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How to collect important student metrics in Lectora

There is an old saying, knowledge is power. In the learning industry that means collecting data on how our students interact with our training. Through the proper collection and analysis of this information comes the power to identify learning gaps, design better learning experiencesAND achieve training goals more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Yes, the extra effort in collecting student metrics can result in changes that save you money. For example, a company that produced a lot of training videos started experimenting with animation videos. After analyzing employee preferences, understanding and retention rates, the company concluded that animations were just as effective as video production. The change has saved them tens of thousands of dollars each year.

Data can be found everywhere, and when we consider the learning macro-environment encompassing learners, content, goals, delivery platform, and HR systems, data collection can feel overwhelming. Traditional learning management systems provide very limited data.

In this article, I will focus on how to send detailed student interaction data to Google Sheets.

From there it can be viewed, downloaded and analyzed. Unlike sending xAPI declarations to a Learning Record Store, Google Sheets is free and can be implemented right away.

Send course data to Google Sheets

STEP 1 – Add Triggers

Let’s start with some basic concepts. To collect data, we need something to measure. In eLearning, this means that we need to add interactivity to activate the collection process. The ubiquitous next button can be used to generate data such as which pages have been viewed and how long the user has been on the page. Note how this next button click trigger can be used to create different datasets.

As we add more interactivity, we increase the types of data we can collect. Here are some examples of data that can be collected from different interactions.



Click and reveal

Interests, prior knowledge, course design

Knowledge checks

Understanding, learning gaps

Custom interactions (games)

Engagement, Understanding

Rate this

User sentiment, course design


Learning path, prior knowledge


Previous acquaintance

Text entry

User Generated Content

As you can see, adding more interactivity allows you to collect more data. But what if the whole course was interactive? In an adaptive course, the user has options for how content is displayed on each page or slide in the course. For example, since learning styles are fluid, why not let the student choose how to display content (read, listen, watch, interact) on each page? There may be thousands of unique paths through the course. Monitoring how students access content can provide insights into your students, content, and course navigation that wouldn’t be possible any other way. Learn more about adaptive design on my blog

User-generated data may be collected when we use text fields to collect responses. For example, you can ask the student to answer a question or leave a comment in a text field. One of my favorite uses is for users to apply what they have just learned. In one sales training course, we asked users about their sales pitch. Some of the responses we’ve received have been very funny. « Just buy it! »

STEP 2 – Use variables

How does next button click collect data? Variables are used to store text or numeric data. Variables can save page names, how many times a user clicked, a click sequence, and more. Text field responses are also stored in variables.

Challenge question: What two types of variables can Lectora send to an external destination such as an LMS? (See answer below.)

The data in these variables will be sent to
a Google sheet, but how do we do it?

Luckily, Lectora makes it very easy. No coding is required with this simple trick. Since tests and polls are already programmed to send response variables, all we have to do is replace these variables with our variable values. I prefer to use a survey for this, leaving the test available for a course exam. The survey must contain one question for each data variable you want to collect.

Setting up survey variables

student metric2

There are several ways to set survey variables to your values. The navigation method uses a modified next button action to navigate to a content page or survey page. The Project Explorer shown at left displays a ten-page course with the pages numbered in the sequence followed. On each survey page use the automatically generated question variable (Question_0001) to store your data. When the survey is processed, all variable values ​​are sent to the specified destination.

Another option is to create an action set that sets each question variable to the data variable. In a ten page course with five variables, you will use five actions.

The survey must contain one question for each data point you want to monitor. A Fill in the Blanks question works well as it stores text or numbers. Take note of the variable name (see image).


Now let’s look at three types of data you may encounter.

Reserved variables are already in Lectora and must be saved in a survey variable. Here is an example of the page name being saved when the next button is clicked. Add an action that sets the poll question variable equal to the page name variable, as shown below.

student metric4

User defined variables are used to store any data you want to monitor. For example, if you want users to rate content Up or Down, add two buttons that set a myRating variable, then use the Edit Variable action to set the question variable to the rating value.

student metric5

Text entry interactions work the same way. Text entry fields have variable names starting with Entry_, so you don’t need to create a user-defined variable. As in the previous examples, use the Edit Variable action to set the question variable to the input value.

student metric6

STEP 3 – Create a Google Sheet

Now that all of your data is stored in survey variables, we need a Google Sheet to store the data. Use one of the templates in this knowledge base article Using Google Drive to collect results from Lectora to create the google sheet.

STEP 4 – Submit data

Lectora makes it easy to submit variable data to Google. The option to connect to a Google Sheet is located under the Behavior and Results ribbon. Select the survey in Project Explorer to view this ribbon.

student metric7

Select Send personalized results, then Send to: Google Drive.

Select Settings and paste your Google Sheet URL.

When the survey is processed, all of the question variables are sent to your Google Sheet. You have full control over data formatting and filtering as you would in any spreadsheet. If you want to share the sheet with your students, you can embed it in your course as well.

In summary, learner metrics empower developers to make data-informed decisions in course design, enabling them to create more engaging, effective, and personalized learning experiences. By leveraging student metrics, developers can create courses that meet student needs, enhance student understanding, and promote meaningful learning experiences.

Answer: The two types of variables that Lectora can send to an external destination are user-defined variables and reserved variables.