LMS best practice: top tips to integrate with multiple systems

In today’s fast-paced global environment, companies are regularly challenged to adopt and respond to new business and compliance requirements, quicker than before. The learning technology landscape is evolving quickly and the role of the Learning Management System (LMS) is changing too. Most organizations who invest in learning technology and e-learning are using an LMS – more than 700 learning management system vendors compete in the marketplace. In this context, it can be overwhelming for organizations to find the learning solutions that best fit their needs.

In this two-part post, we will discuss why Learning & Development (L&D) managers are not satisfied with their learning technology (and more specifically with their LMS). We will also provide some best practices on what you should consider when you select an LMS.

LMS implementation can be like solving a puzzle

According to the Brandon Hall Group’s Learning Technology 2017 study as much as 23% of organizations indicated that they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their LMS. The dissatisfaction level is higher than with any other learning technologies.

The Brandon Hall Group has identified three main barriers to satisfaction with learning technology:

  1. 52.2% of organizations say the inability to integrate with multiple systems is a significant barrier to satisfaction with learning technology.
  2. 50.6% of organizations say poor user experience is a significant barrier.
  3. 39.7% of organizations say poor analytics capabilities is a significant barrier.

 

Inability to integrate with multiple systems

Most organizations want to have technology providers that can help them connect their LMS with multiple systems. According to the Brandon Hall Group’s “Focus on Integration 2017” study, 76.7% of surveyed organizations say that integration capabilities are essential or critical to their business processes.

So how important is it to integrate your LMS with the following systems?

*Brandon Hall Group’s “Focus on Integration 2017” study

Despite being seen as important or even critical by most organizations, there is not a lot of integration actually occurring. The platform most commonly integrated with the LMS is the Human Resource Information System (HRIS), and even then, only 37% of organizations say this integration exists.

Best practice ways to integrate your LMS

Pay attention to the following recommendations to make sure your LMS integrates with the systems that are critical to your business.

Key best practices for improving LMS integration

  • Involve your IT department early in the process. The learning function needs to work hand in hand with the IT function when it comes to systems integration.
  • Identify current and future system integration requirements. If you are replacing a system, look at the integrations you currently have to understand if they are all necessary. You should make sure your LMS integrates with the right systems.
  • Define how often shared items need to be updated and establish whether your systems need to communicate in real-time.
  • Define your target: what do you want to achieve with this integration? What is the business goal?
  • Prioritize and document your requirements: What is deemed essential to have in order to support your business and what connections are simply “nice to have”?
  • Avoid customizations when possible. If you decide to customize your LMS because it’s critical to your business, make sure your vendor will support these customizations when the time comes to upgrade your system.
  • Understand your vendor’s experience with integrations. Make sure your vendor can integrate with any third-party systems via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). For companies that operate in a highly regulated environment, it might also be important that the LMS integrates with non-typical HR systems. For instance, it might be critical for your LMS to integrate with your security or access control system, as was the case with NetDimensions client CERN, so only those who completed certain certifications can access certain areas of the building. Make sure your vendor has the flexibility and the API library to help you achieve this.

We hope you enjoyed part 1 of this blog series which outlines some of the different ways that L&D managers can improve their learning technology. Part 2 can be found here. You might also be interested in our “8 Best Practices for a Successful LMS Implementation” brief. Download it now.

If you’d like to speak to a NetDimensions LMS expert about the challenges your organization is facing, get in touch here.

 

More Artificial Intelligence capability has been added to the NetDimensions Talent Suite

The recently released version 13.1 of the NetDimensions Talent Suite includes a number of exciting new features, such as bolstered Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability.

Artificial Intelligence, or machine intelligence, is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior”. Artificial Intelligence is widely tipped to revolutionize the Learning & Development (L&D) industry with its ability to use technology to make automated, intelligent choices on an ongoing basis.

Artificial Intelligence was first introduced to the NetDimensions Talent Suite with the introduction of Dynamic Load Analysis in version 12 in July 2016.

The NetDimensions Talent Suite version 13.1 sees new, enhanced AI functionality with the addition of the AI Assistant Recommendations feature.

AI Assistant Recommendations analyzes a user’s current training history and then suggests other courses that may be of interest based on their training. See below a sample screen of the new AI feature:

A screenshot of the new Artificial Intelligence feature, AI Assistant Recommendations, which has been added to NetDimensions Talent Suite 13.1

How to use AI Assistant Recommendations

There are several options available to refine and customize the recommendations, which are ‘star rated’ to indicate relevance.

The recommendation focus has three options available to help the AI functionality deliver the most relevant options.

