Interpreting Moodle Statistics

We have been looking at course statistics on our Moodle learning platform. If “Statistics” option is enabled in a Moodle learning platform, you are able to see course engagement by accessing Moodle’s
Administration > Reports > Statistics.

You can learn more from Moodle Documentation on Statistics.

However, the number of student “posts” did not seem to match the number of “forum posts” on the course I was looking at. So I looked at Moodle documentation to understand what is meant by “post” in the context of Moodle statistics.

Moodle statistics report

So for example, the course I was looking at had about 250 forum posts by students in March. But the “posts” graph on Moodle Statistics report shows 4000+ activity.

I was not able to find what is defined as “posts” in Moodle Documentation. So I searched elsewhere to understand what was included in “posts”.

There was a bug report in March 2020 which suggested that the number of forum posts were counted twice. See the bug report Forum posts are counted twice in Statistics. However, this too did not sufficiently explain the numbers I saw in the report.

Finally, the conference paper Research analysis of Moodle Reports to gauge the level of interactivity in eLearning courses at Assumption University, Thailand (you can access from ResearchGate) explained it clearly. 

For  “views  and  posts”,  the  ‘views’  means  that  the  data  about  access  to  an  object  doesn’t  get  saved  into  the  database, An example  of  “view”  is  that  a  student  logs  on  to  a  course  and  watches  an  online  video  for  a  particular  chapter  or  just  views  the power-point slides for a chapter. Whereas all data about the ’posts’  means  anything  new  that  is  created  and  uploaded  does  (forum   posts,   assessment   uploads,   etc.)   get   saved   in   the   database. An example of “post” will be that a student submitted or uploaded an assignment or a quiz. 

This means that not only forum posts, but also all activity completion and quiz, survey, assignment submissions are counted as Moodle statistic “posts”. 

Cross checking the downloaded log file confirmed that this was in fact the case. The “post” in Moodle statistics is much broader than just a forum post, it is something that the learner engages in and changes the learning platform with – for example by ticking that they have completed an activity.

It is useful to keep this in mind if you are interpreting Moodle statistics reports.