TalentLMS integrations: Let’s Integrate: Mingling Like The Best Of Them With TalentLMS

How TalentLMS Integrates With Other Platforms To Make Your eLearning Smooth

We live in an inter-connected world.

In the course of a single day we connect to thousands of systems and services all around the world. And that’s just for casual computer use — a modern business makes an order of magnitude more connections in its day-to-day operation.

Learning Management System Integration Features

In such an environment, integration -the ability of applications, services, and serves to talk to each other- is key.

If you’re an enterprise, for example, you probably already have an established infrastructure that you want your Learning Management System (LMS) to be able to talk to (from your Single Sign On solution down to your CRM).

If you’re selling courses, you would again want to be able to hook your Learning Management System portal to your billing system, payment processors, your webpage, and more.

In this post we’ll see how TalentLMS covers your integration needs, and the options it gives you for connecting to your existing (and future) infrastructure.

  1. Single Sign On Support.
    Although TalentLMS has a nice login screen that I can watch for hours (...), to get anything done you’ll probably want to be able to login to it too. Ideally using the same password you use for your entire enterprise intranet - and with our support for the industry standard LDAP and SAML2 protocols, you can do just that. LDAP is a well established user authorization and authentication mechanism, supported by OpenLDAP in open source systems (Linux etc), and by Active Directory on Windows. SAML2, on the other hand, is more like a “web passport”, enabling web-based authentication and authorization. Note that SAML2 is a protocol, not an authentication authority (source), so you can also use it in conjunction with LDAP or Active Directory (for keeping user information and permissions). In addition to SAML2 and LDAP, TalentLMS also supports the Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 protocol and external identity provides such as OneLogin. Setting any of those authentication services up is beyond the scope of this post, but you can read about enabling them on TalentLMS on our Support Pages: LDAPSAML2OneLoginOKTAADFS 2.0.
  2. Federated Login.
    What if you don’t have another system to “single sign on” with, but you still want a modern authentication solution that ensures users can login to your eLearning site with the minimum of fuss? This is where TalentLMS’ “federated login” integration comes into play, offering dead simple registration and authentication through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Federated login allows users to re-use their existing credentials (or open sessions) across multiple websites, by delegating login and authentication to any of the above hugely popular services that your users already know and trust. If you’ve ever connected to some discussion forum, eCommerce website or news outlets using your Gmail of Facebook credentials, then you know exactly how this feature works. And even if not, it’s dead simple to enable and use.
  3. Import / Export.
    After you logged in into TalentLMS (and with your SSO credentials nonetheless) how about loading some data? Using TalentLMS built-in Importing functionality you can import all kinds of Learning Management System entities such as Users, Courses, Categories, and Branches using a simple text-based format. Paired with the Export function, this enables you to mass migrate information between different TalentLMS installations, or to automate user creation based data exported by your employee management system. Imported information will be validated and errors will be marked as such, with TalentLMS providing you with a detailed report of any issues found in your data. TalentLMS is also able to export system objects (such as users and classes) as well as reporting information in Excel format; perfect for keeping your accounting department or the CEO happy. Oh, and for structured eLearning data exchange, TalentLMS supports the TinCan and SCORM standards, letting you capture all learning activities to share with third party systems.
  4. Zapier. 
    What about connecting to external web services and applications? Fear not, as TalentLMS offers integration to Zapier, a meta-platform that enables web apps to communicate and lets the user build complex coordinated tasks and workflows. This enables TalentLMS to integrate with any Zapier-compatible web app, a list that includes Dropbox, Evernote, Salesforce, Gmail, Twitter, MailChimp, and Trello, and to which Zapier keeps adding new web services. One of the latest additions to that list has been online commerce king Shopify. If you’re an eLearning shop, this integration enables you to use Shopify as a marketplace for your TalentLMS courses, and exchange and share courses and customer information between the two platforms. (As a matter of fact, Shopify itself is a TalentLMS user, with the company using our Learning Management System for its internal training programs).
  5. WordPress. 
    So far you’ve logged on (with SSO), imported your stuff, and connected your eLearning portal with third party services via TalentLMS’ Zapier integration. Now it’s time to integrate it to your website, and if that’s WordPress based (which in all probability is; this popular CMS powers something like half the web) TalentLMS has got you covered. (Actually even it’s not WordPress based, you can still hook it up to TalentLMS through the latter’s REST API — but we’ll get to that in a minute). Using our TalentLMS WordPress plugin, it’s very simple to integrate TalentLMS functionality to your website. Once installed (either manually, or as we suggest, like any other WordPress plugin through the administration interface), the plugin adds its own “administration dashboard” to WordPress, through which you can configure it. Among other things you can setup single sign on between your WordPress site and TalentLMS, and automatically sync content and users.
  6. Payment Processors. 
    Speaking of integration options, if you plan to use TalentLMS to sell courses commercially, you’ll want to be able to receive electronic payments. TalentLMS has support for the PayPal and Stripe payment gateways, and through them to all major credit cards and billions of users in over 90 countries. Setting up e-payment support is easy, as your administrator merely has to enter your PayPal or Stripe credentials in the eCommerce settings screen.
  7. Back To The (Near) Future.
    While TalentLMS doesn’t integrate with the future yet (that would be something), it does have a roadmap for new integrations to be added in the near future. These include integration with the powerful Salesforce CRM, for all those medium and large enterprises out there that swear by it, which is expected to be launched very, very soon (you heard it here first).
  8. Javascript. 
    We said enough about built-in and ready-made available integration options. How about creating some of your own? The easiest way to programmatically extend TalentLMS functionality is through Javascript. TalentLMS themes can optionally include your own custom scripts that will get executed when users view your eLearning portal. Through the magic of AJAX (a way of evoking server APIs and accessing remote data from within a webpage), you can connect to pretty much any of your own or third party systems that are available over HTTP, add custom controls (buttons, text forms, advanced widgets, etc.) to the TalentLMS UI, and implement your own functionality. The only limitations concern talking to external systems that don’t speak HTTP or are not accessible through the network. Which nicely segues us to our last, but not least, option.
  9. The API.
    This is your most powerful integration weapon. TalentLMS provides a RESTful API that you can use to bridge it with other systems, automate repetitive tasks, exchange data, and connect it to any kind of infrastructure you might have. You’ll need a decent grasp of programming (or to have an actual programmer available) to take advantage of the integration options TalentLMS API offers, but in return you get total flexibility and customizability.

Conclusion 

In this post we had a look at the various integration options that TalentLMS offers.

The list is far from exhaustive: Zapier alone offers integration with over 3000 third party apps and services, and some of the options described here would take a blog post all of their own in order to cover to their full potential.

Between its built-in integration options and the full flexibility of its REST API, you’ll find that whether your integration needs are simple or complex, TalentLMS has you covered.

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