Letters are platform-generated emails that allow you to communicate with your users. Letters are primarily used to notify users by email that they’re enrolled in an Activity, have an Activity due date on the horizon, and to keep managers updated on the progress of each user. While you can contact users with an ad-hoc Letter sent manually from the platform, Letters are most powerful when set up with Letter Triggers that automatically send users an email based on their actions in the platform.

Letters that are triggered automatically are based on Letter templates you create for actions in the system. Letters can be triggered for a number of actions including, manual or automatic learner enrollments, learning completions based on a learner's status, or an expiration notice for an award. Before you create a Letter trigger, you have to define the message that will be sent to your users.

This article will shed light on how to create a new Letter, setting up and defining Letter triggers, checking the Letter log for a user, and sending an ad-hoc Letter.


CREATING A NEW LETTER



STEP 1:

From the lefthand navigation tab, navigate to the Letters tab to view the Letter list page. Click the New Letter button.

The Letter List page displays all of the Letters currently defined in the system in alphabetical order. At the top right of the page is a Filter button that has options to display both Active and Inactive Letters.


STEP 2:

Fill in the following information on the New Letter page.

  • Name - gives your Letter a contextual name. Doing so will make it easy to find in the Letter list for editing later on.
  • Subject - enter the Subject line that the learner will see at the top of the email.
  • Body - type in the text for the body of the letter. Clicking the Use HTML Editor checkbox will change the text box from a plain text editor to an HTML editor where you can enter in valid HTML.
    • if you don't see the option to enable HTML for letters, please contact an Intellum representative and request that the feature be enabled for your account.

You can also use Dynamic Variables to make your letter more personal and customized. Clicking the Dynamic Variables link displays a list of dynamic elements that can be added to personalize your message or to include other info from the platform.


STEP 3:

Click the Create button.

An additional section appears on the Letter Properties page - Restricted Admin. Here, you can give admin permissions to any restricted administrators with the "Specified Letters" property set in their admin role. To learn more about Restricted Admin permissions, click here.


DYNAMIC VARIABLES

Dynamic Variables can help you personalize the messages you send to users by pulling specific information from the platform for each dynamic element you add to your letter. For example, adding @first_name@ to the salutation of your letter will automatically pull in the first name of each user receiving the email.

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User variables:

  • User variables can help you personalize your letters, while also adding necessary user info to platform letters.

Enrollment variables:

  • Enrollment variables help you build the letters a user receives regarding her enrollments - like when an activity is assigned to her or when an activity's due date is approaching - among others.

Activity variables:

  • Activity variables let you add basic activity info to platform letters.

Event variables:

  • Event variables help you build informative communications for your events. Add an event's information to event enrollment letters and event reminders.

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MANAGING LETTERS




Back at the top of the Letter List page, when you click on the checkbox to the left of a Letter title, you will see two buttons appear at the top of the page:

  • Edit - click this button to edit the same fields you entered when the Letter was created. An Active checkbox will appear at the top of the page--you can uncheck this box to deactivate a Letter if you wish.
  • Delete - click this button to delete the specified Letter. A pop-up box will appear, asking you to confirm your decision.


UNDERSTANDING LETTER TRIGGERS




Letter Triggers are the automatic actions that occur in Intellum that cause an email to be sent to the user and/or their manager. Letter Triggers can be set up through the Letter Properties of any Activity in the Platform. Activities can have multiple Letter Triggers added to them, and you can set up alerts and Reminders to be sent out based on specific triggers that you set. Letters are a great way to:

  • Alert a learner that a new Activity has been assigned (Enrollment trigger)
  • Remind a learner of an upcoming assignment (Reminder trigger)
  • Notify a learner of a failing Activity grade (Failed trigger)
  • Congratulate a learner on a passing Activity grade (Passed trigger)
  • Send a reminder to a learner after they have completed an Activity (Any Completed trigger)

Letter Triggers that have been added to an Activity display at the bottom of the Letter Properties section.

There are eight types of system actions that trigger emails for regular activities. Intellum's Trigger Types are:


LETTER TRIGGER TYPES FOR ACTIVITIES

IN PROGRESS:

  • Enrollment - occurs when a learner is enrolled into an Activity.
  • Due Date Reminder - occurs when a defined length of time prior to or after a due date for the activity is reached.

