It is fun doing these LMS reviews. Sometimes I find exactly what I expect. Other times, I end up in a very different place.
Mindflash is a case of the latter. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do this review but ended up spending more time than usual as it turned out to be a capable extended enterprise application.
This is neither an LMS, nor an LCMS, nor an authoring tool by traditional standards. Yet, they definitely have some features of all that are neatly tied together to provide a really easy, inexpensive, extensible, no-risk solution that is perfect for getting into customer, channel and employee eLearning.
They have a monthly release of new features in their Cloud-only solution so they are the kind of company you can grow with over time if you are just getting started.
Mindflash targets the many smaller organizations of fifty to a few thousand users that see value in training, invest in training, but have yet to make the leap into eLearning. Every growing commercial organization has to take the first step into eLearning at some point — it is just too expensive and restrictive not to. Mindflash is that first step. Mindflash is a web-based, online training platform with these core features:
- Allows training administrators to import PowerPoint, Video, Audio, Word, Articulate, Captivate and PDF files and order them into a course or series of courses
- Provides the native ability to create and add basic quizzes and surveys with question level reporting
- Ability to publish the course and invite users to take the course on a voluntary or mandatory basis
- Administrators are provided course completion, status reports and dashboards that can be distributed
- Social integration with Yammer who is also a customer of Mindflash using it for internal employees and channel partners
From an ecommerce perspective, Mindflash has a Shopify integration. You set up your storefront on Shopify and sell your Mindflash courses or series of courses. Shopify is a world leading ecommerce site allowing businesses to build websites to sell any type of product or service. So rather than build intra-ecommerce capability Mindflash partnered to provide a full, highly configurable and proven ecommerce feature set.
The downside of the Shopify strategy is that you have to contract separately with Shopify and build an ecommerce website storefront and an LMS. So you have to learn and maintain two systems. The upside is the combined solution is inexpensive, easy to set up, easy to get help from independent Shopify experts and made for selling and marketing.
Administratively, you enter your Shopify account code into Mindflash and then you designate content that you want to sell as products in Shopify and it stays tied together. Users buy in Shopify using their comprehensive shopping cart, 50 languages, global currencies, multiple payment methods, etc to facilitate the purchase. Learners are sent an email with URL, username and password to the Mindflash portal and upon log in purchased content is on their homepage.
A cool innovative feature that I found is Focusassist. Focusassist is a feature that requires the user to have a webcam that measures user engagement. A user just can’t click a video and walk away for 10 minutes for example. They have to look at the video or the course will pause.
Additionally, Focusassist uses the webcam to monitor dozens of body movements like yawning, talking and leaning back. It then aggregates this data to provide instructors a view of their course and group engagement level. If you have 90% engagement and then it drops to 10% for a module, that should motivate you to find out why and correct.
My assessment –Mindflash is the entry level LMS. It currently lacks a lot of features of traditional LMS solutions but is a very viable solution for your extended enterprise of sales channel, agents, members and customers. For about $15,000 investment per year, you can prove the eLearning business case for both external and internal audiences in your organization. As Mindflash grows, they will continue to be able to offer support for more and more advanced scenarios.
Mindflash Extended Enterprise Vitals
LMS Name: Mindflash
Extended Enterprise Ready: Yes
Types of Extended Enterprise Expertise Learning Supported:
- Non-profits (20% pricing discount)
- Can’t be simpler to get started and use
- Convert your existing training materials to online learning easily
- Roll out to small, strategic audiences to get your feet wet in eLearning
- Create an eLearning business by selling content to public, customers and business partners
Licensing and Certification Features: None found
Adaptive Learning Features:
- Unlimited portals for different audience groups with logo/color branding
- Custom user profile fields
- Create custom catalogs of courses and make catalog visible before log on
- Mindflash supports an integration with Shopify to sell your Mindflash courses and series. Shopify provides you with a storefront and a payment processor.
- However, you need a Shopify account for a minimum of $29.95/month and you have to setup and maintain your storefront.
State and Global Taxation Features:
- Shopify supports 50 languages and automatically handles major country and state tax rates
Social Collaboration Features:
- Integration with Yammer included to share courses on timeline, invite users from your contact list and share success in your Yammer feed
- Post course announcements to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
- Mindflash supports use of tablets and mobile devices by Trainees using the web browser on the device. Trainees can access their account and take courses. Additionally, iPad users can download the Mindflash iPad app that allows users to switch from laptop device to mobile device and it keeps your place in the content
- No smartphone access
Gamification Features: None found
- Content can be uploaded in any language today
- 8 end-user language localizations including Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, Canadian French, Spanish and English.
- Shopify has 50 language localizations and global currency management
- 100% Cloud-based
- Users need a modern browser with Flash installed
- Mac and PC
- API for Single Sign On, HR, CRM and web portal integration
- Connectors to Yammer and Shopify
- There are course reporting and advanced reporting options that provide a Google Analytics type interface with dashboards on course usage and training progress.
Links to Case Studies on Extended Enterprise Learning:
- Big Ass Fans delivers its Mindflash training program employees and a select group of external, international distributors
- KOFAX — Learn how software provider KOFAX Reduced training costs by 80% with Mindflash used to support channel, customers and employees
- Yammer uses Mindflash to sell courses for the partner certification.
Links to Online Demos:
- 2-minute Mindflash Introduction Video
- Mindflash Customer and Partner Training Webinar — has lots of good demoing of the whole lifecycle of creating, selling, consuming and reporting on training. Published 4/2/2014 –Extended enterprise is back on the topic list!
- You can get a good feeling of rate of product development progress by watching December 2013, January 2014, March 2014 and April 2014 Mindflash New Features Webinars
- The Mindflash YouTube Channel has another 20 videos with monthly updates
- Very easily and quickly create your own free, no credit card required, 14 day trial of Mindflash with all the features turned on.
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About Talented Learning LMS Reviews
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.