The role of the Learning Management System (LMS) in today’s environment is primarily to manage training administration, classroom training, scheduling of courses, mandatory compliance training and certifications. But the world of online learning goes way beyond the LMS – there are other parts of the learning infrastructure that are being handled by other systems.
It’s essential that your LMS can integrate easily with other systems to make sure your organization is ready for the world of digital learning. Most organizations expect their LMS provider to help them connect with other systems but there is not a lot of LMS integration actually occurring.
According to the Brandon Hall Group, 52.2% of organizations say the inability to integrate with multiple systems is a significant barrier to satisfaction with learning technology.
Are you familiar with APIs?
Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of definitions, protocols, tools and rules that allow communication between various software components. APIs allow applications to communicate with one another. You’ve probably already seen this in action – for example, with the interface between Facebook and YouTube, you can play a YouTube video directly on Facebook without leaving the platform.
Why are APIs important for your LMS?
APIs are the key to putting everything together. It’s important that you understand your LMS vendor’s experience with integrations. Make sure your vendor can integrate with third-party systems via APIs. If it doesn’t have APIs, your LMS won’t be equipped for the future.
For example, the NetDimensions Talent Suite can integrate with any third-party systems via APIs. There is a built-in mechanism to allow real-time data import and export through the APIs, which are HTTP-based, and make use of widely-supported web data formats such as XML, JSON, Atom and RSS.
The APIs should support at least the following scenarios:
- Integration with back-end systems such as Human Resource Management Systems
- Integration with other websites and applications, such as portals, that are built on server-side technologies such as Java, the Microsoft .NET Framework, or PHP
- Integration with Learning Record Stores, such as Watershed, for detailed L&D analysis
- Access via browser-based technologies such as Ajax and Adobe Flash
- Access via desktop applications (e.g., Adobe AIR, browser extensions)
- Access via mobile applications (e.g., Android, Cocoa for iPhone)
- Display external content such as Twitter feeds within the application using widgets for a better user engagement. See example below:
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