One of the benefits of using an LMS for online training is that it reduces trainers' workload, especially when tracking learner progress and training outcomes. A learning management system (LMS) provides rich analytics and reports that help trainers better understand what’s happening with learners and how they’re progressing through courses.
Diving in at once into all the LMS analytics and reporting tools can make things very complicated and frustrating for trainers, especially those just starting out with an LMS.
While there is no doubt that an LMS offers insightful analytics, there is no need to know or use them all. Trainers can choose to focus on a few critical analytics that will make a difference in their activity.
So what are those key analytics that trainers should focus on? Each trainer and course is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, we can outline some of the most common and helpful analytics with relevant insights for trainers. Let’s have a look at them:
1. Progress analytics
These analytics give valuable insights into the overall learner progress in courses. At a course level, one of the most important analytics is the time spent by learners in modules and sections. This makes it easy to identify areas of improvement. For example, if most learners spend too much time on a particular section, maybe the content is too difficult for them at this stage.
Detailed analytics on each learner’s progress are also helpful. For example, they show completed modules, in-progress modules, or how much there is left to finish a module. This is an excellent way of identifying any module or section that learners might be struggling with.
Other analytics to consider is the daily activity of learners within a course. Trainers can look at the training modules learners viewed in a week, their most active days, how many modules they completed at once, and more.
2. Compliance analytics
Compliance is a valuable feature for companies to ensure that their employees regularly take the required training. Depending on the LMS you’re using, the compliance feature can allow instructors to select the courses needed for compliance. Compliance can expire, so they usually choose a time frame for the courses and whether learners need to renew their compliance periodically.
The most essential analytics when it comes to compliance training are the ones that show learner progress through the required courses. For example, you can see how many learners are taking compliance courses, how many finished their compliance training, and how many are due to renew their compliance soon.
With the help of custom reports, you can also extract more detailed data regarding compliance training per course for a single organization or the entire company. For example, you can generate a report of learners within a department who need to renew their mandatory training in three months.
3. Mastery analytics
If you’re using an LMS, you may already have tapped into its competency-based learning features. This is a great way to measure employees’ learning outcomes and how they’re mastering new skills.
Read more: Boosting learning outcomes through competency-based training
The concept of mastery is quite simple. You create a list of competencies or skills required for a course, then tag sections and assessments within the course with the competencies these should be teaching and assessing. Then you can track learner progress on a competency basis and get clear insights into how learners are mastering specific skills.
In terms of analytics, the most valuable competency-related metrics are the mastery coverage and learners’ overall progress through competencies. The mastery coverage shows how well your course covers the defined skills and if any competencies are not being taught or assessed correctly.
If the LMS provides a grid view of all competencies, you can quickly identify any problem areas. For example, you can see if more learners are struggling with learning a particular skill. At an individual level, you can immediately spot the areas of improvement for a specific learner. For instance, when a learner's performance drops below a certain mastery threshold for several weeks.
4. Built-in and custom reports
In addition to the analytics mentioned so far, most LMSs provide a selection of built-in reports that make it easy for trainers to get instant insights on various aspects related to learner progress. Some of the most important reports are the ones that generate data on course enrollment, course completion, and compliance status. These reports allow you to see what’s currently happening in a course. For example, a helpful built-in report displays the learners’ current completion progress.
After you’ve spent some time using the LMS, you might also want to dip your toes into custom reports. Ad-hoc reporting is a powerful tool that allows trainers to generate reports using parameters defined by them. Custom reports are best used after you’ve had some experience with the LMS when you can identify your pain points and the custom analytics you need.
Nonetheless, custom reports are great for access to deep analytics that otherwise might be hard to obtain. For example, you could create a report that displays all learners from all courses that are in the top 10% of their course. You can create a weekly report to show all the learners that didn’t finish a course within the specified time limit or a custom monthly report that shows the course completion rates for self-paced courses only. The possibilities are endless. With custom reporting, you can also sort, group, and filter data and create various chart outputs. You can even generate a few reports and pin them to the course dashboard for easy access to important analytics that are updated in real-time.
Read more: Using LMS reports to find pain points in the company’s e-learning programs
So there you have it, an overview of the most useful LMS analytics that trainers can use for their courses. As mentioned before, each instructor and course is different, and you don’t have to use all these analytics. That’s why they’re split into categories such as progress, compliance, mastery, and reports. You can select the key analytics from each category that are relevant to you as a trainer. If you’re an LMS beginner, start small with only three or four crucial analytics. If you’re a power user, by all means, play around with custom reports. It’s entirely up to you. The critical thing to remember is to use analytics regularly to improve your learners’ training experience and help them achieve their goals.