Identifying Skills Gaps with Learning Analytics

Last Updated: 02 November 2023

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In the evolving landscape of healthcare education, learning and development managers are increasingly turning to learning analytics to identify and bridge skill gaps among healthcare professionals. This article explores the intricate process of gap analysis through the lens of learning analytics, aiming to enhance care services and care worker training.

What Are Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics involve the collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their learning process. The purpose is to understand and subsequently optimise the learning process as well as the environments in which learning happens. To learn more about analytics, continue reading our guide here.

What Are Skill Gaps?

Skill gaps refer to the difference between the skills required for a job and the actual skills possessed by the employees. In the healthcare sector, this can directly impact the quality of care services provided. Identifying these gaps is pivotal for the continuous improvement of healthcare professionals, including care workers and support workers.

Utilising Learning Analytics to Identify Skill Gaps

Identifying skill gaps within healthcare professions, such as care worker and support worker roles, is crucial for maintaining quality care. Learning analytics offers a robust approach to uncover these gaps by analysing training outcomes and learner engagement within a Learning Management System (LMS).

Stratgies for Using Learning Analytics to Identify Skill Gaps

Here are key strategies for leveraging analytics:

  • Analyse course completion rates to identify areas where learners struggle to engage or succeed.
  • Examine assessment results across cohorts to pinpoint common knowledge gaps or misconceptions.
  • Monitor time spent on learning materials to determine the correlation between engagement and comprehension.
  • Gather learner feedback through surveys to gain insights into their perception of the training's effectiveness.
Learning analytics skill gaps strategies

Pros and Cons of Learning Analytics for Skill Gaps

The application of learning analytics to identify skill gaps comes with its set of benefits and challenges. It is essential to consider both to fully leverage the power of data in improving learning and development programs.

Benefits Negatives
Personalised learning pathways based on individual performance data. Over-reliance on data can potentially overlook qualitative factors like learner motivation.
Predictive analysis to identify at-risk learners before they fall behind. Complex data may require specialised skills to interpret and action correctly.
Enhanced ability to tailor training resources to specific skill gaps. Data privacy concerns must be carefully managed, ensuring compliance with legislation.

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Case Study: Gap Analysis Using Learning Analytics

A practical example can help illustrate the process and effectiveness of conducting gap analysis using learning analytics. Consider the following scenario within a healthcare setting:

In a practical scenario, a gap analysis might reveal that within a healthcare institution, support workers show proficiency in hands-on care yet lag in documentation accuracy. The learning analytics can dissect this issue by comparing various data points, such as time spent on learning modules, quiz performance, and feedback from online learning forums.

By engaging with these metrics, education managers can develop targeted training interventions. For example, if the time spent on documentation modules is low, yet quiz performance is high, this may indicate that the content is not engaging enough, prompting a review and redesign of the online learning materials.

Performing Gap Analysis with Learning Analytics (with Steps)

Gap analysis with learning analytics steps

Performing a gap analysis involves several critical steps that, when followed diligently, can provide a comprehensive understanding of the existing skill gaps and the necessary actions to address them. The steps include:

  1. Define Desired Skills and Competencies: Establish the specific skills and competencies that are required for delivering quality care within your organisation. This forms the benchmark against which current skills will be measured.
  2. Collect Data: Use your learning management system to gather data on learner performance and engagement. This should include data from assessments, module completion rates, and time spent on learning materials.
  3. Analyse the Data: Examine the collected data to discern trends and patterns. Look for correlations between learning activities and outcomes to identify where gaps are most pronounced.
  4. Identify Discrepancies: Compare current skill levels against the established benchmarks to pinpoint where the gaps exist. This step is crucial in recognising the specific areas that need attention.
  5. Engage with Stakeholders: Discuss the findings with all relevant parties, including educators and learners. This will help validate the data and provide a qualitative perspective on the skill gaps.
  6. Develop an Action Plan: Based on the analysis, create a targeted plan to address the skill gaps. This should include specific training interventions and resources needed to improve skills.
  7. Implement and Monitor: Put your action plan into practice. Continuously monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary, ensuring that the training is effective and the skill gaps are being closed.

Once you've performed these steps, you'll be ready to begin analysing and leveraging the data being captured in accordance to the key metrics you've defined.

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Tips for Using Learning Analytics to Identify Skill Gaps

To maximise the effectiveness of learning analytics in identifying and addressing skill gaps, here are some practical tips that can be implemented:

  • Ensure data collection methods are ethical and protect learner privacy.
  • Integrate multiple data sources for a comprehensive view of learner performance.
  • Focus on longitudinal data analysis to track improvements and trends over time.
  • Collaborate with instructional designers to modify training content based on analytics insights.
  • Utilise analytics to support continuous professional development, beyond mandatory training requirements.

Tools for Gap Analysis Using Learning Analytics

The right tools are instrumental in performing an effective gap analysis. Below is a selection of software and platforms that can facilitate this process:

  • LMS Analytics Dashboards: Most modern learning management systems come with built-in reporting and analytics dashboards that provide key metrics on learner engagement and success.
  • Data Visualisation Tools: Software such as Tableau or Microsoft Power BI can transform data into interactive visualisations, making it easier to identify patterns and outliers.
  • Survey and Feedback Platforms: Tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms can facilitate the gathering of qualitative feedback from learners to complement quantitative data.
  • Educational Data Mining (EDM) Software: Specialised EDM applications can delve deeper into the data, uncovering complex patterns and predictive insights.

Related Resources


Learning analytics is a powerful tool for identifying skill gaps within healthcare education. By leveraging the wealth of data available through various analytics tools and platforms, learning and development managers can significantly enhance the training and competency of healthcare workers. It is an essential process that, when conducted thoughtfully, ensures the workforce is equipped to provide the highest standard of care.

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