Within Absorb, there are two main ways in which Users can be segregated - of which Departments is one. This is due to the ability to filter many of Absorb’s reports based on User Departments. It allows Admins to pull focus into specific Users based on their distribution within their organization. They’re also the foundation from which you’ll manage users, deploy training activities, documentation and gather information.
Departments are the rigid structure of your LMS, with clear rules so you know what to expect. As you can see here in the Departments report, each Department has a parent and child where applicable. So careful thought when deciding on the Department structure is highly recommended before any other decision is made. If you have specific reporting needs for particular bodies of Users, you will likely want to set them up into Departments in order to utilize the granularity provided by Absorb reports when it comes to the ability to report by Department.
As you can see from the Groups report, there are no child or parent Groups and the report instead displays an overview of the number of Users in each, how the Users are added, as well as created and edited dates. Unlike Departments, Groups are primarily used for performing bulk actions on otherwise unrelated Users via Absorb’s availability rules. What this means is that you could manually take Users from 7 different Departments, and add them to a Group. Alternatively, Groups offer automatic filtering rules where an Admin can set up rules for your Users to be automatically added to Groups. As an example, a filter could be set up to look for all Users that have a job title of Assistant Manager, and pull them into the Group.
Once your Group is set up, you can utilize it in a number of ways to produce more efficient workflows. For example, you could make several Courses available to a Group for self-enrollment, or grant eligibility into a contest based on a Group.
Besides the primary goal of organizing Users, Admins can also be assigned to Groups which provides a flexible way to manage your Users, and assign content. Please note however, Admins can only be assigned to a single Group as we can see here in the Account tab of a User profile. However, switching over to the Department option, Admins can be assigned to multiple Departments by clicking on the Select Departments button here. Additional Departments as required can be added by clicking this blue Add Department button here. Additionally, it is good to keep in mind that Users can only be assigned to either Departments or a Group, but not both at the same time.
A consideration to make when determining whether an Admin will be assigned to a Department or Group is in what kind of access they need to be provided with regards to Online Courses, Curricula, and ILC’s. In the Availability tab of any of the three, Editors can be determined specifically by Department from the drop-down menu here. Only Admins assigned to the Departments chosen here will be able to edit this particular Course. Department Visibility works similarly where only those Admins assigned to the Departments selected here will be able to see the Course. This provides some manner of automation to allow multiple Admins to edit and see the Course, however it is possible to manually select additional Admins – like a Group Admin- from your Users to also Edit this Course.
Finally, the last point we will briefly touch on for Departments is the ability to customize the Learner UI. One of the benefits of using Departments in Absorb is in having custom themes and URLs created for individual Departments. This can provide a unique and tailored user experience for Departments as specified by a System Admin. Please note that any customization may incur a fee. You will want to reach out to your Client Success Manager to discuss requirements, and options.