I moved several months ago. I didn’t know what to expect in my town. I fell in love with the mountain views, having the extensive property in the desert. I was anticipating the summer, the intense heat (which actually isn’t that bad), I knew what I thought I knew.
Then the deer started to appear. Next, a few bobcats, roadrunners, and quail. What I saw next, though, I had no idea even existed. Javelinas. I read what I could, and then put out water containers for them.
Nowadays, between 6 and 7 p.m., I watch them, my own National Geographic episode. I named a few regulars – Fang, Pig Pen, Racer, Punk, and Howard Hughes.
I have learned a lot about them, observing them from afar. I went about adding my own “integrations” if you will to further enhance my own experience. Recording them with a video cam. Taking photos and jotting down some notes on my tablet.
Each integration into the system – my brain in this matter – has provided me with a wealth of knowledge and insight, without any impact per se, with their own daily lives. The fragile ecosystem stays on track, with a tweak – water (they have access to daily water fountains).
Integrations can offer a positive impact on your learning system. A fragile ecosystem that is dependent on a solution, to function properly and when needed has a tweak to go even further than before. They should enhance the learning experience, engagement of your end-users on the learner side, and for an administrator, gain greater insight into learning and training behaviors.
Most folks who utilize integrations, tend to select the ones they are familiar with or need because of an existing “additional system/platform” that they possess or will possess.
Yet, what if there were other integrations, that would expand the learning and training endeavors for your employees, customers, members, students, or some form of a combination of them?
There are plenty of folks out there, who if they knew about some of these, may think thereafter, hmm, this just might work for what we need.
Which ones though? There are plenty of there, thus, here are the ones, I have found (dependent on your specific needs) that can be integrated with any learning system out there, regardless of type.
Key Terms To Remember
- Deep Integration – Integration can go deep into the system, becomes a part of the system, learner cannot tell – If you purchase Bongo for your system (i.e. not a vendor), they will do a deep integration for it. I always recommend deep integration. If you are a vendor that wants Bongo, they will do a deep integration.
- Integration – Just a connection between the system and the 3rd party platform/system/tool – Learners usally bounce to the platform, which is integrated in the system (thus they usually stay with in the system – think iFrame angle, however, they may leave the system and go directly to the platform, then go back into the system. If integration is on the admin side only, for example a BI tool, then the data may appear in the system, or require you to go into the BI tool itself).
Whether you go deep integration or integration – and it is not included as no charge to you as a benefit of purchasing the system, you will need to purchase a license from that vendor (on top of your fees for the system).
Bongo Learn – URL
Video Skills Validation (my term, they say Assessment). Role-Playing. Scenario-base learning. Digital coaching and/or mentoring.
One perk that Bongo offers is a speech analysis – identifying over-used words, or different levels of usage and terminology for the target audience. The Learner sees these metrics. If you are providing sales training, product training, recruiting, frankly any type of training/learning whereas the person (the learner) is communicating with the public, this gives you and the learner, an in-depth analysis. People are always interested in improving (whether they admit it or not), and offering this capability can do wonders because it ties into
Role-Playing and Real World Scenario-Based Learning. With this feature, the end-user can be placed into a real-life sim, so to speak with real-time engagement and feedback. Identification of skills, and where they actually are at that moment in time, is priceless. The challenge with e-learning is how to validate what they learned in a role-playing or real-world scenario, that goes beyond a “test”, whereas someone can memorize or guess the responses. Plus, engagement in that format is zero. I have found that engagement is higher when an adult learner is placed into a real-world scenario based on what they are doing in the workplace. Skill comprehension increases, and so does retention and synthesis. Think this way, why do so many systems that focus on tech skills, have built-in real-world simulations? Because it works.
Digital coaching and mentoring. Here is how it typically works in most systems. The learner gets on a webcam and talks to the coach/mentor. The mentor/coach responds via text within the system. The learner responds either via text or webcam. Basically, it is reactive. Bongo – changes that. You can go webcam or a mobile device with a cam, and communicate in real-time, even PIP (picture in picture). Remember those role-plays? That is a great method for coaching. If you are providing customer education having a “coach or a mentor” is a value-add, showing a difference between you and your competitors. Think about leadership training. What is more a “plus”? An expert to guide you or one-way and text? Engagement is right here. It is also a key reason, why you are seeing more and more software companies offering a “coach” as part of their offering.
