Observation Checklists

by Wisetail Technical Support

E-Learning is great, but it cannot and will not ever fully replace the in-person training experience. What’s that, you ask? The next best thing? Observation checklists. That’s right: marry eLearning with in-person evaluations and — BAM — you have one of our favorite features in observation checklists.

Observation checklists offer your learners a blended learning opportunity by allowing an admin to define in-person criteria items. Learners can review these criteria before proceeding with the in-person training. After the training, an observer can record in the LMS the learner’s results and score for each item. Follow along and learn how to use this feature.

Start with the who

Observation checklists are comprised of two main elements: The Who and the What. Who is being observed? Who is observing? On what training are the learners being observed? These relationships are important to think through before building your checklists. You’ll need to identify which users will have observer abilities and, in turn, which users fit into their audience (i.e. who the observers will observe).

Let’s begin by navigating to the content tab in the admin tool and clicking on the ‘checklist’ pill. From here, click the blue ‘Create Observation Checklist’ button and give the checklist a title and (optional) description.


Next, you’ll see an ‘Observation Groups’ header and a blue ‘Add Observer Group’ button. Go ahead and click the add observer group button.


Defining an observer group is a two-part process that begins with defining who will be doing the observations via the ‘Add Observers’ button and then defining who they will be observing via the ‘Define Audience’ button. Each button will lead to the rules engine.


PRO TIP: You can link an audience location to the admin’s location. When in the rules engine, select ‘Location’ as the profile field and for the value select ‘Admin’s Value’. For example, if you would like GMs at a location to serve as observers for every learner at their location you can achieve this by defining the observer as ‘Title is GM’ and the audience as ‘Location’ IS ‘Admin’s Value’. The LMS would look into a GM’s profile and match the audience’s location value with the same value in the GM’s profile. Pretty cool, right?

Observation Items

We’ve defined the observer-observee relationship. Now, we need to define what items will be evaluated in-person for the observee (the What). We will walk you through this step now!

Below the observer groups is an ‘Observation Checklist Items’ header with the option to ‘Add Checklist Item’. Go ahead and add an item:


Each item is a criteria item the observee gets evaluated on in-person. Below is a definition for each section:

Title: This is the evaluation item title for the learner to know what they are being evaluated on. For example, ‘Greeting guests with proper greeting and smile.’

Description: This is a description for the learner to review in advance of being observed. For example, ‘Did the observee use the correct verbiage in greeting the customer while smiling?’

Observer instructions: These are seen ONLY by the observer when they are actually doing an observation. These could be instructions on what they should be looking for during an in-person evaluation.

Rating System: This comprises of 3 rating scales for the observation item.

  • Pass/Fail
  • 1 – 3 Scale
  • 1 – 5 Scale

Continue building all of the criteria items into the checklist and choose the appropriate rating scale for each. Be sure to include some instructions for the observers on how to appropriately rate each item!


To the right, in the checklist profile, you will see an option stating ‘Require User Acknowledgement?’ with a yes/no option. This setting indicates whether a learner would need to manually click a ‘Ready to be Observed’ button on the learner tool before they could be observed.


By clicking this button, the user is added to a ‘checklist queue’ for the observers. This will also generate an email notification to the observer letting them know they have a learner who is ready to be observed.

Once you’ve completed the checklist be sure to pull it into a module and let the blended learning begin!

Observe a learner

An observer can access the observation tool in two different ways:

If a ‘Checklist Queue’ widget is added to any page in the site (most commonly on the homepage) an observer will be able to view users in their queue and launch an observation. Note: This only works if the Observation checklist is set to ‘Yes’ on ‘Requires user acknowledgment?’

Checklist observers will have the gears in the top right of their navigation bar to access the admin tool. When accessing the tool, a checklist observer will only have the ‘Dashboard’ and ‘Content’ tab. When they select the ‘Content’ tab they will only have access to see the checklists in which they are defined as observers. From there, they can click into a checklist and view the queue from which they can launch an observation:


Great, so now we’ve covered how to access an observation. But, what does the observation actually look like from an observer’s perspective? Pretty easy and intuitive!


The observer will see a list of all defined observation items and their ‘Rating System.’ In the above image, we can see this checklist has only one criteria item with a pass/fail rating system. The ‘Optional Notes’ section is a place for the observer to leave internal notes.

After the observer goes through and rates each criteria item, they will click the blue ‘Review Observation’ item and, at this point, they will mark down either an overall pass or fail for the Checklist.


This area offers the observer an opportunity to add media, such as a photo, for the learner’s benefit to better understand why they passed or failed.

PRO TIP: All results are captured in an ‘Checklist Results Report’, so you can always see how individuals performed on an observation!


Observation checklists are an excellent way to bridge the gap between e-learning and in-person evaluations. Start using Observation Checklists now to augment your learning offerings! As always, if you have any questions please contact the CX team at cx@wisetail.com.

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