Learn How To Use LMS Reporting For Better Training
You wouldn’t buy a house without figuring out your budget first, doing some market research, and examining the spaces and plans of the one you chose. Likewise, you wouldn’t spend time and money on employee training and then not measure to see how successful and impactful your training really was. Yet, when you use a sophisticated tool like an LMS and don’t take advantage of its reporting capabilities to track your learners’ progress, you’re essentially buying blind.
But just like the house-buying process, when it comes to LMS reporting, it’s important to know where to start. First, you need to understand what’s the most essential training data you should have, and then prioritize the LMS reports that will give you this information.
Different Stakeholders Need Different LMS Reports
There’s a misconception that LMS reports are only useful to training analysts—or to the people who will be using the LMS. This is not necessarily true. LMS reporting can be invaluable to many stakeholders. And each of them is interested in different data or reports.
Let’s see some examples:
- Senior management
Although senior management won’t always need to review all the data on a granular level, they should be aware of the overall state of training. Condensing the most pertinent data into an infographic, for instance, is a great way to keep senior management in the loop about how employees are doing and how training aligns with your bottom line.
- HR managers
Your HR team needs to be able to check whether some employees are falling behind in mandatory training, or whether everyone has concluded their compliance training. They also need to be aware of skill gaps throughout the employee pool so that they can hire accordingly.
- Team leaders
They need to have access to LMS reports for various reasons. Being aware of each employee’s strengths and skill gaps is one. Another reason is to know which employees are interested in reskilling/upskilling training and which are taking optional training courses, as they indicate their career goals.
- L&D managers
They’re the ones who will be more heavily involved with LMS reporting. It goes without saying that the people responsible for creating and implementing your training strategy need unlimited access to all the training data to make informed decisions about the future of said strategy.
- Course instructors
Trainers need to know their audience to ensure they’re creating a learning experience everyone will enjoy. For example, if you have data that shows that employees tend to fail a follow-up quiz after a specific instructor-led session, then your instructor might want to try simplifying the content or making the presentation more interactive to engage participants.
The 7 Most Important LMS Reports
Now let’s have a look at the most important LMS reports, who they’re for, and what data they show.
1. Training Progress And Course Completion
This report can show you how employees are progressing through a course and which ones have already completed their training. It’s invaluable especially when it comes to mandatory training (e.g., before a cybersecurity audit) because non-compliance can be extremely costly for your company.
Who needs it: HR, L&D managers, anyone who wants to check whether your company is compliant with a certain law or regulation
How to use it: You can use this report proactively by scheduling it at regular intervals to ensure everyone finishes their training and no one is dropping off. But you can also use progress rate reports along with time logs in order to draw conclusions about learners both at a team and on a personal level.
2. Report On Instructor-Led Sessions
Whether online (e.g., a webinar) or offline (e.g., a classroom-based presentation), instructor-led sessions come with a lot of useful data. An ILT report will show you how many people registered and attended a session, and how many of them passed the course (if there’s a test involved.) You’ll also get details about the actual ILT session, like the duration, the average grade, and so on.
Who needs it: HR, L&D managers, instructors
How to use it: An ILT report will give you a hint of which sessions are the most popular. I.e., which ones have the most attendees. This way, you can schedule more sessions around that topic or invite a particular instructor for additional training. It might also be useful to break down data by learner or department and see how they perform in follow-up tests.
3. Time And Activity Logs
A time logs report shows you how long it takes for each learner to complete courses, modules, tests, or quizzes.
Who needs it: L&D managers, course instructors, team leaders
How to use it: You can use the time logs function to finetune your strategy when it comes to content or delivery methods. For example, if many learners are taking way more time than average to complete a course or a module, it may be a sign that something doesn’t work for them in terms of the content or the delivery method.
Of course, it can also mean that they are too overwhelmed with work responsibilities and can’t focus on training. This is still important to know for team leaders so that they can take steps to lighten their load.
4. Course And Module Details
This LMS reporting function allows you to go a bit deeper and get overall, detailed data for each course and its modules—from the number of modules completed and time spent to attendance and completion dates and test scores.
Who needs it: L&D managers, course instructors, senior management (the abridged version)
How to use it: You can use these reports to help your team set realistic training objectives—and finetune your existing ones. Having this information about each course and module can give you a better sense of your learners’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to close the skills gaps more efficiently.
Also, learners’ test scores and how their knowledge about a particular subject has increased after taking the course is information you can present to senior management.