  • Personal Preferences – the recommendations are based on self-enrolled courses in the learner’s training history.
  • Job Related Suggestions – the recommendations are based on courses in the learner’s history that were assigned (such as group enroll or auto-enroll).
  • Surprise Me – this recommendation option is based on all courses in the learner’s history. Since each course can have multiple associated courses, the AI assistant will use a probability function to vary the returned output, instead of simply ranking the recommended courses and returning the highest ranked courses (which is what happens with the first two options above). This means that the list of recommended courses can vary each time a ‘Surprise Me’ request is made.

These features are combined with options to consider all courses in a user’s training history, only the last 30 days’ history, or the option to focus on one particular course.

Artificial Intelligence Learning

The AI algorithm: what you need to know

The process, which runs in the background, is completed once a week, and implements a ‘Collaborative Filter’ algorithm similar to that used by online video library services, such as Amazon and Netflix, but tweaked for training relationships. It has a few details worth noting:

  • To deliver the most relevant and up-to-date results, only the past 18 months of training data are analysed.
  • The algorithm works at an impressive pace – a typical analysis of a large database containing 5 million rows can be done in 5 minutes versus 10 hours. To do this efficiently, it does the calculations in memory.

NetDimensions’ award-winning talent management solutions can help your organization take the next great step in the evolution of training technology. Contact us today to learn more about Artificial Intelligence in the NetDimensions Talent Suite 13.1.

Focus on Integration: Connecting Learning to the Right Systems

As the human capital technology landscape expands and solutions become more specialized, integration has become more critical than ever. Not only do we need to think about how each of these talent-focused platforms work together, but how they work together with other systems within and outside of the organization.

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2016 Learning Technologies survey, integration capabilities are one of the top-three most important criteria organizations have for their learning technology providers, with 46% saying it is essential and 30% saying it is critical these services are available.

In an environment where fewer than half (44%) of companies are looking to get a suite of integrated talent management modules, it is important organizations understand the ins and outs of integration.

Client Snapshot: Norton Healthcare Improves Compliance & Overcomes Workforce Challenges

Norton Healthcare started as a modest, faith-based, largest integrated healthcare system in Kentucky with more than 14,000 employees at five hospitals, 13 Norton Immediate Care Centers and 90 physician practice locations. The organization has become a leading healthcare provider with some of the most advanced technologies and well-trained physicians, nurses and staff.

 

The Search for the Best Learning Management System

As Norton Healthcare’s training and compliance needs had long exceeded the capabilities of their existing Learning Management System (LMS), they embarked on an initiative to identify a new provider.

Learning & Compliance: Friends or Foes?

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for the Inside Learning Technologies magazine on the role of learning systems in compliance training (“Is your LMS compliance friendly?”) Compliance is one of those topics that rarely get enough attention as one of the key drivers in our industry.

Survey-chart
Source: Compliance Survey 2012, Brandon Hall Group.

However, a recent survey by the Brandon Hall Group found out that regulatory and company compliance combined constitute the most important learning program for organizations’ business strategy today. In addition:

– Over 65% of organizations find it critically important or very important to demonstrate learning compliance to some external regulatory agency.

– At the same time companies understand that compliance is now impacting more on their workforces with over 60% of organizations claiming that compliance requirements involve more than three quarters of employees.

Just yesterday, it was reported that the Federal Aviation Administration announced a fine of $3.5mn to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for failing to train its police officers to perform rescues and fight fires. In addition to the fine, the Port Authority will need to take further measures to better oversee rescue and fire-fighting training compliance. According to the settlement, at JFK airport, the Port Authority allowed 77 police officers who were untrained for their duties to work 357 shifts from early May to early June 2012.

Compliance requirements for employees and organizations place new demands on learning systems that more traditional, developmental requirements do not. Our industry nowadays seems flooded with learning and talent management systems. But for such systems to succeed in a compliance-related role, they must be able to readily adapt to changing needs, operate at enterprise software level, and offer the requisite functionality around auditing, reporting, and security.

It is important that L&D and HR departments are up-to-date with the compliance requirements specific to their business. Here are a few suggestions to make this easier:

  1. Talk to your legal team and to your compliance officer to better understand who in the organization is responsible for what.
  2. Define clear requirements and objectives for training and the technology implementation.
  3. Question your vendor and demand a software validation for the learning or talent management system. For the technical parts, don’t be afraid to ask your IT team to participate.
  4. Make compliance an ongoing part of your business via well-defined workflows, checks & balances, and actionable reporting.
  5. When it comes to training, reinforce formal compliance learning with recurring programs. These initiatives may include informal collaborations (such as forums to discuss ongoing compliance issues), on-the-job assessments (to better evaluate the effectiveness of the compliance training), and performance support (to provide easy access to compliance-related materials at the point of need).

For more information, you can read the blog post from David Wentworth of The Brandon Hall Group on “The Problem with Canned Compliance” or, even better, join the webinar “Mission Critical: Managing Compliance Training in Europe” on April 16th.