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How to Translate Numbers into Stories Using Data Visualization

Posted by Lambda Solutions on Aug 1, 2018 8:00:00 AM

turn numbers into narratives data visualization
Did you know that 
58% of businesses make half of their decisions based on a gut feeling rather than data? This percentage goes up 70% for laggard companies.

The challenge isn't so much into obtaining data as it is in making sense of these data. This is an issue that you are probably all too familiar with. Data is widely available, but translating these numbers into a story that resonates with your audience and that helps you achieve your learning outcomes is a skill that you need to master.

Data visualization is a key component of learning management system (LMS) engagement. Overwhelming your audience with numbers isn't going to get your point across.

1. Tell a Story

If your LMS engagement analytics shows that your audience is disinterested, for example, when your manager is not able to find the data he or she requires, then it is time to rethink the way that you present your data. Your goal is to distill key takeaways and objectives so your audience can extract these insights by themselves and play an active role in the learning process.

Combining storytelling techniques with classic design principles will help you leverage data and turn it into a powerful visual element that keeps your audience engaged:

  • Find a structure for your story. Start with a challenge, present the solutions implemented and show the outcome.
  • Use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data if possible.
  • Prepare your data. Don't hesitate to strip your data of anything extraneous and zoom in on some key insights. Clean your data by removing outliers.
  • Provide some context for your data. You need to tell a story and work your data into it. Add information about the sources used and write a few sentences to comment on the data or on the causes behind the trends that can be observed.
  • Labels can make a real difference. Titles and subtitles should tell your audience what they are looking at and provide some clues regarding the insights they should extract.

2. Use Charts and Colours

Data visualization tools allow you to instantly turn numbers into visual charts and to add colours. Make good use of these tools by sticking to a few basic design principles.

The best format depends on the type of data you are working with. A table is a good choice if you want to structure your data and organize it with labels. However, you need to carefully filter your data and focus on a few key points to improve the readability of your table. Think about using chart elements such as filling some cells with a bar to summarize key points.

Charts are an excellent choice if you want to show an evolution or get your audience to make a comparison. Pay attention to dimensions. Graphs show the relations that exist in or between a data set. Not all data sets are structured so that a graph would make sense, and this data visualization method requires a lot of preparation, especially when it comes to eliminating outliers. Maps are often overlooked, but they are a powerful storytelling technique since they connect data to geographic areas and will show regional trends.

Using colours will boost LMS engagement by instantly drawing the eye to some key elements. However, keep in mind that your audience is going to instinctively group the data presented with the same colour. Use this to your advantage to underline an existing correlation, and make sure that this is a part of your narrative.

Review your visual elements and ask yourself if they help you achieve your learning objectives. Do key insights jump at you when you look at the charts you created?

3. Use the Right Data Visualization Tools

You can improve LMS engagement analytics by choosing the right tool to transform your data into powerful visual storytelling elements. We recommend Zoola Analytics since this platform has more data visualization features than other LMS systems.

Zoola allows you to:

  • Create reports and dashboards with a simple drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Embed reports and dashboards on any page created with Moodle engagement analytics or Totara to add context to the data.
  • Deliver reports and dashboards automatically to recipients' inboxes.
  • Keep track of engagement, ROI and time spent learning.
  • Pull data from several sources, including different LMS, xAPI, LRS, Salesforce and more to create a single report.

Lambda Solutions specializes in eLearning. We can help you get started with
Moodle, Totara Learn or Zoola Analytics to create compelling visual elements to leverage your data and engage your audience with powerful storytelling techniques. Get in touch with us to get the most out of your data!

Topics: reporting, learner engagement, analytics

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