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Integrating Your LMS With Human Resources

Mar 27, 2019 4:00:00 PM


The words “data entry” transport me to the time of blue eyeliner, shag carpets, disco, and pet rocks. Okay, I'm dating myself...but data entry, while so old school, is a crucial component of most computer transactions. 

The two key components of effective data entry are:

to do it once AND to do it right.

So entering employee information into your human resources system should be the end of employee data entry. Why would you duplicate the effort by manually adding and updating employee data in your learning management system when automatic user account management has never been easier? Most LMS products, including TrainCaster, can interface with your human resources system to automatically maintain employee information in its database.

Typically the first step in the integration process is to identify how the LMS will receive the user information. Some LMS products allow you to import data from a spreadsheet, while others utilize a programmatic method for collecting the data. TrainCaster can either be the active agent that polls your HR system to extract the necessary information, or we can sit back and let you HR system send the information to us. 

Another option for getting the data is to use an application programming interface (API) if the HR system provides one. The LMS vendor then codes and implements  the appropriate processes to extract the data. The only effort on your behalf, typically is to grant access to the HR data via a user account. This account would have access to the user data that you wish to track and report on in the LMS and nothing more.

Alternatively, we have some clients that provide a web service that extracts the HR data when polled. When we poll these services we send over an encrypted security code which the web service validates before providing us with the information, much the way you may need to get a security code from the bank to use a new device for transactions. These are examples of the LMS initiating the extraction of your HR data.

The other approach is for the LMS to receive the information from you. This can happen in multiple ways, too. A classic approach is for your HR system to generate a data extract which is then securely transferred to the LMS. Another approach that is becoming more common is for your user authentication system to provide us the information in real-time using Single Sign On (SSO). I’ll soon dedicate another blog post to the details of SSO.

Once the LMS has the user information, the second and final step is to make the appropriate updates. New accounts are created, existing accounts updated, courses automatically assigned to employees, welcome notices sent, etc.

This integration ensures that the user database in the learning management system exactly mirrors your HR system,  avoiding training roadblocks by maintaining employee information which permits the appropriate courses to be automatically assigned to employees - not to mention eliminating duplicate DATA ENTRY!

So...take advantage of the integration process - it’s precise, efficient, and groovy.

C Prah
Written by C Prah

Programmer, elearning expert, client services director.