HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

Demystifying the Technical Components of Your LMS

While knowing how to code isn’t necessary, there are some technical things all non-technical training managers need to know when managing an LMS (Learning Management System). Here are just a few of them.

LMS Integration Capabilities

You’ll want to know what integration capabilities your LMS has. Here’s a list of the more common types of systems and applications that can integrate with LMS systems, and what they do.

  • E-commerce management and payment gateways. With these integrations you can collect payments for training materials, as well as offer store fronts with shopping carts.
  • Google analytics. This integration allows you to track where users click, how long they stay on a page, and a lot of other vital information.
  • Human resource information systems (HRIS). HRIS systems integrations feed user, manager, organization and role data into the LMS. This way, when employees change roles or are assigned a new supervisor, it will automatically be updated in the LMS.
  • Social media. With social media integrations, users can sign into the LMS via one of their social media accounts, as well as share catalog content and post about certifications they’ve earned.
  • Tin can (xAPI). This integration helps track and report informal or formal learning activities conducted outside of the LMS portal, such as conferences attended, websites visited, books read, and videos watched.
  • Virtual classrooms. Virtual classroom integrations permit administrators to schedule learning events inside the LMS (e.g., a webinar or webcast), and to automatically schedule them in the third-party virtual tool.

Common LMS Technical Terms and Acronyms

Here are just a few of the common terms and acronyms you’ll encounter when managing an LMS.

  • API (Application Programming Interface). The connection between different technical systems. Two software systems can share data with each other using APIs.
  • SCO (Shareable Content Object). A launchable learning object that communicates back to the LMS that launched it (i.e. a pop-up with a learning objective, such as a quiz).
  • SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model). A collection of standards for authoring LMS content objects (e.g. modules or tests), so that they can easily be shared between systems.
  • SSO (Single Sign On). The capability of users to login using their credentials from another application.
  • Webhooks. Also called “HTTP callbacks,” allow the LMS to post messages and course updates as they occur in real time.

Along with the technical things mentioned above, you’ll also want to know the mobile capabilities of your LMS so users can interact with your training content on any device.
Most training managers don’t consider the full potential of the technical components inside their LMS. But taking full advantage of these technical components is what will allow training workflows and communications inside and outside the LMS to flow much more efficiently in your organization.