LMS Version 3.5 Nov 2019 Release Notes turn off the lights.

LMS Version 3.5 Nov 2019 Release Notes

The purpose of this document is to provide clients with an update on new and enhanced LMS functionality that is available as part of the Dynamic LMS version 3.5 November 2019 release. This release contains multiple plugin updates which have been developed specifically by Dynamic – these are not core Moodle updates. You may decide not to use all of these functions, but they are available for use within the platform once upgraded.

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Please note: The terminology used in this document is the standard language pack text. If you have changed the names of reports or other text, then be aware that this document will not refer to the custom text visible in your LMS.

This upgrade will be available from December 2019 and all clients will be upgraded by March 2020. This is classed as a major point upgrade for clients already on an earlier release of the Dynamic LMS 3.5. The LMS platform will need to be put into maintenance mode for approximately 2 hours to allow for appropriate back-ups to be taken and the upgrade to be completed and tested. Your theme design and user dashboard layout, along with any language pack customisations, will be unaffected by this upgrade.

New and updated functions

Display change for managers

System administrators and group managers who see the Management link in the main navigation, will now see an enhanced tabbed display:

management-screenshot

  • The manager Dashboard tab is now called Training – this is because all the charts and alert blocks relate to courses and training records for users. The manager dashboard has also been enhanced (detailed later in this document).
  • If a group manager has been given Appraisal manager access, then they will see an Appraisals tab which will give them access to the groups of users they have been assigned as an Appraisal manager for.
    • Clients who are using appraisals will need to ensure that any Group manager who needs to run reports on appraisals or access staff appraisals is assigned as an Appraisal manager.
    • Clients not using appraisals will not need to do anything as, by default, Group managers are now Training managers, i.e. they can see training reports but cannot see staff appraisals and do not see an Appraisals tab.
  • The Reports tab contains enhanced reports (see later in this document).
  • The Groups tab contains enhanced group functions (see later in this document).
  • A new Partitions tab is available (see later in this document).
  • A new Admin tools tab is available for system administrators which provides some additional features.

Manager dashboard

The manager dashboard was a new feature released in the last upgrade. It has undergone a significant reworking to include a range of enhanced features:

  • More options for the manager to change the chart ordering and chart displays and then set all these as default values.

dashboard-settings-1

  • The chart order can be reordered based on the most/least completions or most/least outstanding as well as alphabetically.

dashboard-settings-2

  • The charts display can be changed from users to courses, and to any profile field that exists in your LMS platform. For example, a Group manager who is an area manager may not want to see user records, but instead may want to compare the locations in their area. They could change the Chart order to Least completions and change the Chart display to a specific profile field (in this example Location) and then make these the defaults. The area manager can now always see which locations have the least course completions.

  • Clicking the alert blocks automatically runs the report. For example, an alert block states “3 users have an expired course accreditation”. Clicking on this block will run the report and show you those three users.

  • Clicking the user’s name in the chart displays their full training record via the individual user report.

  • The manager dashboard tour has been updated to include additional information about the dashboard settings.

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Please note the following settings for the manager dashboard:

  • Suspended users are not included.
  • Untracked courses are not included.
  • Hidden courses are not included if the hidden courses are also excluded from the reports.
  • The manager dashboard results represent the exact same information that that you will see in a report.
  • Bug fix – Completion rate chart display issue in Chrome browser is now corrected.
  • Bug fix – Accreditation charts no longer include orphaned accreditations (courses that have originally been accreditations, but now have had the accreditation removed).
  • Bug fix – Chart x-axis no longer shows partial values.

Reports

The site reports include a new report for Group managers, along with several enhancements to the existing reports and some bug fixes.

  • Every report is now linked to a specific user capability in the LMS platform. By default, system administrators are given all these capabilities. However, this means that if you wanted a person to have access to a specific report or reports, you can create a custom role and simply assign the specific report capabilities to that role. For example, you want a Learning & Development person to manage your training courses and run reports on all training in the LMS, but don’t want them to access appraisal reports. This can now be done by creating a different site manager role that doesn’t allow access to those specific reports or related functions.

