LMS Reporting is Broken
When we say LMS reporting is broken, it’s because of the questions we hear as people are educating themselves about our system. The questions sound a lot like this:
Can my managers login and run an LMS report in your system?
We hear questions about LMS reporting requirements all the time. It doesn’t always take this exact form – but if we swap out “managers” for “business units”, “department heads”, “trainers”, or “regional operators,” the core of the question remains the same. If you find yourself in search of a new LMS, this may be on your mind as well. But – in all honesty – this may be the wrong question. To get the real scoop you must ask deeper and more specific questions because of how learning management systems and LMS reporting tools have evolved. The question should be more along the lines of:
How do the people in my organization access the info they personally need?
Reporting has grown into a great indicator of how well an LMS maps your organization. The data you use to permission learning content or provide reporting access to group leaders is a really powerful indicator of overall LMS fit. As we talk to people searching for a new LMS, we are continually surprised by how they simply cannot get the right information the right people.
So when we evolve the reporting capabilities of our system, we avoid drawing inspiration only from our industry as legacy LMS reporting has some major faults. A legacy LMS does have a huge amount of data which can be customized into reports. What we hear from our clients is that they need more well conceived, pre-made reports rather than massive amounts of data. To accomplish this, we look everywhere from how consumer software uses mobile devices to how targeted, automated “reporting” is hitting our inboxes all the time in the form of weekly fitness recaps and new product releases. Consumer brands like Fitbit, Strava and Audible are great examples of how LMS reports can draw inspiration from outside the eLearning industry.
The Future of LMS Reporting:
Valuable reports are easily accessible. This point is so simple, yet it cannot be overemphasized. The world moves too fast with too much information (both work and personal) already causing an overload. For maximum impact, LMS reports need to be accessible to your people where they consume information currently (aka via mobile devices).
Easy to Absorb
LMS reports need to be in an immediately absorbable format. Design matters. The best, most valuable reporting is that which immediately provides the reader with a decision-making framework. If we use a gluten free food training module as an example of an initiative you are seeking 100% company-wide training compliance in, then this report does not need to be a list of everyone in the company who has completed the training. This information is correct and perhaps interesting – just not valuable. The report – in this case – should be an overall percentage complete number and a list of team members who haven’t yet completed the training (Ex: The Seattle location is 85% complete. John Smith, Janet Williams, Patrick O’Shea need to complete the training by November 1st).
LMS Reports need to be tailored down to the person by job function. Going back to our gluten free training example – perhaps the high priority training initiative grew out of a heightened sensitivity to the legal liability related to guests with gluten allergies. The reporting needed at the C-level, general counsel, and director level is of the global perspective (85% of the organization has completed gluten training), and should be a snapshot of the company in a moment of time to inform high-level decisions such as directing more resources to the initiative. A General Manager at one location needs a completely different report to execute tactically on the company’s overall goal – a list of team members yet to complete the training.
MKTG Director at Wisetail • Bozeman Native