Recent News

2018 a Year in Review

Posted December 5, 2018 by Josephine Huschmann
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Firmwater is celebrating its 17th birthday today! Each year we like to sit down, eat some fantastic cake, and look back at our accomplishments.

First and foremost, we want to Thank You for choosing Firmwater LMS. We are grateful for all the fantastic clients we are able to partner with.

2018 has been a great year here at Firmwater. We were able to dish out some amazing new features - in case you missed any of our announcement, we have added them below.


Firmwater LMS - Top New Features 2018

 
February

External LMS Integration

You are now able to share your courses externally with your clients’ LMS while they are hosted in Firmwater. You can download a SCORM 1.2 pointer package that acts as a gateway between the two systems. There is no need to hand over any of your source files — keep your intellectual property safe.

March

Group Manager Role

The Group Manager role is now supported within location hierarchies. This means orders can be added at any level of the hierarchy and Group Managers at higher levels can oversee the orders at the lower levels.

Cache-busting

Each time learning content is updates are applied it is now cache-busted. Your browser will not remember and display the assets from the previous version of the course. It won’t be necessary anymore to clear your cache after updates.

April

Reports

Firmwater reports have been updated to make them more useful. Later in June, the report viewer controls were also updated - they now have a new fresh look that is easier to navigate.

Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent sessions are no longer allowed by the same user. That means when a user is already logged into their account, they can no longer log in again (e.g. in another browser tab).


May

Improved Content Loader

Updating existing e-learning course files is now much easier with the improved content loader. The LMS used to recognize file updates by matching the manifest ID’s. The new loader interface takes manifest ID’s out of the equation. The LMS now matches files by title or allows you to navigate to the exact file in your activity list.


July

Certificate Verification Service

This great new feature is especially interesting for training vendors providing compliance training. This is a brand new way to verify certificates by use of a QR code. Each certificate generated includes a code that can be scanned to view a snapshot of the learners’ name, course title, date, and score at the time of completion.


September

Add Participants Page

This update introduces the new ‘Add participants’ page that allows you to add users in one of three ways. A Group Manager can now send invitations to existing LMS users, invite new users by email, or generate and print a PDF document that includes a unique code for users where the email address is unknown.

Shopify Order Processing

This update improved the overall Shopify experience for both learners and administrators. It includes better handling of payment by invoice or PO, duplicate LMS accounts, and automatic course assignments.


October

Single Sign-On (SSO)

You can now enable Single Sign-On for your user community with SAML. SSO allows end-users (most often company employees) to access multiple services while providing only one set of credentials.


November

Set and Merge Locations

We have added two new actions that make working with locations easier and save you a lot of time.
 

Do you have any feature requests? Respond to this email and let us know.

Thanks for making us your trusted partner.

Visit our Release Notes or follow us on social media to learn more about exciting changes at Firmwater.


New: Set and Merge Locations

Posted November 22, 2018 by Josephine Huschmann

Locations are a very useful Firmwater LMS feature. You can use them to record additional user information, to set rules around assigning content, and to allow for administrators with limited scope.

Creating Locations is a super fast and simple process. Complex location hierarchies can also be added via CSV import file. Locations can be applied to many different use cases which makes them a very effective tool and one of the biggest time savers for LMS administrators.

New action for merging locations

Merge Locations

This new action found in the bulk operation menu for locations can be used to merge one or more locations. Simply select several locations and choose which of them to be the successor for the other locations. Any users or orders attached to the removed location(s) will be moved to the succeeding location automatically.

New action for setting a location on the order summary page

Set Locations

A location is created automatically for each person who purchases a course through our e-Commerce integrations. For multi-seat purchases the Group Manager and each added participant share one location.

If a purchaser selected an incorrect location during purchase, this can now be adjusted by using the set location button on the order summary page. Simply select the correct location for the user and confirm to move them.


If you believe locations could be useful for your LMS site, please do not hesitate to contact support.


Related Post:

Segment Your Users By Location



Single Sign-On (SSO)

Posted October 22, 2018 by Josephine Huschmann

What is Single Sign-On?

Have you ever gotten a request for SSO from one of your prospects or clients? Were you wondering what SSO is all about and if Firmwater LMS supports it?

On a daily basis, LMS users frequently provide their credentials to the LMS to access their account. Single Sign-On eliminates this step. Large organizations like to use SSO so that their employees only have to log in once to their corporate network, and then access many different apps, platforms, and services without having to provide their username and password again.

