LMS reporting requirements can easily get overlooked during your initial LMS planning and setup process, even though reporting is one of the most important aspects of your training program. Without proper reporting, you could fall short on compliance measurements, miss critical requirements for continuing education, or lose out on important ROI and BI metrics. Don’t make the mistake of planning for your reporting needs after your LMS has launched. Making assumptions about your LMS reporting capabilities can land you in a difficult position. Here are some LMS reporting tips to help you avoid making such mistakes.
When it comes to LMS reporting needs, it is best to start at the end and work your way back. In other words, outline what your ideal reports will look like and incorporate that into your LMS setup plans. Create mock-up reports after answering the following questions:
Using your mock-up reports, list the information you need to gather during the onboarding or registration process. Include notes on whether you’ll gather that information using custom fields or through integration with other systems.
Once you know what reporting you will need, research your LMS to see if it can deliver those needs. Each LMS has its own generic reports that can be generated out of the gate. These typically include user information, course completion details, grading reports, and so forth. Other LMSs include more specialized reports for compliance, competencies, mastery, and continuing education. The best LMSs also include custom reporting tools to help you generate reports using custom fields, filtering, and even infographics. A good custom report tool can help you build most of the reports you need, but only if you’ve planned ahead to gather the necessary data (see previous tip).
You may not want to store all user information on your LMS, but instead, integrate with your organization’s database, HRIS, CRM, or other Single Source of Truth (SSoT). If that is the case, confirm early in the planning phase that your LMS can integrate with your system or that data can be exported in a usable form. Most Learning Management Systems have integration methods for connecting your LMS data to other services. These methods can include direct integration, APIs, or third-party tools like Zapier. Your LMS most likely includes a way to download reports as CSV or Excel sheets so you can manually import the data to other sources. But you should confirm this is the case.
Some of the most common reporting challenges come from erroneous assumptions about what information an LMS can report on course interactions. What your LMS can report depends on how you create your course content. If you are building your courses using videos and other built-in LMS content options, then your LMS will likely report progress, completion, and assessment scores.
If you render your lessons using SCORM or xAPI, your LMS is limited by two things:
Here is where you can get into trouble. Never assume that your LMS will grab everything your SCORM package makes available to it. Each LMS is different, so do your homework. This applies doubly to xAPI.
If you are packaging your course content as xAPI, you have much more data available to you. xAPI can report everything that SCORM can, in addition to more specialized user interaction data—like how users interact with specific activities or exactly which test questions they missed. Very few LMSs actually grab all available information from an xAPI package. And even the ones that do grab xAPI data don’t necessarily have the capability to generate meaningful reports from it. That is where the Learning Record Store (LRS) comes in.
The Learning Record Store goes one step—or leap—further when it comes to grabbing and reporting on course and user data. LRS tools like Learning Locker and Watershed integrate with your LMS to pull all available xAPI data and make it usable for analysis. Watershed additionally offers the ability to pull outside data from other sources and serve as a SSoT for all your Learning and Development data. Utilizing an LRS opens a host of reporting possibilities. In addition to gaining access to the granular details of course interactions, you are able to go one step further and compare those interactions to real-world data like job performance or sales numbers.
Armed with your mock-up and knowledge of available tools, you should be able to incorporate reporting strategies into all phases of your LMS setup. Be sure to test as you go!
Elearning Delta is a full-service e-learning solutions company, specializing in setup, maintenance, and integration of Learning Management Systems (LMS).
Originally published at www.elearningdelta.com.
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