Published On: February 18, 2022By
Talented Learning Reviews

Authentic Learning Labs doesn’t make an LMS, but rather makes your existing LMS work better for learners, instructors, administrators and business owners. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Lombard, IL, in this Authentic Learning Labs review, you’ll learn how the company has taken a different approach to the learning technology market.Authentic Learning Labs logo

Recognizing that many learning organizations don’t have the time, budget or executive support to replace their LMS, even though they should, Authentic Learning Labs seeks to empower these organizations with better tools to deliver and measure learning activities. Authentic Learning Labs is specialist solution that sits on top of an existing LMS, integrates with it via open and powerful APIs as well as the other enterprise applications in the training business ecosystem.

In the integrated solution, Authentic Learning Labs provides learning experience, video and analytic enhancements.  Authentic is a 2021 Talented Learning Top 40 Learning System winner.

Solution/Products Offered

In this Authentic Learning Labs review, we dig into the three main components of their solution:

  • Shuttle Video – Shuttle is a full authoring studio that can import, configure and add learning features, such as quizzes and interactivity, to any video.
  • Simpatico Learning Experience Platform (LXP) – Simpatico is used to build intuitive, multi-format hybrid learning courses or curate multiple modules into a comprehensive learning experience.
  • Songbird Learning Analytics – Songbird is an advanced analytics and reporting suite with pre-formatted reports and visualizations that make sense of learning data.

Target Market

Authentic Learning Labs is a good fit for any organization that already has an established LMS and wants to augment it with specialized analytics and LXP capabilities.  However, they shine brightest in training for business organizations with external audiences such as associations, content providers, publishers and corporate extended enterprise.

For smaller organizations, these reporting tools are ideal for resource-strapped teams. Even larger organizations that have a business intelligence suite, like Power BI or Tableau, can benefit from the pre-built report templates that target learning metrics and aggressive license models allowing for broad organizational use.

Authentic is also a good match for:

  • Organizations that need analytics and tracking to improve a training business
  • Corporate entities that need to improve learning experiences across cultures and languages, and who are sensitive to localization and accessibility
  • Businesses that need to disseminate learning data across multiple hierarchies and who need more flexible licensing options than those usually afforded by the bigger BI tools
  • Organizations that need to augment their team with a cadre of experts to support the above
Authentic Learning Labs Living Vendor Profile

Learn more about Authentic Learning Labs in the Talented Learning Center!

Authentic Learning Labs Strengths

Authentic believes that the learning technology market has evolved to where a specialist platform for content creation and analytics is important. In their experience, they see organizations with strong investments and platforms to deploy learning, but not rich learning experiences. They’ve also seen that too much learning happens without insights into performance. And while many organizations have analytics tools, they don’t have the time or resources to make them practical. To fill that need, Authentic Learning Labs simplifies, empowers and automates these activities with its authoring, deployment and analytics tools including:

Shuttle Video

Not all learning teams have the resources, expertise or time to create polished courses using authoring tools like Articulate or Captivate. Shuttle is an interactive tool that makes it easy to create courses from videos, such as webinars or even Zoom calls. With Shuttle, a user can add professional learning elements to a video and publish it quickly without sacrificing quality. Shuttle is essentially a studio and a delivery mechanism that takes audio and video content and allows the user to add dynamic elements, like transcripts, quizzes, bookmarks and more.

Using artificial intelligence, Shuttle automatically creates video transcripts that identify the speakers in order (speaker 1, speaker 2, etc.) and then the author can enter speakers’ names and profiles. A user can also add disclaimers or other text to the information about the video. Shuttle generates complete xAPI data for the course, and it can easily be added to any LMS for delivery.

The entire platform is mobile and has been localized to 16 different languages. Shuttle detects the user’s language preference from their browser and offers the user interface in that language. It has also been optimized for accessibility, with settings for text size, night and day mode, and adaptive functionality to adjust to screen readers and assistive technologies.

Simpatico LXP

The Authentic Learning Labs Simpatico LXP makes it possible for users to deliver their content using a variety of pre-built page templates that display the content to its best advantage in other platforms. A content creator can select a Simpatico template and drop in their own visual assets, or assets that they’ve created with Shuttle. Templates are in grid or gallery formats. It a big time-saver, especially for smaller teams who otherwise might need to hire a web designer to develop the pages.

Songbird Analytics

The Authentic Learning Labs Songbird Analytics platform pulls near-real time data from the learning management system into dashboards and intuitive visualizations so that users don’t need specialized training to access the activity metrics and insights they need. The goal is that business owners, administrators and content creators can immediately understand what they’re being shown, and just have to manipulate time windows and filters to drill more deeply into the data. For example, if an organization has a report with 24,000 entries, it’s impossible to see trends or make business decisions with so much data.  Authentic Learning Labs solves that problem.

Songbird draws data from the LMS, such as enrollments and completions, and then it creates comparisons, averages, minimums/maximums and other insights that it calculates from the source data. Authentic provides standardized views based on their experience, insights from clients and their own subject matter expertise in learning. Views include benchmarks, courses, tests, video consumption, learner performance, surveys, evaluation data and more.

Rare in the industry, Authentic Learning Lab’s Songbird Analytics allows you to import non-LMS data from CRM, customer service, ecommerce, HR and other applications for advanced analysis of learning + business performance data. The Authentic Learning Labs professional services team can create custom dashboards and visualizations based on the combined LMS and external data.

When the data allows, it is downloadable in different formats, such as PDF, Excel and can be distributed automatically to appropriate users. The visuals are also in multiple formats, and because everything is API-based, the JSON format of the visual can be exposed and published elsewhere.

Join the Talented Learning Center as a free Basic Member and access a demonstration and business briefing of the Authentic Learning Labs’ solution presented by co-founder and learning industry rockstar Tamer Ali.


Authentic Learning Labs Professional Services Offered

Professional service expertise is a key differentiator for Authentic Learning Labs. Many training organizations are resource strapped. It’s expensive and time consuming to build out an internal team of experts. Additionally, many organizations have IT resources and a platform for business intelligence and analytics, but they are not educational experts.  Authentic enables these organization with an immediate influx on seasoned experts that can help drive change – affordably and rapidly.

Authentic Learning Labs works closely with clients in a consultative way to design and deploy content and analytics solutions.

Opportunities for Improvement

Authentic Learning Labs is constantly expanding its library of templates, dashboards and visualizations, but not fast enough in my opinion. The opportunity for Authentic is massive as there is an overabundance of boring and substandard LMSs that are not going to get replaced anytime soon. Before copycats descend on this opportunity, Authentic needs to accelerate their pace of development of out-of-the-box configurable visualizations, content templates and use case specializations.

My Assessment

Authentic Learning Labs isn’t an LMS and isn’t meant to replace an existing learning management system. Its particular value is to augment learning solutions and make them more productive, user-friendly and insightful. When combined with consulting services, the platform provides pre-built and custom dashboards and reports to connect learning with performance without a huge investment of time and without the need for specialized data scientists to do the work. Authentic Learning Lab’s affordable licensing model makes it possible to widely and generously distribute data insights across large internal and external audiences.

Other tools for authoring and content deployment help bring more assets to audiences in engaging ways. Dynamic and searchable transcripts, video wrappers and pre-formatted templates all provide flexibility as to how organizations track and display content. Authentic Learning Labs is ideal for organizations that are serious about learning and training, but who may not have the time or resources to build their own content or create their own reports.

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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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