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I am managing a LMS (Learning Management System) system which provide the user with the ability to create courses with a curriculum. A curriculum within a course might include different type of activities such as (Lessons, Drills, Lectures, Test, Assignments etc...)

In the LMS system a user can Add an "Activity" object to the curriculum tree. The activity object can be defined as follows:

  1. Activity details: Name, Description, Type etc..
  2. Evaluation tool: Can be (Status declaration, Test, Assessment, Scorm Object etc..)
  3. Objectives: The activity objectives (Can be empty)
  4. Attachments: The user can add attachments to support the activity, such as Presentation, document or a movie. (Can be empty)
  5. Resources Requirements: The uses can define what are the resources needed to conduct the activity. Not every activity has resources requirements. (Can be empty)
  6. Prerequisites: The users adds other activities that are prerequisites to that one. (Can be empty)
  7. Additional Requirements: You can consider it as a checklist for the activity: (Can be empty)

My customer asked me to create a report which gives him a way to control and manage the curriculum creation process. He requested aggregate information like this:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

I think that the aggregate information not supporting the task very well because:

Reason 1

In the report you can see that 2 resources has been defined for the activity called lessons. Only the user knows that there should be 2 resources. so in his point of view this activity is done. But he can't know if the Right resources were define. for example a lesson might require 1 instructor and 1 class, but the one who create the lessons has define 1 computer room and 1 conference room.

Reason 2

Because only the user can know what the activity should include, i can't give him alerts in the report or completion percentage which indicate that he finish creating the lessons as needed.

I an suggesting the following:

mockup

download bmml source

My solution provides:

The all needed information, but the user not getting a full overview. I don't think a full overview is the right choice for controlling or managing the curriculum creation process.

Edit

I have considered to create them both that my report will be a drill-down from the aggregate report. but i think it is very annoying to do many drill-downs and back to the main report. specially when i can't give him a list of activity needed a review.

What do you think?

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What the h... is an LMS system? I am sure you don't mean "like my status" or "Limburgs Metaal Spuitbedrijf"? –  Marjan Venema Jan 28 '13 at 8:14
    
Sorry LMS is learning management system –  silagy Jan 28 '13 at 8:15
    
Are you managing an existing third party FOSS or commercial LMS or is this a custom build? –  Charles Wesley Jan 28 '13 at 17:54
    
This is a custom build, but the fact that i am managing a LMS system is not relevant. It was only a background information to support the question –  silagy Jan 28 '13 at 18:55
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1 Answer 1

I think that you cannot get away from displaying some of aggregate information. Seems that there is a block missing between the two examples you displayed above:

  • from one side you have list of activities with aggregate information.
  • From the othe side you have a very detailed information about specific activity.

I think that you most put a sub-level between these two: for example a list of activities grouped by subject / type / date range. you dont have to display the full list - you can use parameter as initial fiter.

In addition I would consider to present the data transversely, (for example to display attachements of selected activities in single screen).

Another option you should consider: drop the idea of presenting the data as a visual report. you can give the user an option to select several activities (or group of activities based on subject / type / date range) and generate a PDF report of all the activities data (one activity per page) according to your 2nd reason balsamiq sketch. that way your customer will have the option to print the document in order to verify the data more easily.

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