Technical Whitepaper

Pluralsight LMS integrations

V1.0 Last Revision 02/23/2018
ProServ

Introduction

This document describes and provides examples of Pluralsight’s integration capabilities as they relate to Learning Management Systems (LMS). Pluralsight leverages linking as it’s primary method of connecting users from an LMS to Pluralsight to ensure the user’s and organizations can take advantage of the full Pluralsight experience and value proposition. This method also offers greater flexibility of integrating with an organization’s larger learning ecosystem against their unique needs and requirements. Each implementation is unique and can be customized. Each solution is tested before used in production.

Why integrate Pluralsight with your LMS?

A full LMS integration provides a seamless, secure user experience that increases adoption and utilization. It enables the customer to centralize reporting and address the learning needs across the broader organization.

What does an integration typically entail?

Every integration is initiated by either the Account Executive and/or Customer Success Manager via a request to the Professional Services team. Working with the Pluralsight Account Executive and/or Customer Success Manager, the Professional Services Implementations Consultant coordinates a call with the appropriate customer contact/s and LMS consultant/s to better understand the customer’s LMS instance, scope the integration and assign ownership of responsibilities.

what an integration entails

What are the integration options?

There are three primary methods of integrating Pluralsight with an LMS. All integrations typically lead with single sign-on (or SSO), which is covered in detail below. Although highly encouraged, SSO is not required. The three options are:

  1. SFTP/FTP Server
  2. Pluralsight APIs
  3. Individually formatted  links

You can choose one method, or any combination of the three. Each option will be covered more in-depth below.

SSO (Single sign-on)

single-sign-on

Single sign-on allows users to pass between two systems without having to manually type in a username and password. It maintains trust between the two systems while passing information about the user to Pluralsight. We then create an account and/or authorizes access. SSO has numerous benefits, a few of which are outlined below.

  • Seamless experience - When a user clicks an SSO-enabled link, they are instantly taken to the content they wish to view with no additional identification, authentication and authorization needed. This helps increase adoption by placing Pluralsight side-by-side with existing internal applications.
  • Auto provisioning - Users are provisioned a license automatically upon clicking one of the SSO-enabled learning objects in LMS, bypassing the manual license assignment process.
  • Issuance criteria (Optional) - This allows us to accept or reject an individual requesting Pluralsight access based on attributes (i.e. role, team, department, etc.). It’s a simple way to set rules around auto provisioning. Any issuance criteria needs to be passed over as an attribute in the assertion.
    Team assignments - This allows a user to be automatically placed into a team within Pluralsight upon license creation. This further automates the setup and organization of your Pluralsight experience.
  • Pluralsight supports SAML 1.0 and 2.0. In order to set up SSO, the Pluralsight Implementations Consultant and customer (or LMS, see Note below) need to exchange federated server SSO metadata. This is typically a .xml file with the information needed for federated servers to communicate. Pluralsight’s metadata also exists in the app catalogues of Okta, Azure, PingOne and One Login.

After the metadata is configured, exchanged and uploaded to the respective federated servers, the Implementations Consultant generates a vanity URL (e.g. https://app.pluralsight.com/sso/<companyname>) and sends it to the customer to test the configuration. Once the customer confirms the connection is working, we are ready to move to the other components of the integration.

NOTE: Often times customers will choose to have the LMS act as the Identity Provider (IDP). In these cases, we will work directly with the LMS to configure SSO. We can also accommodate configuring connections in both stage and production environments based on the customer requirements.
 


LMS integration options

1. SFTP/FTP server

what a degreed integration flow looks like

Pluralsight provides course uploads and course completion data via placement of flat files (.csv or .txt) to the LMS or customer’s FTP/SFTP server for ingestion by LMS. The Implementations Consultant will request the templates specific to the customer’s instance from the LMS consultant. The LMS maintains the responsibility of configuring and maintaining the FTP/SFTP server on behalf of the customer.

In the initial course upload, the Implementations Consultant provides Pluralsight’s course metadata for all 8,000+ courses. This includes modified SSO-enabled course launch URLs for each course. The same is done for historical course completion data, i.e. a bulk upload of all historical course completion records. The Implementations Consultant configures templates to align the course metadata and course completion data with the LMS templates. After the initial placement to, and import from, the FTP/SFTP server of both files, Pluralsight provides continued automated deliveries of the course library and course completion deltas to import new courses and course completion records on a daily, weekly or monthly cadence (see “Connecting to the FTP/SFTP Server”).

LMS

FTP or SFTP placement requirements:

  • Desired cadence
    • Daily, weekly, monthly
  • URL for placement (must include the relevant directory)
  • Username
  • Password

There is also an option to have Pluralsight POST this data to API endpoints rather than using an SFTP/FTP server (if available).

API placement requirements (if requested):

  • Endpoint URL and authentication key

OR

  • Username and password

2. Pluralsight APIs

what an api integration flow looks like

Course API - http://api.pluralsight.com/api-v0.9/courses

After SSO is in production, Pluralsight provides the SSO vanity URL (e.g. https://app.pluralsight.com/sso/<companyname>) to the LMS for input into their system. The LMS is responsible for the scripting work required to ingest the .csv formatted content of the course API to systematically generate SSO-enabled course links. The course API is updated daily with the newly published courses.

After passing through directly to a course, the users have access to the full Pluralsight suite of experiences (paths, Skill IQ, Role IQ, interactive courses, projects, channels, practice certification tests, etc.).

REST Reports API - https://app.pluralsight.com/plans/api/reports/docs

Pluralsight provides the course usage and completion data to the LMS via the Pluralsight REST Reports API. The LMS is again responsible for the scripting work required to pull down the data (Extracting data from the Pluralsight API). This closes the loop with a script that makes GET requests to our Reports API to pull course usage and completion data into the customer’s reporting tools in the LMS. This centralizes learning events across all the customer’s learning providers.

In order for the LMS to access the customer’s data via the API, the LMS will need both the Plan ID and API token. For our Business Enterprise customers, this can be easily accessed by the Pluralsight plan administrator(s) via ADMIN TOOLS>Account>Integrations. For our Business Professional customers, this information will need to be requested from your Implementation Consultant or via a request to professionalservices@pluralsight.com after confirming your purchase of LMS Integration or Enterprise Integration services.

what a degreed integration flow looks like

3. Individually formatted links

Pluralsight’s architecture supports linking to any part of the platform (e.g. https://app.pluralsight.com/...). Links can be structured and inserted into the LMS as the LMS administrator(s) see(s) fit. The link structures are covered in detail in the SSO deep links guide.


Additional resources:

SCORM/AICC

Pluralsight has strategically chosen to not support SCORM/AICC integrations. It essentially turns Pluralsight into a video player, degrading the Pluralsight value proposition i.e. no access to channels, Skill IQ, Role IQ, paths, interactive courses, projects, bookmarks, notes, transcripts, etc. Although we don’t support this method of integration, the LMS can typically leverage the other methods listed above, or some combination of them, to integrate with Pluralsight.

LMS-specific guides

SuccessFactors: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/white-paper/successfactors

Cornerstone: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/white-paper/cornerstone

Absorb: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/white-paper/absorb

LXP (Learning experience platforms)-specific guides

Pathgather: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/white-paper/pathgather

Degreed: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/white-paper/degreed

LTI 1.0

Using LTI with Pluralsight: https://www.pluralsight.com/product/professional-services/resources/lti

Now what?

Contact your sales representative and inform them that you’d like to engage Professional Services (professionalservices@pluralsight.com) to complete an LMS integration.