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.
Mock Up Your Reporting Needs
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 mockup reports after answering the following questions:
- What specific types of reports do you need?
- Are you required to report continuing-education credits to a governing body?
- Do you need to report employee compliance?
- Are you tracking and reporting competencies and skill mastery?
- Do you need custom fields like employee ID or job position?
- Does your LMS need to integrate with other data sources?
- Do you need to report course completion or actual scores?
- What other information do you need from course content (e.g. time spent, interactions, etc.)
Using your mockup 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.
Analyze Your LMS Reporting Capabilities
Once you know what reporting you need, research your LMS to see if it can deliver those needs.
Each LMS has their 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 – 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).
Confirm LMS Reporting Integrations
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.
Know Your Course Content: Reporting with SCORM, xAPI, LRS
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:
- What your SCORM/xAPI package is set up to report (completion, scores, time spent, etc.).
- And what your LMS is programmed to “grab” from that package.
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 so 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.
Learning Record Stores
The Learning Record Store goes one step – or leap – forward when it comes to grabbing and reporting on course and user data.
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 mockup 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!
How Elearning Delta Can Help with Your LMS Reporting Needs
Elearning Delta’s team of experts can help you plan and implement your reporting, integration, and other Learning Technology needs.
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