  • New accreditation summary report for Group managers. This report provides the total number of users who are accredited, expired, etc. Previously, this type of report was only available to system administrators. This summary level report can be useful for area managers who want to see the total number of accreditation compliance, rather than named individuals.

  • To and From date filters have been added to the deadlines report.

  • An All status reporting option has been added to the Accreditation report and Deadline report.

  • The number of activities completed is now shown in the Course Completion report. This information was previously only available in the Course Deadlines report.

  • A new configuration setting (under Site administration > Plugins > Local plugins > Site reports) allows you to change the colours in the manager dashboard accreditation compliance charts. The default colours are shown below.

chart-colours

  • Bug fix – The User training record report, search facility, now shows results for all users matching the search criteria. Previously, this list would only show a maximum of 50 users as there was no pagination available.

  • Bug fixAccreditation summary report now ignores suspended enrolments.

  • Bug fix – If the user profile data (e.g. job title, location, etc.) included a question mark character, this resulted in report output errors. This has now been corrected.

Groups

The site groups function has been reworked to improve the usability of the interface for system administrators and group managers. Some functional enhancements have also been made.

  • A new configuration option for groups (under Site administration > Plugins > Local plugins > Site groups) allows you to display specific columns in the Group view. The columns available to show/hide are:
    • Type
    • Members
    • Rules
    • Managers
    • Courses
  • New edit icons within the Site groups allows direct access to edit that specific function within that group (spanner icon).

groups

  • When viewing the members of a group, the Options are now selected via a drop-down list, rather than various icons. As we have added more functions into groups, this method makes it more user-friendly, as well as being more scalable for adding additional links in the future.

members

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Please note: Group managers will need to have the new Appraisal manager assignment in order to see the Last completed review and Next review columns and the options for Appraisals, Objectives, Development needs and Recognition. Group managers who have the new Training manager assignment will just see the options for User profile and Training record. See the notes below.

  • System administrators now have the flexibility to assign a Group manager as a Training manager and/or an Appraisal manager. Appraisal managers see the Appraisal tab when accessing the Management link and can only see appraisal reports. Training managers see the Training tab when accessing the Management link and can only see training reports. A user with both of these assignments (i.e. Training manager and Appraisal manager for a group, can see all training records and all appraisal records for that group of users).

managers

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Please note: During the upgrade, by default, your Group managers will become Training managers. If you already use appraisals and you would like your existing Group managers to also be Appraisal managers, then contact Dynamic who will assign this role to Group managers automatically during the upgrade.

  • Bug fix – If the user profile data (e.g. job title, location, etc.) included a question mark character, then this resulted in user group update errors. This has now been fixed.

New system roles

New system level roles have been created to provide more flexibility:

  • The Group manager role still exists, but you now have two further specific system roles for Training manager and Appraisal manager.
  • Systems training manager is a new role below the main LMS Administrator, which can manage all users, groups and training courses, but not have access to or report on appraisals.

Partitions

All users in the LMS platform see the same list of courses within the course catalogue. They may not be able to self-enrol onto all the courses (as you may not have all your courses set for self-enrolment), but users will still see all the courses. A new function has been developed which allows clients to create partitions of the LMS platform:

  • The partitions are based on existing groups in the LMS platform. So, for example, your company may be divided into three separate divisions. You will now be able to create three partitions (one for each division) based on having a group set up for each division. Users will then only see courses for their division. Another example is that you may decide to create a partition for managers (by matching job roles or job titles in a group) by having a manager’s partition – you can then limit your management courses to be just available to the managers in your organisation.
  • Each partition can also be used to assign a different logo and colour theme for your LMS platform if you wish.
  • Each course in the LMS platform can be assigned to one partition or to several partitions. A user may be in one or several partitions. This provides the flexibility to restrict course availability to various groups of users.
  • By default, a course is available to all users in the LMS platform until you decide to limit the access to a specific partition or partitions.

