Information is power. But actionable information depends on reliable data. Successful training companies continually collect, clean, and analyze user data to create information that enables them to offer more efficient and customized client experiences. Choosing an LMS that helps you automate this data-to-information process is essential. In this article, we outline four reports that a training provider should take advantage of in order to:

  • Capture user data to improve training content
  • Provide insight and proof of learning in your training courses
  • Market the success of your training programs to future clients
  • Prepare for accreditation and compliance audits

Training providers who use these four reports can reliably produce useful information to help their companies grow.

Four Reports That You Need to Use

Collecting the right reports starts with selecting a compatible learning management system (LMS). You need to use an LMS that accepts data from your e-learning content (e.g., Storyline- and Adobe-produced content). Today, many LMS have this feature to some extent. If yours does not, you may need to switch to a more robust LMS to use the following reports.

You also want to look for the types and robustness of reporting features available in a given LMS. It needs to produce the reports that you need in the way that you want across your entire portfolio—as it exists today and as it may grow into tomorrow.

Double-check that your LMS exports its reports in every format that your clients may request and in a manner that your team can quickly use for marketing and instructional design purposes. Make sure your LMS exports reports in the following formats:

  • CSV / Excel. These files are ideal for data analysis and can be used for statistical analysis.
  • PDF. This is ideal for producing short, readable reports that can be sent straight to clients, saving your team time.
  • XML. This is perfect for producing HTML-powered data dashboards or creating interactive information visualizations.

Many LMS will meet the above criteria and offer various reports. However, don’t be too easily persuaded by report-type quantity, as sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Your goal is to choose an LMS that offers the most valuable types of reports.

Also, not all are created equal. The following reports that training providers should take advantage of are more valuable than most others.

1. Starts and Completions Report

Though not the most advanced report available, nothing is as essential as the starts and completions report. It enables you to see how many learners have begun and finished your training courses.

These reports offer three key advantages:

  1. Enrollment trends. Over time, you can see which courses are popular among learners and when. Use this data to market the classes or send client internal-email reminders to those who have not finished training.
  2. Average completion times. You can determine how long it is taking learners, on average, to complete a training course from start to finish.
  3. Descriptive statistics. Quickly tabulate the percentage of trainees completing courses, and use this data to help market the course further—e.g., “75% of client employees finish the training program within a week of starting.”

The power of this report lies in its longitudinal data. The information can help you identify and fix common training issues by providing fundamental attributes about user experience in the course.

If learners aren’t completing the course, there may be an issue with the instructional design of the materials. Perhaps a module is plagued with poorly designed navigation, affecting learners’ ability to advance.

Suppose that you are selling a new course to the general public via Shopify. If this report identifies that course uptake is slow compared to previous offerings, you may have a problem with your marketing strategy—you may not be appealing to the right target audience.

Likewise, if you sold your course to a business client, you can identify if your client’s learners are starting or finishing the course. If not, you can double-check with your client that they are communicating the training requirements to their learners. You can also ensure that automated reminder emails are enabled and functioning correctly.

2. Participant Status Summary

While a starts and completions report offers a general overview of learner progress in a course, a participant status summary report provides a detailed accounting of participant data across your entire training portfolio.

It also offers you the ability to dive into a specific course or completion status to retrieve individual user data. Combining the participant status summary report with the former provides a comprehensive overview of how your training program is going.

The participant status summary enables you to analyze how many learners have:

  • Started/not started
  • Passed/failed
  • Exceeded the course time limit

You can even identify individual learner trends across courses. You can determine whether particular learners are struggling regardless of the training content. You can also identify learners who are sailing through the courses. Participant status summaries enable you to dive into the data to explore individual learner successes, difficulties, and progress across your courses.

One of the best features of the participant status summary report, as it exists in the Firmwater LMS, is that you can filter the data based on location, department, job title, and course type.

Filtering enables you to gain insight into how different demographics achieve—or fail to achieve—their learning goals. You can identify trends based on attributes such as:

  • Level of employment
  • Department climate
  • Job titles

The participant status summary enables you to highlight these trends and point them out to your business clients. Should you decide to redesign any lessons, the data can help guide you.

Beyond course evaluation, upkeep, and marketing data, the participant status report makes it easy to provide extra customer care, often a differentiator when it comes to securing B2B contracts. It’s simple to export a readable PDF report of every employee’s progress and takes mere seconds to export a CSV file with a list of all the users who have not yet completed the course or may need a reminder.

The participant status summary is one of the reports that every training provider should take advantage of because it helps avoid common training problems. You can have immediate oversight of all your current courses and see exactly how many users apply to each status.

For example, if you run this report and notice that you have many users who are “overdue” for a particular course, you can do a deep dive of just the overdue users, create a CSV report with the users’ emails, and reach out to them directly. Letting your clients know that you can help them keep track of their employees’ progress offers a level of service that your competitors may not be able to match.

3. Activity Detail Report

While the previous reports focus on high-level course status information, the activity detail report breaks down the data even further. Use this report to find information about a module or assessment attempt (e.g., quizzes).

The activity detail report lets you break down and analyze each user’s attempt at a specific course. You can see when they started a module within a class, how long it took them to complete a particular module, their scores on different assessments, the duration between finishing one module and beginning another, and even their current status in the course.

This report helps you understand how long people are taking to finish a course or module. If people take longer than expected, they may be running into a content or navigation error. It could be worth double-checking your content or reaching out to that specific user to discover the issue before other users encounter similar problems.

The activity detail report also enables you to compare data from module to module within a single course. So, if users are not completing the training in the expected time, you can use this report to investigate if a particular module is holding up learners.

4. Interaction Data Report

Interaction data reports are not solely dependent upon your LMS, as your e-learning content also plays a key role. The LMS acts as a receptacle for interactive data. But it can only receive data if your content pushes it out.

You should always design your learning content in software that exports this interaction data. If you aren’t using it already, you need to start using SCORM-compliant e-learning content software (e.g., Adobe Captivate and Articulate). It enables your LMS to import near-real-time activity data directly.

Other factors to consider when it comes to SCORM:

  • Publish your content using SCORM 2004 (as opposed to version 1.2).
  • Always check that you are designing your content with the correct quizzing type. For example, “Knowledge Checks” in Articulate are not sent to an LMS and will therefore be omitted from any interaction data report.

Get ready to roll in useful data once you’re all set up with an LMS designed for trainers and SCORM-compliant e-learning content.

The interaction data report is arguably the most crucial report available. You can access question-and-answer data for any learner on any given assessment. You will also be able to quickly identify pain points, including problematic questions in your tests.

Besides identifying poorly worded questions and problematic learning outcomes, the interaction data report is ideal for identifying errors in the e-learning content itself. You may discover that you have a misconfigured answer key or that information is included on the test that is missing from the lesson.

From a legal standpoint, interaction data reports prove that users answered specific questions in a certain way and are learning—or not learning—content. The information can be helpful for legal reasons (e.g., compliance training or audits).

When coupled with the previous three reports, interaction data reports provide you with deity-like insight over your entire suite of courses. Research has shown that data mining interaction data may provide your company with an “early warning system” for issues in your courses or with specific learners.


There are many different types of reports that training providers should take advantage of in e-learning. However, four training reports rise above all the rest: starts and completions, participant status, activity detail, and interaction data. These are vital to building a reputable, client-focused, responsive training business.

To quickly access these reports, you need to select an LMS designed for training providers. Successful training companies use LMS and e-learning applications that export the datasets that they need in real time and in the desired format.

Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.

Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!