Integrations in e-learning: Your questions answered
On 03 March 2021
Digital Marketing, Features and Design, Help Guides
What are integrations?
Integrations are other software platforms which can either be embedded into or communicate with your LMS. These can include content management systems (CMS), customer relationship managers (CRM), payment gateways, business communication platforms and marketing and sales tools.
What are the benefits of integrating platforms?
When you consider that 19% of employee time is spent looking for data, documentation and resources (McKinsey Global Institute) it’s no wonder why integrating your systems’ functionality and data is such a Godsend. Integrating data and functionality will:
- Save you time and improve processing times
- Allow you to use your platform’s features to its full potential
- Enable you to identify and take advantage of sales opportunities
- Optimise based on data and feedback
- Get a whole-person view of your user
- Improve data flow and visibility
- Reduce potential for human errors
- Give you more flexibility and scalability
- Increase your data security
Why are integrations so important in e-learning?
Integrating your platforms will not only allow you to get the most out of them, it’ll make them easier for you to manage. Most integrations mean that data is shared between your LMS and the other platform. With this you’ll be able to set up a whole host of automations that you might have previously managed manually.
By integrating your platforms, management of data and functionality becomes easier, automations replace manual tasks and your system becomes more scalable as data is securely stored and shared across platforms
Need inspiration on how to make the most out of your other software to maximise sales and engagement of your LMS offering? Take a look at our guide to email automations.
What platforms should I integrate into my e-learning platform?
In short: anything and everything.
To expand: yes, there will be some limitations. For example, if your software doesn’t have an API you’ll struggle to integrate it easily (and in some cases you might not be able to at all), however if it does have an API it might be a case of integrating using code (supplied the platform you;re trying to integrate) or a plugin – in which case you’ll just need to be watry of that plugin’s compatibility with other aspects of your site. While a plugin can offer you easy management of your integrated software, you might find that if you have a lot of plugins your site might start to slow down (this is often referred to as bloat).
Here are some platforms you can integrate into your LMS:
- Sales management systems
- Email automation and marketing platforms
- Analytics and tracking tools
- Forms and chat bots
- Ads and retargeting platforms
- Social media marketing pixels
- Subscription managers
- Affiliate marketing software
- Reward and benefit schemes
- Content aggregation
- Access and restrictions (for paid and free content)
- Badges and awards
- Certifications and accreditations
What should you prioritise?: In this order, we recommend, analytics (you want these tracking from day one), forms (this is super easy to do so we’ve shifted it higher in the list), CRM (you’ll save so much time if you get this integrated early on), anything money related to protect your revenue (subscriptions, payments and affiliates), ads and social (if you are running ads) and finally email marketing (again, integrating these early on will save you so much time.
How easy is it to integrate a platform into my LMS?
As previously stated there are a few factors to consider when it comes to integrating a platform into your LMS. Firstly, depending on the LMS you might not be able to integrate any platform you want. SOme off-the-shelf LMS will have limits on which software you can integrate and they may have a list of approved integrations that you can add onto your system as if you were installing a plugin.
If you’re using an open-source framework for your LMS, such as a system built by Plume, you should be able to integrate anything you want provided there is an existing API or plugin. If there’s no API or plugin, not all hope is lost, it may be possible to build in an integration using custom code.
Can I integrate a CRM into my LMS?
Yes, integrating a CRM into your LMS can be the greatest gift you give to yourself and your team. No, that’s not an exaggeration. We can’t tell you how many of our clients lose valuable time to copying across user details from a CRM into an LMS and vice versa. When you integrate a platform, data fields are auto-populated and you can even ensure that tags are carried across so you can easily segment your users and track them in your LMS just as easily as your CRM.
I have a membership website, not an LMS, what integrations can I take advantage of?
Oh wow – so many. To name a few:
- Subscription and membership management
- Account access and restrictions (for controlling different subscription plans)
- Renewals and sales
- Content management
- Affiliate management and support
- Rewards and benefits
Just bear in mind that an LMS has a lot of overlap with a subscription or content distribution site, so a lot of the integrations should be possible regardless of whether you’ve built your site on a conventional LMS.
Will my marketing platform integrate with my LMS?
Absolutely. If you want to sell more courses, increase engagement in your platform and lower your attrition rate of subscribers and enrollees, please integrate your marketing platform into your LMS. A marketing platform could take the form of:
- Email software such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and Active Campaign
- Google Ads
- Facebook and Twitter pixels
- Gravity forms
I have a form on my website, can this integrate with my LMS?
Oui (that’s French for yes because at this point we’re running out of ways to tell you that you can basically do anything). Forms have a number of uses from help forms, taking contact details, sign ups, enrollment and so much more. Ie, you can read the answers to the questionnaire or set up rules that take those details and put them elsewhere (like creating a new account or enrolling someone onto a course)…depending on your form provider, the possibilities are endless.
I want to track users across my site with analytics, is that possible?
A number of LMS come with some basic reporting and analytics. There are other reporting and analytics platforms that will track users across your site reporting these directly in your LMS or in the platform.
Nonetheless, tracking users is vital as it’ll help you spot opportunities to optimise and upsell so consider this a key integration.
We want to add badges and challenges to our LMS, can this be done?
We have our own add-on that encourages users to engage with your platform from the get go. From the very moment your user first logs in we can create badges and challenges to award your users for engaging with your platform. You can use this as a way to gamify onboarding and reward consecutive logins, community engagement and, of course, course completions.
So, yes, this is absolutely possible, with or without our add-on you can add badges and gamification to your LMS.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Having worked both agency and client-side, Kelly has experience crafting and implementing multi-channel digital marketing and sales strategies. Since joining Plume, Kelly has proved herself to be adept at driving sales and increasing customer lifetime values through sales funnel management, content, SEO and PPC.