5. Surveys Reporting
Not getting learner feedback could lead to training failure. Because if people don’t enjoy their training, they’re less likely to engage with it and actually learn from it. Thankfully, many LMSs let you build surveys and quizzes in-hub so that you can ask for feedback and analyze responses in one spot.
Who needs it: L&D managers, course instructors
How to use it: Gauge learner satisfaction and identify potential problems with the content. Hitting your training KPIs (e.g., reach 100% course completion) is not enough—if your learners are hating every minute of it, you’re doing it wrong.
Obviously, different people will respond differently and you can’t satisfy everyone. But it’s helpful to identify patterns. For example, if enough people are asking for shorter courses or more interaction during instructor-led sessions, you should take that into consideration—and even personalize the learning experience where possible.
6. Gamification Report/Leaderboard
If your training includes gamification elements like leaderboards (or by simply tracking your learners’ scores to see who has consistently high rates), then it’s very useful to know who your top learners are.
Who needs it: L&D managers, team leaders, HR (possibly)
How to use it: Based on this report, you could reward top learners—whatever form that reward may take. For instance, HR may decide to offer goodie bags, online coupons, or something similar to the consistently most active learners. Or, the reward can be more informal, within teams (team leaders giving a shoutout or buying a round of coffee/donuts to that week’s top learner).
Apart from rewarding learners, this information can also be used by team leaders and HR when it’s time to make decisions on promoting internally.
7. Online Assessment Results
This report goes beyond course completion, to tell you what exactly learners have learned, and how their understanding of a subject has changed after taking a course or module.
Who needs it: Everyone (yes, even the learners)
How to use it: The online assessment results report is an ideal tool to gauge if subject comprehension is at the levels you want it to be. Setting up a pre-assessment test to establish a benchmark, you can use this LMS report to really see how much of a difference your training has made—and communicate this with senior management.
Are the numbers high enough? Great, your training is working! Keep doing what you’re doing—and keep testing and reporting. But if the numbers aren’t significant enough, or if learners are still unsure about how to use this knowledge in their day-to-day work, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
Best Practices For LMS Reporting
LMSs are sophisticated tools. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the reporting features of your LMS by following these best practices.
Build Custom Reports
The 7 LMS reports we listed above are a great starting point. But, sometimes, the data you need may be more specific or need to be viewed in tandem with other data.
Thankfully, some LMSs allow you to build custom reports by filtering for exactly the data you need so that you get a 360 understanding of your training program.
Set Up Automations
Not everyone has the time (or the expertise) to deal with LMS reporting on a daily basis. That’s why setting up automations is crucial.
By scheduling your reports to arrive at regular intervals of your choice, not only do you get a steady flow of actionable data but you can also easily keep your team up to date on how the training is going.
Use Infographics To See The Bigger Picture
Infographics are always a good way to get a clear snapshot of your training without piling up data on a report that not everyone on your team will have the know-how or the capacity to read.
Most LMSs that are worth their salt give you the ability to compile and synthesize your data into an infographic that shows you anything from the number of users, courses, and groups in training to course completion and test pass rates.
Thorough Reporting Is Only The First Step
It may be clear by now that setting up a comprehensive LMS reporting system is essential. But it’s not the end-all.
LMS reports will give you useful insights—as long as you’ve provided the system with the right data and made the right settings. Your LMS can provide you with information such as attendance rate (for self-paced training), completion rate (for mandatory training), average training completion time, pass/fail rate of course assessments, average test scores, and even knowledge retention through follow-up assessments.
But when it comes to gauging whether your training program is truly successful, there are always other metrics to take into consideration, particularly those tied to your business goals. So, you need to take into account things that come from places outside your LMS. For example, sales quota pre- and post-training, number of safety incidents, customer satisfaction rate, employee retention rate, and overall growth rate.
That’s why setting training goals that align with your business objectives is the most crucial thing. Getting training reports that tell you that you have a 100% completion rate won’t mean anything on its own if your goal is, for instance, to increase customer satisfaction.
To return to our “house-buying” analogy, knowing that an apartment is within budget is a good start. But you also need to know whether it meets your specific criteria, e.g., number of bedrooms, preferred heating system, etc. And then it’s time to add your personal touch with your furniture and decoration items to turn it into your dream house.
When it comes to training, LMS reports give you all the information you need to determine whether your courses are successful or not. And they save you from doing all the work of collecting and analyzing data manually. It’s up to you, though, to use this valuable information to improve your training and reach your business goals.