Published On: April 24, 2015By
LMS Review Brightwave Tessello

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Brightwave, with its innovative xAPI driven tessello learning system, focuses on managing the real-life balance of learning by doing (experiential), learning from others (social) and formal learning (old school).

Brightwave is from the United Kingdom and is a long time provider of high-end elearning custom content solutions that solve on-boarding, sales and leadership challenges.  They learned long ago that experiential learning and social learning integrated into and around their formal content solutions provided their customers greater measurable results than traditional solutions.   To that end, they built tessello first for their customers’ success and now by popular demand – the world’s.

I have conducted 77 LMS reviews in the last year and with tessello, I explored a series of capabilities I haven’t ever seen or even conceptualized surrounding informal and social learning.  That’s a lot of fun for a learning technology junkie and analyst.

Many learning experts believe in the 70:20:10 learning theory which asserts that approximately 70% of learning is experiential, 20% is social and formal is only the remaining 10%.  Yet in the marketplace, organizations formally train their employees and generally do little to facilitate experiential or social learning.  In lockstep over the last 20 years, the learning management system industry developed extremely sophisticated LMS solutions to manage the 10% but largely ignored the 90%.  tessello is the opposite.

The first thing you notice about tessello upon logging in is the modern “unified” user interface that provides visibility to popular resources, community activity, content updates, news, leaderboard, upcoming events and – I almost forgot – formal learning plans.   There is no delineation nor preference between formal, social or experiential learning.

Brightwave Tessello


Similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, tessello provides visual clues in the form of a little red “new” tag that appears on content categories when content is updated to keep the learner engaged.

From a social learning perspective, a learner has a profile, picture, can chat with other learners, see a news feed of the latest social activity and belong to one or more social communities.  The idea with tessello is to create communities of like-minded individuals who share a common course, event, job, role, interest or any strategic bond so that they can share, learn and coach.

Last year, I wrote a post about the rusty nature of Tin Can because I could find no true examples of taking xAPI (Tin Can) beyond what current LMSs and SCORM could already do.  It took tessello for me to see something unique with broad business and learning application. The inclusion of experiential learning via the xAPI standard is unique and pervasive in the product.  For example:

  • Read an interesting article or book, attend a trade show, have an ‘’ah ha” moment, see a great TED talk, tessello tracks that on your profile.
Adding Experiences in Tessello

Adding Experiences in Tessello

  • A “bookmarklet” is a little widget that you can drag from tessello to your browser bar. This allows you to record and document any experiential learning activity while you are surfing the web on laptop or mobile device via a mobile app.  All you do is click the button and a white box form appears, you fill it out and it is recorded on your training profile in the LMS.  The next time in the LMS you can share your experience to individuals or groups as appropriate.
  • Informal activities –anything – can be used as assignments in a training plan. For example, request learners write an elevator pitch or document a recent example of a sales call as part of a sales orientation training plan program.
  • Curators can monitor shared content, eliminate the worst and promote the best for wider usage or inclusion in formal learning plans.
  • The xAPI magic is happening behind the curtain somewhere storing the data in an LRS but that is unnecessary geek talk.

My Assessment: tessello is at the beginning of this journey, not the end.  In tessello there is a platform-wide assumption that learners want to learn, share, grow and continually better themselves and their organization — that’s the next-gen knowledge workforce.  If you want to motivate an internal salesforce or external channel partners, create a specialist community of practice, deliver continuing professional development or increase the speed and effectiveness of new product rollouts, tessello is perfect, fun and based on how you learn in real life.


Brightwave tessello Profile

Company Name:  Brightwave

LMS Name: tessello


Social Sites:  Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Google+, YouTube, Blog

tessello Overview Video:  


Contact Information:

Internal Employee Ready:  Yes.  Generally for small and medium businesses with knowledge workforce.

Extended Enterprise Ready:  Yes

Types of Extended Enterprise Expertise Learning Supported:

  • Public Sector
  • Associations
  • Channel
  • Academic

Competitive Differentiation:

  • tessello is one of a very short list of LMS vendors harnessing the value of informal learning experiences and social learning.
  • tessello’s bookmarklet and native app mean you don’t need to be in the LMS to use the LMS. Learners can capture experiences wherever and whenever they occur and then share them.
  • Puts the individual in control of their learning be it formal, informal, experiential, peer-to-peer, mobile, at home and on demand.

Top Industries Served: 

  • Professional services
  • Banking, finance & investment
  • Manufacturing
  • Telecoms
  • Media (and media agencies)
  • Consumer, trade and professional associations

Brightwave tessello LMS Vitals

Content Support:

  • Structured learning pathways offer a blend for both learners and organizations. tessello supports formal, pushed down content, informal pulled in content and microlearning.
  • xAPI
  • Live events
  • Virtual events
  • Any electronic document, website or URL

Role Management:

  • There are a series of predefined roles including learner, manager, admin, curator and coach.
  • Any user can get extra permissions assigned based on layering on another role.

User Experience: 

  • Totally integrated modern user interface that uniquely combines social, formal, informal and experiential learning into the main landing page.
  • Easy to use, understand and get around. I found a lot of “direction” pages the first time I entered a new part of the LMS to help me along.

Social Learning: 

  • tessello is social media platform seamlessly ingrained in an LMS and much focus is devoted to engaging a community of users to share and learn together.
  • Learners have profiles, pictures, news feeds, communities and ways to interact with each other.
  • On the main interface you can see popular content, community members’ activity as well as your own reputation score.
  • Users can post documents, links and experiences to communities or their profile. Once there, managers or curators can share the content for broader distribution, inclusion in learning plans and more.
  • LinkedIn and Twitter handle part of user profile but not really integrated into the workflow anywhere.


  • I accessed tessello from a laptop and 7” tablet and it worked well and was easy to read on both although not mobile responsive in the traditional sense.
  • There is also a downloadable mobile app that replicates the bookmarklet feature allowing to document experiential learning and sites, books, videos and other resources you find while surfing on your mobile device.


  • I started accumulating “reputation” points as soon as I logged in the first time. My profile is then updated with the points and I could see where I sit on the “reputation” leaderboard.
  • Administratively, points can be assigned to many activities in the LMS such as learning, commenting, sharing, liking and more.

eCommerce:  None, but upcoming third-party integration for the capability to sell continuing education/professional development content.


  • xAPI (Tin Can)
  • Restful APIs but only with professional services
  • SAML Single Sign-On
  • Batch data feeds

Reporting and Analytics:

  • Real-time
  • Google analytic type reports for administrators include access reports, device and location
  • Managers can access users from their main interface, but there are no front-end team overview reports
  • Administratively reports can be made and saved for typical course progress, user progress and site access

Domain Management:  Multi-tier organizational structure and custom field options, provides control of your different user populations and what they can see and do.


  • In English only, but accessed globally.
  • Language localizations on 2015 product roadmap

Thanks for reading!

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Talented Learning LMS Reviews provide initial screening of vendors for extended enterprise suitability.  Vendors share lots of information on their websites — feature lists, video demos, case studies, position papers, press releases, free trials and more.  We review and analyze all of this information to determine a vendor’s mission, assess the platform’s strengths and weaknesses, and determine how effectively it serves extended enterprise learning needs.

As always, at Talented Learning, we’re not about making sweeping predictions or judging vendors.  Instead, we document the realities of today’s LMS landscape, and how learning technology is actually adding value.  We have only one goal — to help clients find appropriate LMS vendors based on their unique business requirements.

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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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