Learning Technology Integrations – A Quick Guide
Often, a challenge in using information systems in complex organisations is that the systems don’t talk to each other. Information is scattered and outdated, transition between different systems is not easy and it’s hard to get a unified view of what’s going on as data is spread across multiple silos in different formats. Hence, system integrations have become important. As more technologies emerge in L&D, the topic has become important here too. Therefore, we put together a quick guide on the most relevant learning technology integrations you should know. Take a look!
Single Sign-on Integration
Single sign-on (SSO) is a basic learning technology integration but a handy one. With SSO, your users are able to login to the different learning technology systems by using their existing company accounts. For instance, say you have Microsoft accounts that employees use for identifying themselves. Instead of having to remember a new set of login credentials, employees are able to login to other systems with them.
The benefits of SSO integration include user experience and security. Moving between different systems is much easier when you don’t have to login separately. Also, less credentials means more security. Furthermore, as the company controls the original credentials, security interventions can be swift. Also, as soon as an employee’s account gets terminated, they lose access to all the other systems too.
HR system integrations
While you’re using learning technologies, you also most likely have some kind of HR system. Another important learning technology integration happens between that and the learning technologies. The goal of such integration is to update information at both ends automatically. For instance, the learning tool pulls personnel data from the HR system, and assigns the user learning based on that information. Thus, whenever there’s a role change, you don’t need to manually assign new learning tasks. Also, the learning technology tool can push back information to the HR system. For instance, whenever an employee finishes a learning path, the tool sends information to the HR system.
The benefit of this type of learning technology integration is the elimination of manual administrative tasks. There’s no longer a need to retrieve and upload e.g. excel files between different systems. Furthermore, with good initial configuration, employees can e.g. automatically get access to learning resources based on their role, seniority, business unit, geography etc.
Learning Records Store (LRS) is a powerful tool based on the xAPI framework. It enables the collection of data from multiple systems under the same roof. For instance, you may have multiple LMS systems that all feed into this same data archive. Or you might feed in face-to-face training records, mobile app and performance support tool data. While it may require data operations, it’s also possible to pull in data from non-learning systems, such as performance management system or that HR system to an LRS.
With this kind of learning technology integration, you can have all your training-related data, and much more, in the same format, in the same location. This makes effective learning analytics a lot easier. Hence, you’ll be able to get a better understanding and bird’s-eye view of what’s happening in the entire organisation. All the LRS tools also become equipped with powerful dashboards and data tools.
Finally, webhooks are a type of integration that can sometimes prove handy. The fundamental idea is that a webhook notifies you when something happens in a system, for which you can then create an automated response. In the context of learning technology integrations, there can be several use cases. For instance, whenever a learner does something in App 1, do something in App 2. Or, as a group of learners have finished a learning experience, send an automatic report to their line manager.
Webhooks are a good way of integrating certain things and automating workflows. When running multiple systems and platforms, it’s easy to get lost in the administrative work. Designing these types of integrations and reactions in a smart way enables you to decrease that workload.
Overall, the future of learning is integrated. The different tools we use have to talk to each other. Otherwise, it all quickly becomes inefficient and redundant. Learning technology integrations are an important thing to consider whenever bringing new technology into the fold. Good integrations and automation protocols can significantly reduce the administrative workload that goes into managing learning tools or other systems.