partitions

Admin tools

  • Shortcut to add a new user. In the future we will use this Admin tools area to provide further quick links to the most common tools and function settings.
  • Access the latest administrator guide for your new version of the LMS platform.
  • A new tool allows system administrators to list all the courses in the LMS platform and at a glance, see all the settings applied to these courses and then quickly access the course if required. Previously, system administrators would have to access each course individually and check several settings to find out how each course was configured.

all-courses-with-settings

Course enrolment notification

You can now send course enrolment notification emails to users as they get enrolled onto courses. This can be set to send an email for each course that the user is enrolled on (instant email), or these can be rolled into one email per night for users which includes all the courses that the user has been enrolled onto during that day – this is useful if you tend to use groups to assign multiple courses to users in one go, as it prevents multiple separate emails being sent to a user at the same time.

  • The settings are held in Plugins > Local plugins > Enrolment notification.
  • Each individual course can be set to send enrolment notifications or not. This is under the course Actions menu as Enable enrolment notifications.

enrolment-notifications

  • These course enrolment emails are completely separate to course deadline reminder emails or course accreditation reminder emails.

Statutory and Mandatory course types

In the last upgrade, a new function called Course types allowed courses to be assigned as Priority. When users saw this course in their Active Learning block the word ** Priority ** was visible. No other functionality was linked to the Priority courses. The Course type function has now been enhanced to enable Statutory course types and Mandatory course types along with original Priority course type.

  • Course types allow a course to be assigned as Statutory, Mandatory or Priority. Statutory and Mandatory assignments can be for all users enrolled on the course or just specific users based on rules (very similar to how group rules work). Some examples are explained here:
    • A Fire Safety course is set as Statutory for all users.
    • A Data Protection course is set as Statutory for users in the Customer Services team and Mandatory for everyone in the Retail department. Any other users enrolled on the course have no specific assignment type.
    • A Communication course is set as Mandatory for all users who are a manager grade and Priority for everyone else in the business.
    • Below is how Course types now appear when you access it for a specific course:

course-type

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Please note: Priority course tracking and statutory/mandatory course tracking can be switched on or off depending upon your preferences. This is under Site administration > Course types. If you elect not to use course types, then you will have no need for the additional filtering in the reports, so to avoid confusion for your Group managers, the course assignment types filtering in the reports can also be removed using a configuration setting (under Site administration > Plugins > Local plugins > Site reports).

  • A new optional block on the manager training dashboard can be enabled which allows the manager to see at a glance what the break down is for the Compliance levels for their group. This complements the existing Compliance rate block.

dahsboard-charts

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Please note: Even if you decide not to use the new statutory and mandatory types function, we recommend, as good practice, that you set all your compliance courses to be accreditations – either as a permanent accreditation, or if it’s a repeat compliance course, then set the accreditation with an expiry period. This is so that managers can easily check their compliance rates using the accreditation charts on the manager dashboard.

  • Statutory and mandatory course types can only be set on accreditation courses. This is so that the compliance levels are based on the accreditation status of Accredited and Awaiting reaccreditation rather than on the course completion status, which gets reset to Not started when the user hits the reaccreditation window and would therefore not give an accurate representation of compliance.
  • Each course level report now has an extra filter so that you can report on users with specific assignment types. This filter defaults to Any assignment type – the options for filtering are:
    • Any assignment types
    • Priority assignments
    • Statutory assignments
    • Mandatory assignments
    • Statutory and mandatory assignments

accreditation-compliance-rag-1

  • The course level reports now display a column for the Assignment type:

accreditation-compliance-rag-2

Face-to-face activity

This activity is used by many clients to manage their classroom training. A key enhancement has been made as well as fixing several minor bugs.

