Learner Transcripts: Tracking Learner Activity across a Learning Ecosystem

Whether you have a learning ecosystem or just a loose collection of learning platforms, systems, and tools, learning probably doesn’t happen in just one system. That makes keeping track of all an individual’s learning a challenge.

This post explores the value of having one unified learner transcript available to the learner themselves and anybody interested in their training. We’ll explain how Watershed can help you generate such a transcript that’s updated automatically and offer some tips on building a business case to justify the investment.

In the introduction to our series on building a business case for learning analytics, we encouraged you to select one or two items from a menu of use cases that are likely to have the most significant impact on your organization. Then, we looked at learner analytics as a general use case—and learner transcripts are a specific kind of learner analytics that may be relevant to your organization.

What Is a Learner Transcript?

A learner transcript is a complete record of someone’s learning activity. This includes learning that happens offline and on all of the systems and platforms they use to learn. Learner transcripts are most commonly used for compliance—to empower learners to keep track of what they have completed and what they still need to complete. It also enables managers to check learner progress.

You also can use learner transcripts to:

  • facilitate a conversation between learners and their manager or coach about their learning plans, and
  • support learners to look back on their learning activities and plan the next steps.

Learner transcripts in Watershed are flexible, configurable dashboards. So you can design the ideal learner transcript for your organization or each part of your organization. You can then make that information available to all your learners and their managers.

Choose from a variety of report types and visualizations to address the questions most relevant to your learners, including:

  • What learning have I completed?
  • What do I still need to complete?
  • What scores have I achieved?
  • Am I improving?
  • What feedback have I received from performance observations?
  • What time and which day of the week do I most commonly learn?
  • Am I spending more or less time learning than I used to?
  • How have I rated training, and what feedback comments have I left?
  • What development goals did I set for myself?

Learners and their respective managers, mentors, and coaches can ask all these questions.

Learner Transcripts in Practice: More Than Just a List of Courses

Watershed clients use learner transcripts to provide highly visual transcript dashboards to learners and those interested in their learning. These dashboards show recent learning activity and historical learning over time, assigned learning that needs to be completed, and upcoming training all in one easy-to-use dashboard.

One client even embeds links to training materials into the transcript dashboard for learners who want to understand how the transcript works or need help interpreting the reports. The following example gives you a flavor of how these dashboards look.

These transcripts include learning data from all of the learning systems, platforms, and content learners interact with—ensuring the learner only has one place to look when keeping track of their learning. This saves the learner and their manager time, where previously they both might have had to collect data from many systems themselves. Now the data flows into their learners’ transcripts automatically.

How Does Watershed Support Learner Transcripts?

Watershed delivers your learner transcript dashboard by aggregating together all the learner’s data into one place. Whatever the format and structure of that data, our implementation team will work with you to set up regular or real-time automatic data imports that run in the background. Then, we’ll help you configure the transcript dashboard (or dashboards) that are most appropriate for your people.

Once that’s set up, learners can seamlessly access their dashboards from their learning systems via single sign-on (SSO). While the data flows in the background, they’ll see a simple, clear dashboard presenting all of their learning activity. You can even embed reports from learner transcript dashboards into other systems, such as an LMS or LXP.*

Making the Case: What’s in It for the Business?

The main business case for learner transcripts is saving time for learners and their managers. Rather than learners compiling data from multiple systems every time they want to view their transcripts, they can instantly access one dashboard with everything presented together.

Imagine you have 10,000 learners who each spend 30 minutes compiling their transcripts from multiple systems. That’s 5,000 hours or the equivalent of 2 to 3 full-time employees—even if learners only compile a transcript just once per year. And if you serve more than 10,000 learners, the benefits are even more significant.

But Watershed doesn’t just generate a transcript once per year. Instead, the transcript is automatically updated with the latest data so learners and those interested in their learning can check the transcript as needed.

The learners can use the transcript to help guide and motivate their learning. Managers and others can use transcripts to support learners, identify and celebrate top performers on their teams, or recommend content based on what top performers use.

How Can I Convince Stakeholders of Watershed’s Value?

To convince stakeholders in your organization, why not do the math yourself? How long does it take learners to compile their learning transcripts from disparate systems in your organization? Multiply that by the number of learners in the org, their average hourly rates, and the number of times they compile the transcript per year.

This information helps you calculate the total annual cost to your organization for not only manually creating learner transcripts, but also the minimum value that using Watershed for learner transcripts can offer. (You do, of course, need to apply the numbers relevant to your situation.) And don’t forget the added benefits of always having an up-to-date transcript.

Combine that total with other reasons to use Watershed (e.g. data conversion, centralized reporting, tailored dashboards, etc.) that we’ll cover in this series. You can easily see that Watershed adds value above its costs very quickly.

Understand your stakeholders and how they will benefit from a unified learner transcript.

Use the following table as a guide for ensuring you’ve included relevant information that will speak to each of your key stakeholders.

Meet Your Stakeholders

StakeholderPain PointsBenefits
Instructional DesignersTroubleshooting issues reported by individual learners.See the details of a learner’s activity prior to reporting an issue.
ComplianceCheck the complete compliance record for an individual learner.See a single record for an individual across all the platforms they use.
Line ManagersGet a complete view of a team member’s learning in order to support their development. Get a complete view of a team member’s learning in order to support their development.
LearnersHaving to collect learning records from all over the place.A one-stop-shop for all their learning records in one place.

Next Course: Digital Credentialing Made Easy

Learner transcripts are just one type of learner analytics. For instance, PwC uses Watershed to report on digital credentials issued via Credly (watch the webinar for all the details).

In the next post, we’ll consider the business case for digital credentials themselves and for including Watershed as part of your digital credentials implementation.

*Requires the system embedding the reports to support HTML embedding and be able to act as an SSO identity provider

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