LMS Reporting for open source learning is one of the top pain points among Moodle and Totara users. Moodle reporting needs are often complex, and they only increase over time (as programs grow, and organizations expand). Unfortunately, many of the LMS reporting and learning analytics solutions that are available simply do not have the capacity to provide what users need. This can make shopping for a LMS reporting solution a lengthy process, with limited success. We have compiled an easy checklist to help you select a robust solution, perfect for your LMS reporting needs.
1. Evaluate the Ease of Use
Request a demo from the vendor, so that you can see the LMS reporting capabilities each solution has. A good demo should be anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on the extent of the solutions’ capabilities. Note the ease of use, and correlate this with the technical skills of your users. Another thing to take into consideration is how long it takes to build reports using the solution. If it takes hours to generate one report, is that time well spent?
2. LMS Reports, Lists, & Charts
During the demonstration, make sure you see the various types of LMS reports (e.g. configurable reports, and/or custom reports), lists, and charts that are available to you. Can you visualize how they would serve the information you need to provide to stakeholders? Are these reports providing you with all the data you might need (Time Spent Learning, Individual Progress, Completion, etc.)?
3. Out-of-the-box Reports
These are LMS reports that are automatically created for you. If you already have an idea of the types of reports you will need, see how they align to the reports you will receive - obviously, there should be a generous overlap here.
4. Ad Hoc Reports
Based on a survey we conducted during our reporting webinar, 40% of participants indicated that the #1 most important capability of a LMS reporting tool, was the ability to create Ad Hoc Reports. Come prepared with a few ideas of LMS reports you would like created, and ask the vendor to walk you through the processing of creating Ad Hoc Reports.
5. Go For a Test Drive on Your Own
Ask for a trial so that you can explore the solution yourself. Most vendors provide a sandbox that will allow you to run reports and interact with the system’s functions, so try creating your own custom or configurable reports. If you get stuck, it’s a good opportunity to test out their customer support. Give them a call, so that you can get an idea of the level of service you will receive.
6. Support & Training
Inquire about the resources that will be available to you during and after the implementation processes. Are there any ‘How-To’ documents or videos that will help you along the way? Do they provide training? These elements are going to be crucial to your LMS reporting success. Ask these questions in advance, so that you are equipped with information to help you make your decision.
7. Customer References
Ask the vendor for customer references so that you can get a good idea of what the experience will be like. Was there a steep learning curve? What have the limitations and frustrations been with the tool? You should also inquire about the types of reports they are able to create - For example, if they were able to make custom or configurable LMS reports, and how easy the process was. You might even ask to see some example if they are willing!
8. Enhancements & Roadmaps
Ask about the enhancements and roadmaps from the past year, and the next 1-2 years. This will help you understand how the LMS reporting solution will be able to accommodate you in the future. Select a flexible and agile firm that is positioned to develop iterations quickly.
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