DIY: How to Serve Up a Perfect Pie Chart for L&D


What better time than Pi(e) Day to delve into the world of pie charts? Even though you're probably familiar with these circular graphs, are you creating and using them to their fullest advantage? Chances are, you're missing out on some easy wins in telling a story with your data—and here's why.

Let's start with the basics. Pie charts are designed to show how smaller parts represent proportions of a whole. In other words, this type of chart is ideal for showing how a group is broken down into smaller pieces.

Watershed Pie Chart DataWhen it comes to learning and development, pie graphs are great for:

  • tracking compliance,
  • showing popular content, or
  • seeing how people answer an assessment question.

Ready to dish up some L&D Data?

The next time you're craving some pie, keep these pointers in mind:

  1. These charts work best for larger values (e.g. 20% or greater), as smaller percentages—or slices—may be difficult to distinguish.

  2. Pie graphs are meant to convey information in a simple, visual way, so limit charts to about five categories, or slices. Fewer slices means information will be easier to view and comprehend. And keep labels short so they’re easy to read. (TIP: When trying to show a large number of categories, try a bar chart.)

  3. Use colors that easily differentiate between slices. Your pallet should include colors that work well together, but be careful not use colors that are too distracting or similar in shade or hue.

  4. Remember, each part is separate from one another (i.e., there’s no overlap between categories), which means pie charts shouldn’t be used to compare one piece to another in the same chart. Rather, you should look at the chart as a whole.

Recommended Reading 

What’s a Pie Report?
Dish up beautiful, new Watershed reports and slice your data however you like.

Compliance Tracking with Pie Reports
See how one Watershed client uses Pie Reports for employee compliance tracking and certifications.

How to Demo Real xAPI Data without Compromising Privacy
See how Visa uses Rocket League to demo real xAPI data sets in Watershed reports—including Pie Reports—without compromising data privacy.

Watershed Pie Charts & Reports

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Brooks Alford

About The Author

As Director of Client Success, Brooks provides client training and implementation support, maintains Watershed’s roadmap, and prioritizes feature development.