Slack notifications are not a Slack LMS

Travis Good
November 22, 2022

Slack is the lifeblood of many modern companies. It is built for connection. Not just connecting users but connecting apps to apps and apps to users. One area where connection matters is learning management systems (LMSs), or training. As a core part of modern work, training should be connected to users in Slack yet most training platforms fall short of fully integrating into Slack and into the flow of work.

Types of Slack Integrations

As work has moved to the cloud, Slack has become the new operating system for many companies. Companies that use Slack tend to be heavy Slack users. Over time, more and more of the workflows for these Slack-first companies anchor on or at least include Slack. The most common way to add Slack into a workflow is to to use simple SaaS app integrations to send notifications to Slack.

Deeper integrations go beyond Slack notifications and enable users to take actions on workflows. A simple example of this is the Google Calendar integration, which enables users to join meetings as they start or to change responses to meeting invites. These deeper Slack integrations are more convenient for users as users are able to complete workflows in Slack without having to launch a different app or login to a different service.

What is a Slack LMS?

The term learning management system (LMS) is not new. LMSs have been in use for many years and there are multiple generations of LMSs. LMSs are clunky platforms and LMS companies claim a smorgasbord of features and functionality. This overcomplicates things. The core features of an LMS can be distilled down into 4 core features;

  1. Content - catalogs / storage, creation, editing, and organization.
  2. Assignment - manually, intelligently, ad-hoc vs recurring, notifications / reminders.
  3. Training - learners engaging with content to learn.
  4. Reporting - completion, scores, mapping to audits (required training), specific metrics (for security this might be human risk), APIs for connecting to other systems (HRIS, auth, etc).

Even with the above attempt to simplify the features and functionality of an LMS, there are many aspects of each of the four pillars of an LMS. This is why almost every LMS, over time, grows into a massive platform and becomes harder to administer.

We define a Slack LMS as one in which all 4 of the core pillars above integrate with Slack. Currently, the only Slack LMS is Haekka. Several LMSs claim to be a “Slack LMS” but do not perform all the functions of an LMS in Slack. Most claim to be a ‘Slack LMS” by simply sending training notifications to Slack. While this is Slack integration, it is not a Slack LMS.

LMSs today deliver training content to users in mobile and web applications. Some, like KnowBe4, require users to learn and apply Slack-specific formatting to training content so they show up correctly in Slack; Haekka applies this formatting for users so there’s no learning curve to get training into a Slack-friendly format. When most LMS companies talk about being a “Slack LMS”, they mean they simply send notifications to Slack.

Haekka is a Slack LMS

Haekka is a complete Slack LMS and was built with deep Slack integration from day one. Below are the ways in which Haekka deeply integrates with Slack across the 4 required dimensions of an LMS.

  1. Content - all training in Haekka’s catalog is formatting for delivery in Slack, we also have a simple web editor so even custom training is formatted for Slack.
  2. Assignment - Haekka training can be assigned to Slack users, @grouops, or channels and all notifications can be done via Slack. Also, training renewals and new Stream messages are sent to admins in Slack for approval.
  3. Training - all training can be taken in Slack, including questions, phishing messages, quizzes, policy acknowledgments, and surveys.
  4. Reporting - weekly reports are sent to admins in Slack, audit evidence is sent to admins in Slack, scores and performance data is available via Slack, and even training ratings are done in Slack.