To those of you who are unaware of what this is, Power Pivot is a feature incorporated in the 2010 version of the Microsoft Excel. Although it is still available in 2013, it is only accessible for certain office versions. This is a free add-in to the spreadsheet application of Microsoft to help users create more sophisticated data for decision making purposes.
The capabilities of this feature is displayed in the Pivot Table. It is separate from the excel tables because the latter is the source of the data that is summarized in the cross-tabulation feature of the Power Pivot. The great thing about this is it allows expanded capacity for data analysis, advanced and complex calculations and the ability to take data from various sources. It can also allow the user to turn workbooks into interactive applications online.
Given all of these features, Microsoft classified Power Pivot as part of their Business Intelligence package.
In the past, excel relied on the SQL Server Analysis Service to help analyze data as deeply as they can. The problem with this is, you need to have a technical knowledge of SQL Server in order to combine multiple data. Otherwise, it will be difficult to come up with a report that can help you with important decisions and improvements. But with the Power Pivot, end users do not have to rely on IT professionals to make sense of complex reports. There is no need for a specialized analytics training in order to make an in-depth analysis of raw data.
So how is this relevant in eLearning?
One of the important aspects of eLearning is the ability to gauge effectiveness to facilitate improvements. The only way that you can gauge the effectiveness is by analyzing data based on past and present performances of the eLearning program.
Although you may have a great Learning Management System in place or a data tracking program, you need a tool that will allow you to make sense of all that information. That is what the Power Pivot can help you with.
In the beginning, using this feature in Excel can be daunting. It really looks very complex and highly technical but if you look at the details, it is not. Of course, you need to learn the basics about how to use it but it is not really something that you need a long time to understand. In fact, if you are not in a hurry to use it, you can probably teach yourself by exploring the features on your own. Just try not to get intimidated by all the formulas and technicalities. The key is to manipulate your data slowly and take one step at a time. Explore each aspect of the Power Pivot and discover how you can use it on the raw information and transform it into something that can help you make decisions about improving your eLearning program.
Image courtesy of MSDN.com