- As soon as the Report Filter feature is engaged, Absorb will alphabetically load all of the Report's Column Names, into the top drop-down menu shown in the Add Filter dialog box.
- (The LMS will also always pre-load a partial query using the first Column Name in the alphabetized list, as a prompt to demonstrate the mandatory components of a Filter.)
- From here, the Admin will select the specific Report Column that they want to use as the basis of their Report Filter (e.g. 'Last Name') from the same top drop-down menu.
Step Two - Operator Selection
- As part of the Report Column selection, the LMS will automatically load the relevant Report Filter Type to be used on the data set (e.g. 'Last Name' will load a 'Conditional Filter').
- Where applicable, this selection will be represented in the Add Filter dialog box by the addition of one or more, contextual drop down menus directly underneath the Report Column selection. These will contain any applicable Filter Operators that the Admin can utilize for further refining their Report's data set (e.g. the 'Last Name' - 'Starts With').
- For other Report Filter Types (e.g. Mandatory Filters) no Operator selections will be made available and the Admin will instead be required to directly make their Value selection instead (e.g. 'Course' will load the list of available training items in the portal's inventory).
- How the Filter Operators will be displayed in the dialog box is dependent upon which Filter the Admin has selected. (Refer back to the Report Filter Types descriptions above, for detailed information on each of the various formats.)
Step Three - Value Selection
- Once the Report Filter and Filter Operators are chosen, the Admin next needs to define the actual data Value that they want to use as the basis of their query.
- Again, this will be fully dependent on which Report Column (and Filter) that the Admin has chosen.
- The LMS may either provide the Admin with the option to choose from a list of data Values (i.e. Selectable Input) or add their own data Value, manually (i.e. Direct Input).
After these steps are complete, all that needs to be done is for the Admin to review their desired query and then engage the Filter.
As described several times in this topic, Absorb provides many different Report Filtering options to help the Admin make the best use of their LMS data, given the large and varied numbers of Report Columns contained in the LMS.
But one of the most potent aspects of the LMS's querying tool, is the ability to combine multiple Report Filters towards creating highly sophisticated filtering algorithms.
In Absorb, as soon as an Admin adds more than one Filter within a single Report Column; or, adds more than one Filter across multiple Report Columns; or chooses to do both, a Multi-Filter Condition ensues.
It does not matter which particular Report in the LMS that is being accessed, the two (or more) Report Filters that the Admin has created will have their individual data refinements logically combined by the program, in order to arrive at a final, amalgamated 'question' that will then be 'asked' of their portal's database.
Once engaged, Absorb will immediately return the refined data set that satisfies this query, which the Admin can then learn from and/or use to carry out further administrative tasks.
The main advantage to be had in using multiple Report Filters is being able to automate the acquiring of complex, actionable knowledge that could potentially take large amounts of complex reviewing and sorting work by the Admin, in order to accomplish manually.
The process of creating multiple combined queries in any relational database is not entirely unlike the workings of basic mathematics. Specifically, the way in which the Admin has the option to assemble sub-queries like a math equation, for use within a single Multi-Filter Condition.
And like basic math there are also rules and even a 'order of operations' that needs to be followed by the Admin, when fashioning their multi-part query.
"AND" Versus "OR" Report Filters
Admins have the ability to construct two types of Filters conditions in their Reports, depending on which particular Report Filters they decide to use:
- An "AND" Multi-Filter which excludes information in order to synthesize a refined result.
- An "OR" Multi-Filter which includes information in order to synthesize a refined result.
Inter-Column Versus Intra-Column Report Filters
It is very important to understand that with these two condition types, Absorb Admins are not free to pick and choose whichever Multi-Filter they want to utilize.
Instead both conditions are directly determined by the relationship that is created between the Report Filters upon being selected. How this works is:
- The "AND" Multi-Filter result is produced between multiple Report Columns.
- The "OR" Multi-Filter result is produced within a single Report Column.
This distinction is further explained in the Usage section directly below, but the following table summarizes the main differences.
|AND||Between Report Columns (Inter)||
Combines queries to find exact matches
|OR||Within Report Columns (Intra)||Separates queries to find any matches||Includes