The 3rd step to implementing an LMS successfully is its integration. An LMS may be integrated with a number of systems.
Here are some common system integrations:
- Systems containing user accounts and profiles
Systems containing user accounts and profiles are one of the most common LMS system integrations. Most businesses have Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS) that contain employee information, while some academic organizations have Student Information Systems (SIS) that contain student information, and some professional associations have Member Management Systems (MMS) that contain member information.
There are some organizations that offer training for extended enterprises through an LMS where they include a mix of customers, suppliers, dealers, agents, and distributors. For these, a list directory access protocol (LDAP) solution works well to track their extended enterprise users. So, to synchronize these user accounts with the LMS, a system interface needs to be developed.
Many LMS products have functionalities to import recurring data inputs from these systems. This can be done by developing a program that extracts data from the user account system and formats it as per the specifications of the LMS to import it. This can be done automatically on a nightly basis and you can have a system that has updated user accounts and profiles as required, on a regular basis.
If your organization has a smaller user base, you can implement an account create-or-change request process outside the LMS that will restrict the LMS account creation and management to administrators only. Hence, only authorized users will have the access to the LMS and it will reduce the risk of user-generated errors in the system and in the data. However, if there are too many users to manage accounts administratively, self-service user-accounts can be created.
Irrespective of your approach to managing your user accounts, ensure you have carefully checked the license agreement with your LMS vendor based on the number of active user accounts in your system.
- Single Sign-On (SSO)
Single-sign-on is yet another popular LMS integration that is helpful in avoiding multiple login details of different systems within an organization. With this, the user can log on to the network once, and can easily access multiple systems via a silent authentication process. It accepts credentials from the SSO solution and bypasses the login page of those systems.
Many LMS systems support a variety of SSO methods. You can connect your IT department with your LMS vendor to find the best way to implement SSO in your organization.
There are two ways of integrating with a portal:
- Deep linking: This enables you to capture web addresses of specific courses in your LMS and paste them on the portal. When a user clicks on ‘Deep Link’, it directs the user to the course page in the LMS.
- API or Application Programming Interface: This allows your IT department to access data and functionality of your LMS via programs and pull data dynamically which is then posted in the portal.
Integration of an LMS may involve both the methods too.
- Enterprise search platform
Although opting for integrating an LMS with an enterprise search platform has not gained much popularity in the recent past, it offers several advantages. Some of these are:
- It allows users to search for both, information and training material with a single search string from the LMS along with a knowledge management or content management system.
- Users can have a better search experience that tools like Google, Bing, or Yahoo provide to them. Integrating an enterprise search platform offers users to carry out an advanced search using parameters such as proximity ranking, controlled vocabulary, forms of word and spelling corrections.
However, the challenge lies in configuring a search platform to crawl the LMS database and index the course titles, metadata, and descriptions such that they can be easily searched.
Integrating eCommerce with an LMS is helpful for organizations that sell training courses online and require a credit card processing service in their LMS. There are some LMS products like Abara LMS which support eCommerce and can be easily configured to work with a variety of leading service providers of the industry.
The next step to successfully implement an LMS is Migration which we will be exploring in our next blog. So, come back to know about course and data migration in detail.
For more system integration and other LMS implementation related queries, get in touch with us today! For a free trial of Abara LMS, click here.