  • View sessions and sign-up directly from the course catalogue page. Previously, for a user to see the different face-to-face training sessions, they would have to firstly enrol on the course, but then if there were no suitable sessions, they were now enrolled on the course and would have to unenroll to remove the course from their lists. Now, users can view the training sessions directly from the course catalogue page – this allows them to see if there is a suitable session before enrolling on the course. If there is a suitable session, they can then sign-up to it directly from the course catalogue.

category-list

  • Clicking on the View sessions link on the right-hand side will then display the sessions to the user prior to enrolling on the course. The user can sign-up to a session and this also enrols them onto the course.

facetoface-upcoming-session

  • Bug fix – When a face-to-face activity is set to display on the Calendar block, this was not working correctly for the Site level. This is now displaying correctly based on the following options:
    • None - This specific session will only show on the user’s calendar if they are confirmed as booked on a particular session.
    • Course - All sessions will display on the user’s calendar as a course event, but only if they are enrolled on the course.
    • Site - All sessions will display on all users’ calendars as a site-wide event, i.e. to advertise the session to all users on the site.
  • Bug fix – When a session spans across 2 days or more this only displayed the first day in the calendar and in the email notification to users. This has now been corrected.
  • Bug fix – When displaying sessions on the course page, large amounts of text did not wrap correctly. This has now been corrected.

Course catalogue

The LMS now has the option to change the display from a list view to a box view with images for each category and sub-category box.

  • Under Site administration > Appearance > Theme personalisation there is a setting to change the Course catalogue display from a category tree to category boxes. Then use the Site administration > Appearance > Add category images setting to add and replace your category images.
  • As well as adding images, if you include a category description when you create the category, this text will also appear below the category name.

course-category-boxes

Appraisals

Some clients use the appraisal function to create online appraisal templates and manage their entire appraisal process via the LMS platform. Previously, the only way that an appraiser could access an appraisee’s form was for that appraiser to be set as a Group manager. However, for most organisations, this appraiser/appraisee relationship did not exist within the HR system that was populating user records in the LMS platform, therefore, the groups had to be created manually as ad hoc groups and the users manually updated. This was a significant administrative burden to LMS administrators, so several new functions now exist that allow the following:

  • Users can assign their own appraisal template form (previously a manager/appraiser had to do this).
  • Users can select an appraiser from any user in the LMS platform (they do not have to be Group managers). The appraiser receives an email that they have been selected to appraise that person on that specific form. They can accept or reject the request. The user receives an acceptance or rejection email from the appraiser.
  • When clicking on the Appraisal link in the main navigation, all users now see two tabs: My appraisals and All appraisals. Selecting My appraisals just lists the appraisal forms for that user as an appraisee. Selecting All appraisals shows them the users and forms that they need to appraise. If they do not need to appraise anyone then this will say so.

apraisals

  • At any point, the user can assign an appraiser or a viewer of one of their appraisal forms and at any time they can remove access for someone. This allows an organisation to deploy the appraisal form(s) much more easily without the need to manage the relationships between appraisees and appraisers via the Groups. Essentially, the appraisee manages this along with their appraiser.
  • A user who is job sharing may have two appraisals with two different managers; this is now possible using this function. The appraisee would see both appraisal forms, but each manager would only see the form they were appraising (unless the appraisee gave them view access for the other appraisal form).
  • System administrators can report out on all appraisal completions in the normal way. System administrators can assign and unassign appraisers and viewers on behalf of appraisees if they need to.
  • New email settings now exist which can send reminder emails to both the user and their appraiser if the appraisal is not completed.
  • Bug fix – The overall grade did not display in the final section tab of an appraisal form if there were no other questions or labels in that final section. This is now fixed. A final section tab without any questions or labels will now just show the overall grade question (assuming it has been set within the template).

Next release:

Dynamic LMS standard edition 3.9 November 2020 release

The next upgrade will be a major upgrade to version 3.9. This upgrade will be available in November 2020 and all clients will be upgraded by 31 December 2020.

Support for Moodle version 3.5 ends in May 2021, therefore, Dynamic will be unable to support clients who elect to remain on version 3.5 beyond May 2021.

If you would like any further information about the upcoming upgrade please contact the helpdesk through our helpdesk channels.

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