What is an LMS Integration?
An integration is the technical term for a program that plays nice with other ones, and can be used to add additional functionality to an existing program. Programs and bits of software and hardware that integrate with one another are typically easy to use and swap around. Think about it like a DVD versus a Blu-ray. An older DVD player doesn’t have an integration to allow you to pop in your extended edition Lord of The Rings Blu-ray and watch 12 hours of Middle Earth-y goodness; but most Blu-ray players do have an integration that allows DVDs to be played on them. Similarly, a Learning Management System integration allows the user to incorporate other programs or services into the LMS, making it more functional or useful depending on your needs.
What is a Learning Management API?
Sometimes the term integration is used interchangeably with the acronym API. API stands for Application Programming Interface; which is basically the way different programs can talk to each other. You don’t need to know how to program to use one though! In fact, you probably use lots of APIs every day without even realizing it. An API is a messenger that allows communications between different online entities (programs). When you place an order on eBay, you are using an API to tell your bank to send money to a seller through eBay; and then the seller is using another API to print a FedEx shipping label and send you the thing you ordered.
Why is an LMS Integration Important To Have?
You want your LMS to have many different integrations because of the flexibility it offers. If you are already using a system like HubSpot, MailChimp or Shopify to sell your online courses or to send emails to customers, when you start using an LMS you don’t want to discontinue that service! Instead you want to look for an LMS that plays nice with the services you either currently use or want to use, so your business can flourish and expand. If you’re curious how to implement an LMS into your eLearning business, we’ve got just the article for you.
The 6 Best Integrations To Make Sure Of Before Committing to an LMS
Before you spend the money and time getting an LMS up and running, here’s what you should make sure the system can do.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management; and it is used by businesses to connect with their customers and users. CRM systems typically integrate everything from customer service to marketing to email management; and having an LMS that works with a high-quality CRM is a must for a business that wants to succeed.
Email Marketing Integrations
Staying connected to your users and customers through email is more important now than ever in a world that constantly has users bombarded with new data, ads and distractions. The email inbox can be a place of calm in the sea of social media, and using it to effectively get feedback from your users, alert them to sales and discounts, and keep in contact is a must have.
Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, and a number of other platforms offer the ability to sell things online. If you’re already using one to sell eLearning content and you want to keep using it as you transition to an LMS, your LMS needs to be able to integrate with the platform you’re on currently.
REST API Integrations
REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer, and refers to a method of coding and setting up the architecture of a given site. It is a very common way that websites and programs are built, similar to an object-oriented programming language. Learn more about it here.
SCORM is a very common method of organizing and structuring eLearning content, and an LMS that is SCORM compliant is easier to import content into and out of. If you have been using a SCORM design template for your eLearning content, your life will be MUCH easier if your LMS can import SCORM content with ease.
Tin Can API Integrations
The Tin Can API is considered by some to be the sequel to SCORM in terms of eLearning content. Choosing an LMS that can adapt and incorporate content that is Tin Can compatible will open you up to being able to collaborate with more content creators and designers.