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Online Course Providers utilize various tools to help fine-tune the experience for each learner relying on their platform. They gain valuable insight into the learner’s behavior by collecting and analyzing the data. Tracking the learner’s activity also assists the providers in developing the course layout, multimedia integration, and content curation based on the interests of their audience.

Digital marketing is an effective tool employed by online education providers. Some of the largest providers spend millions of dollars every month, just on Ads. They also utilize third-party tools and tracking systems to learn more about their users and target them specifically through their ad campaigns. However, some of the tools used in the process raise privacy concerns as they permit larger tech corporations to follow you around the web.

Tracking privacy violations

An online privacy inspector, Blacklight was launched by Markup to reveal the extent to which a website tracks an individual. It investigates how powerful institutions are transforming society with the aid of technology. It is quite simple to use. All you need to do is enter a web address to scan how the site is following you around with ad trackers, third-party cookies, session recording, keylogging, Google Analytics, Facebook tracking, and more.

Testing top course providers

Blacklight was used to test online course providers who receive anywhere over 300M visits every month and have made billions of dollars from both public and private domains. Studying 50 online course providers via the privacy tool revealed that they heavily rely on numerous ad trackers.

Here is some detailed insight into the statistics. On average, the course providers use 10 web trackers and store about 13 third-party cookies. They let Google and Facebook track the learners and about 50 percent of them record your mouse and keystrokes.

It is essential to remember that the mere presence of an ad tracker on a website does not necessarily raise a red flag. They are being used for legitimate reasons. However, when used in excess, they can pipe user data via big tech companies and raise privacy concerns.

Testing top course providers

The focus of the study on course providers via Blacklight was primarily about adult online learners. The study involved MOOC providers, online boot camps, online degree providers, university professional education, and tech e-learning platforms.

Here are the top tools used to track online course learners by the providers.

Manual Tracking

This is one of the most basic tracking techniques that can be employed and offers a minimal amount of data to the course providers. This technique is integrated into any e-learning course by issuing a certificate of completion to the learners who have successfully completed a course.

The issued certificate can be sent to a facilitator or moderator who keeps a tab on how many learners have completed a course and what are the scores that they have received. This is also done by asking the learners to sign before and after each module so that the attendance can be monitored.

Read: 8 Tips for Completing an Online Course Successfully

Click

This tracking technique involves monitoring the pages in the eLearning course that have been clicked by the learners. The reports can be procured via a web analytics tool which will the providers gain valuable insight into how many page clicks you have received for a particular module. The providers can track the peak visiting times and the time spent by a learner on each specific page of their website.

Ad Trackers

Ad trackers are generally used for collecting user information and to target the learners via strategically placing ads. For instance, if a learner opens an email promotion about a particular course, then you the providers can send them a discount coupon to encourage them to buy a course.

Third-party cookies

These are small files stored on your device by a domain that you have visited. For instance, if you visit a website, the cookies stored on your device will help them recognize you and your preferences.

Canvas fingerprinting

This technique leverages the fact that computers with diverse hardware might render different visuals. For instance, if a website senses a similar image from two visitors, then it is deduced that the visits were made from the same device.

Session recording

This is when a website is monitoring all your actions such as the position of your mouse and clicks. This often involves keylogging. For instance, monitoring mouse movements by a website can help them build a heat map of how you are interacting with their web page.

Keylogging

This is when a website monitors you as you type. For instance, if you have been asked to enter your phone number and start typing, the website could still record it even if you have not submitted your number. This is because they are keeping a tab on your keystrokes.

Facebook Pixel

Facebook Pixel - Online Course Tracking Tool

A piece of code from Facebook allows tracking of an individual as you navigate from a website to Facebook. For instance, if you check a product on a particular website that relies on Facebook Pixel and later visit Facebook, then you will be shown the ad for the same product on the social media platform.

Google Remarketing Audiences

This analytics feature allows serving an individual with custom ads across the Google network. For instance, if you search for a particular product on a website via google that utilizes this feature and then visits YouTube, then you will be shown related ads.

Web Server

This tracking feature allows online course providers to monitor how many times learners have visited their course, how much time they have spent and the number of pages accessed by them. This provides an in-depth insight on the peak viewing times which can be helpful in scheduling the learning activities in the future.

Tracking techniques are quite effective for online course providers in tracking the overall behavior of the learners, the course visits, and more. It provides them with an opportunity to customize the learning experience and effectively target the potential audience. They can also comply with the standards and boost the ROI for their course with the vital information collected during the process.