What systems offer Bongo today? Quite a few actually, but here is a shortlist (and not everyone) – D2L, Thought Industries, IMC-AG, Looop, Brainier, Cengage, Intrepid by vitalsource, and TopHat. As mentioned, you can, have this capability – via integration in your learning system.
Some vendors that already have Bongo (built into the system), charge extra for this add-on, others do not – i.e. you get it for free when you buy their system. Always ask the vendor. For example, Thought Industries is an add-on cost.
Anders Pink –URL
Web content aggregator whereas will search the web, based on your parameters, filters, etc., and pull into the system, the free content tied to those parameters, keywords, skills, and so forth.
If you purchase Anders Pink for your system (i.e. not a vendor), they will do a deep integration for it. I always recommend deep integration. If you are a vendor that wants Anders Pink, they will do a deep integration.
- A wonderful solution, that curates content based on the topics, parameters, keywords, filters and so forth right into the learning system (They call the content – briefings)
- Content can be shared within the system, even on social media if you so choose
- Relevant content based on their AI
- Fresh if you will, in that it is pushed daily to your system from the internet.
- Metrics on the back-end for those who are interested (dependent on how the learning system integrates)
- Several systems already have an integration available (if you have the system or plan to) – this list includes D2L, Learn Amp, GO1, Degreed, and Stream LXP
What systems have deep integration with Anders Pink today? A very good selection, again just a very short list (and not everyone) – Fuse, Docebo, THRIVE
Some vendors that already have AndersPink (built into the system), charge extra for this add-on, others do not – i.e. you get it for free when you buy their system. Fuse it is free. Thought Industries is an add-on. Docebo is part of Discover, Coach, and Share which is an add-on for Learn (their LMS). Discover, Coach and Share, has other capabilities, beyond Anders Pink.
Course Merchant – URL
An e-commerce solution, where you can sell your courses/content. They also have other solutions.
- Enables you to sell your content/courses in a learning system (regardless of type). Great for those who want to sell, but the system lacks e-commerce or doesn’t have all the capabilities you are expecting or want.
- Front -end for your buyers, can be basic or fluid, as your web site
- Various options are available
- Offers code for open source systems (for free -and for those interested)
- Several systems already have an integration available (if you have the system or plan to), not the entire list, ust a select few – D2L, Totara, Kallidus, Blackboard
What systems have deep integration with Course Merchant? A variety, including D2L
Workato – URL
Workflow automation via various pre-existing integrations that are available as part of the platform. Think – integration aggregator.
- If system goes deep integration, the adminstrator can set up “triggers” and “actions” for each of the integrations that exist in the platform. They refer to this as “receipes”.
- Total control on what you want it do and not do. Can change as often as you want.
- An extensive list of integrations – again, you buy Workato and can select as many integrations as you want – but there is a catch.
- Each integration is around 6K. For this you receive access to Workato, maintenace and updates from them, ability to do “receipes”. The price point is the major downer.
One system that offers Workato as a deep integration is Docebo. It is an add-on, additional cost.
Zapier – URL
Workflow automation via various pre-existing integrations that are available as part of the platform. Think – integration aggregator. I use Zapier myself.
- With learning system vendors, usally goes integration
- IMO, far better than Workato, but that is always up for personal choice
- Over 3,000 apps (their term)
- Can do triggers and actions
- Usually an integration into a learning system
- Some pre-built integrations already exist for learning systems (in the Zapier platform), the list includes Talent LMS, SkillJar, Cypher Learning, Lessonly, Inquisq LMS, Knowledge Anywhere, eFront Pro
- Pricing is unknown – always inquire. Future pre-built include Instructure, Udemy
- Pre-built integration available for Watershed LRS and GO1
I always recommend a deep integration, regardless if it is one of the offerings above, or a BI tool, or even a content aggregator like Biz Library, GO1 or Open Sesame.
Never assume that any 3rd party solution can go deep integration with your learning system, let alone integration.
I mean, I just assumed that Javalinas (notorious for knocking over trash cans and devouring what is inside), ate anything they saw.
I was wrong.
Some do not like lettuce. Others do.
Some will skip a prickly pear cactus that is right there for a snack.
Others will devour any piece they can reach.
That’s the thing about integrations and even Javalinas
Once you see them in action
You will be