11 April 2023
Single sign-on: benefits of SSO elearning sites
Adopting single sign-on can have a huge impact on your LMS, so let’s look at the key benefits that an SSO elearning site would bring to your organisation.
Single sign-on (or SSO) is the process of giving users access to multiple systems within your organisation using a single set of login credentials. In the case of elearning, your learning management system (LMS) could be one of the systems to which a user gains straightforward access.
Apart from the obvious convenience this brings, SSO elearning sites have numerous other advantages for admins, learners and their organisations as a whole. Before we delve into those in more detail, let’s take a look at how SSO might work for your organisation.
How SSO works
When creating SSO e-learning experiences for Moodle LMS, Moodle Workplace or Totara TXP, we normally offer SAML2 or oAuth2. Both are standards-based authentication and account provisioning methods that can be used to achieve single sign-on. To get it up and running on your LMS you simply need to use an approved plugin.
SAML2 or oAuth2 essentially create a relationship between:
- The web browser where users access your LMS
- Your LMS itself
- An identity provider, which authenticates the login credentials
The process will go something like this:
1. Your user visits the LMS in their browser and clicks to ‘Log in using SSO’.
2. The third-party plugin generates an authentication request.
3. The user is redirected to the identity provider (which might be Microsoft or an alternative service used by your organisation) and log in using their login credentials.
4. The user is authenticated and redirected to the LMS, where they are automatically logged in.
Key benefits of SSO
That relatively simple process has a lot of advantages for your organisation. Some key SSO benefits include:
Better access control
Since access to your LMS becomes centrally managed using systems that are already in place, you get greater control over access to the site.
Easier user management
Disabling a user in the identity provider (e.g. Microsoft) will automatically disable access to your LMS for that user. For that reason, SSO gives quicker and improved user management.
Seamless user experience
SSO creates a better user experience for your learners. If they’ve already signed in to a system using the identity provider, they can potentially access your LMS without having to log in again.
Fewer lost passwords
Instead of your LMS generating yet another set of login credentials for your users to remember, SSO means each user needs only one account instead of juggling different usernames and passwords. This reduces the number of password resets you will need to manage and also improves security by reducing the likelihood of a user having to write down their login credentials or record them in an insecure format.
You can manage login requirements and additional authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication, for your LMS via the identity provider. This avoids the need for any additional configuration within the LMS to achieve this extra protection.
How having an SSO elearning platform helps you
As you might have started to piece together while reading about the benefits of SSO, adding single sign-on to an LMS will help you in three key areas: engagement, efficiency and security.
SSO increases engagement because it becomes easier for users to access learning. No lost usernames or forgotten passwords. No disjointed access requirements. The seamless user experience we mentioned above makes it easier for learners to engage with your LMS (and more likely that they will do so).
When we talk about efficiency, we’re really referring to saving you valuable time. Easier user management, access control and password management alleviate some of the admin burden of managing an LMS. This will help to free up time that you can put to better use.
SSO also makes your LMS more secure. Crucially, it does this in a way that not only takes quite a few security considerations off your plate but also avoids creating additional work for your IT department. It’s a win-win situation.
Ready for an SSO elearning site?
If you’re interested in adding SSO to Totara or Moodle platforms for your organisation, feel free to fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.