creators
  • Marketing and promotion expenses
𝑅𝑂𝐼 formula

Once you have identified the costs and benefits, you can calculate the ROI using the following formula:

𝑅𝑂𝐼= (𝐵𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑡𝑠−𝐶𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑠) / 𝐶𝑜𝑠𝑡𝑠 × 100%

For example, you spent $10,000 designing and developing an online marketing course. For a year, the course generated $50,000 in sales revenue. The ROI would be calculated as follows:

𝑅𝑂𝐼= (50000−10000)/10000×100% = 400%

Therefore, a positive ROI indicates the benefits outweigh the costs, resulting in a profitable investment.

9. Website Statistics

Analyzing traffic trends can indicate the level of interest in the course and help identify peak periods of activity.

Sudden drops or traffic fluctuations may signal course promotion or content relevance issues.

Higher page views and longer session durations suggest active participation and interest in the course content, while low bounce rates indicate that visitors are exploring multiple pages within the site.

Moreover, geolocation data in website statistics identifies the geographic locations of course visitors.

Website statistics allow for tracking of conversions, such as course enrollments, newsletter sign-ups, or resource downloads.

Analyzing navigation patterns, including the most visited pages, popular content, and user paths through the website, provides insights into how learners navigate and access course materials.

Here’s an example of a study for FE online course website statistics, which showcases 72.2K total visits, 57.03% bounce rate, pages per visit 3.62, and average visit duration.

These insights enable you to make data-driven decisions to improve course design, content delivery, and marketing strategies to enhance the learning experience.

study for FE online course website statistics

Source: Similar Web

10. Surveys and Feedback From Students

Surveys and feedback help you analyze students’ opinions, experiences, and perceptions about various aspects of the course, including content, structure, instructor effectiveness, and satisfaction.

To get feedback from your learners, you can ask them to fill out a simple online form or have individual chats about what they liked and didn’t like about the course.

Here’s a sample template you can use to get direct feedback from the students.

Students’ feedback highlights the course’s strengths and weaknesses from their perspective.

This feedback helps instructors ensure that the content aligns with students’ learning needs, preferences, and expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the metrics for course success?

Here are six key metrics for measuring the success of an online course:

  1. Completion Rates: The percentage of enrolled students who complete the course.
  2. Student Satisfaction: Feedback from students through surveys, polls, or course evaluations.
  3. Learning Outcomes Achievement: Performance on assessments, projects, or demonstrations of acquired skills and knowledge.
  4. Engagement Metrics: Time spent on course materials, participation in discussions, and interaction with learning resources.
  5. Retention Rates: The percentage of students enrolled in the course until completion.
  6. Employment or Further Education Success: Tracking the success of course graduates in securing employment relevant to the course subject matter.

How can I track student engagement in an online course?

Tracking student engagement in an online course involves monitoring various metrics and indicators to assess how actively and effectively students participate in the learning process. Here are several methods for tracking student engagement:

  • LMS Analytics
  • Activity Logs
  • Discussion Participation
  • Assessment Performance
  • Feedback and Surveys
  • Communication Logs

How can I ensure the accuracy and reliability of performance data in online courses?

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of performance data in online courses, utilize multiple data sources, implement consistent data collection methods, regularly validate data accuracy, and maintain transparency in reporting methodologies.


There you have it! This was our guide on how to measure online course performance.

In order to measure the success of your online course, you need to track different data points. This can be done in a variety of ways, but it’s important that you have a system in place so you can accurately assess how well your course is performing.

Thankfully, Orion’s online course promotion agency has the tools and expertise to help you do just that.

We offer extensive online course analytics and reporting so you can see at a glance how your students are doing. Contact us today to get started!