Example: A great example is a Google account. Logging in once provides automatic access to your Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, YouTube, and Google Photos accounts.

One of our customers has a large, multinational client that they deliver their time-management courses to. SSO was a requirement for rolling the courses out globally to all of their employees. We recently worked with them to support this.

As a result, you can now offer greater value to your clients by providing not just online training courses and a solid platform, but also a more efficient way to access the system.

Benefits - Why would your client want SSO?

SSO provides a smoother user experience and efficiency for both staff and employees. SSO lowers cybersecurity risks, lowers help desk requests and makes user account management easier.

Single Sign-On and Firmwater LMS

So far, we have successfully configured SSO with environments that use Active Directory (AD) and Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) — Microsoft’s directory services for Windows networks. Our implementation is standards-based and should easily support more environments.

You may have noticed a new ‘Single Sign-On’ configuration page in the LMS. Currently, this just indicates whether SSO is enabled for a site, and for those that are, provides an indication that things are working. We plan to enhance this page so that you can configure SSO for a site yourself, but we’d like to get experience with a few more diverse environments first.

If your clients are interested in using SSO for Firmwater LMS access, contact our support team for more details. Single Sign-On is available for our Premium and Tailor Made pricing packages.

 

New: Shopify Order Processing Improvements

Posted September 30, 2018 by Josephine Huschmann

We are excited to announce the latest enhancements to our Shopify integration.

The Shopify e-commerce solution enables you to start selling your e-learning courses online. Whether you want to set up an online store or sell right on your own website, Shopify is a robust platform when it comes to online retail.

Firmwater LMS integrates seamlessly with Shopify which is crucial for many of the training companies we work with. Shopify manages the entire e-commerce back-end, plus the option to create an appealing online store to showcase products. The platform works with apps to cover a wide range of functionality and features. To integrate with Shopify, Firmwater has built an app that handles the fulfillment of online course products. The app directs purchasers to the LMS site, creates a user account, and places the chosen course into the user’s training plan.

The following changes have been client-initiated. Some of them may also apply to your business model and can be applied to your account optionally.

1. Scenario - Payment by Invoice or PO

Client #1 is transitioning from a legacy platform to Firmwater LMS. Over time, the client has established a very large customer base. Most of these customers are used to paying by invoice or PO (purchase order) for the courses offered. Our client was looking to put any unpaid orders on hold until payment had been received. In the past, we exclusively supported credit card payments through our Shopify integration and would give LMS access to purchasers straight away.

Solution

We made changes to our order processing to support this scenario. We can configure your Shopify store to fulfill and auto-redirect orders based on financial status (pending, authorized, partially paid). An order that is not yet paid, is processed and displayed in the LMS’s Orders menu but purchaser access is put on hold. Once payment is received the order marked as paid in Shopify, fulfillment gets initiated. The purchaser invitation email gets sent out and the seats are made available to the purchaser.

2. Scenario - Duplicate LMS accounts

Client #2 offers a wide variety of compliance training. These courses often require annual or bi-annual re-certification. Client #2 is therefore handling a lot of returning customers. As the time-frame between purchases can be several months, learners often forget which email address they used for their last purchase or the email address was entered with a typo. In the past, we used to require for the email address used for the Shopify checkout to match the existing LMS user account email. If a new email address was used, a new user account was created for the return purchase and the client ended up with duplicate user accounts that needed merging.

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Solution

We solved this issue by pre-populating the email field during LMS sign up but allowing to adjust the email if necessary. We also added an option to log into an existing account if a purchaser already has one. This will lower the number of duplicate accounts and will lower support cases for merging LMS user accounts.

3. Scenario - Assign courses to users straight away

Our Shopify integration supports single and multi-seat scenarios. We give purchasers the option to either assign the course to themselves or to become a Group Manager and invite others to take the course. We initiate this option with a pop-up window when accessing the courses in the LMS. This course of action has been working great for a lot of our customers. For client #3, a textbook publisher, this behavior was not ideal. For their business model, each student is supposed to purchase a single book - the option to invite others would confuse the user.

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Solution

In a case where the pop-up is inappropriate, we can now disable it for the site. This is especially useful for businesses that focus on selling B2C rather than B2B. The option to invite others is not possible and the course, or in client #3’s case, the textbook is assigned to the user straight away.

If you believe that your business could benefit from using any of these features, let us know.