COMPLETED:

  • Failed - when a learner has a Failed status for an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • Passed - when a Passed status has been attained for an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • Dropped - when a learners drops an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • No Show - when a learner has a No Show status for an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • Any Completed - when any of the above four statuses have been attained for an Activity, this trigger occurs.

The platform will not send Passed letters for any enrollments updated in bulk or via import as "Passed". This protection mitigates the number of emails sent by the platform, allowing you to migrate enrollments or make bulk updates to enrollments - without worrying about overwhelming your learners' inboxes.

AWARD:

  • Expiration - this occurs when a defined length of time prior to or after an award has expired for an Activity is reached.


LETTER TRIGGER TYPES FOR EVENTS

IN PROGRESS:

  • Enrollment - occurs when a learner is enrolled into an Activity.
  • Day-Of Reminder - occurs when a defined length of time prior to the start of the event (from 30 minutes to 8 hours) on the same day has been reached.
  • Start Date Reminder - occurs when a defined length of time prior to the start of the event (from 1 day to 30 days) has been reached.
  • End Date Reminder - occurs when a defined length of time prior to or after the end date of the event (from 15 minutes before to 15 minutes after) has been reached.
  • Completed - self explanatory.
  • Failed - when a learner gets Failed status an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • No Show - when a learner gets a No Show status for an Activity, this trigger occurs.
  • Passed - when a learner gets a Passed status for an Activity, this trigger occurs.

The remaining Letter trigger fields are:

  • Letter - defines the Letter's message based on the Letter templates you've created.
  • Send to - determines who receives the letter (user only, manager only, or both user and manager).
  • Remind - displays when you set up the following triggers:
    • Due Date Reminder
    • Any Completed
    • Day-of Reminder
    • Start Date Reminder
    • End Date Reminder

"Reminder" triggers offer varying options depending on the time frame of the trigger. Due Date Reminder and Start Date Reminder triggers give you an additional Reminder field to let you determine how often the Reminder should be sent out--once, every week, every other day, or every day until completion.

  • Additional CC email addresses - this function offers you the option to copy people on a particular email--you may add their email addresses here, separated by commas.


"LOOK BACK" RULES FOR LETTER TRIGGERS




"Look Back" rules exist for each trigger type, which define how many days back the trigger will look to see which users should receive the Letter. Here are the look back rules, as well as when the letter is sent, for each trigger type:

Trigger Type

Rule

When is Letter sent?

Reminder

The trigger will look back forever

Nightly

Any Completed

The trigger will not send to learners who completed beyond 15 days ago

Nightly

Enrollment

The trigger will not send letter to learners who enrolled beyond 2 weeks ago or enrolled before creation of the letter trigger

10 minutes after the enrollment

Dropped/Failed/No-Show

The trigger will not send letter to learners enrolled beyond 2 weeks ago

Nightly

Passed

The trigger will not send letter to learners enrolled beyond 2 weeks ago

within 10 minutes of the enrollment

Expiration

The trigger will look back forever

Nightly


ACCESSING A LETTER LOG HISTORY




Intellum helps you keep track of your communications with learners. As an admin, you can easily review the Letters sent to a user by reviewing the Letter log history or by running a Report.

To view a user's Letter Log History, go to the User Properties page for that user, and in the Maintenance section, click the Letter log history button.

The Letter log gives you a list, organized in reverse chronological order, of all the Letters sent to a user. The Letter Name, Letter Type, Activity for which the letter was sent, and Date Sent are all displayed on this page. Each Letter is linked by name for easy access to edit your Letter template.

You can also run a Letter Log report from the Reports tab to collect more in-depth data about Letters sent to users.


SENDING AD HOC LETTERS




Ad Hoc Letters are Letters that an administrator manually sends to users. An example of how you can use this feature is if an admin such as yourself needs to remind one or more users to complete their enrollment in an Activity.

Ad Hoc Letters are sent from the Users tab. On the User List page, select one or more users to whom you want to send an ad hoc letter to using the checkbox to the left of their name(s). Once selected, at the top of the page, click the More button, then the Letter option:


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A pop-up modal will appear. You'll see two choices: Template or Custom:

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Choose the Template option to send a message based on the Letter templates you've added onto the platform.

Choose the Custom option to create an on-the-fly message. You'll see the following fields appear in front of you:

  • Subject - The subject line of the email message.
  • Body - The main text of the email message.
    • Dynamic Variables - you can include Dynamic Variables in the subject and body of your custom email. When the email is sent, any Dynamic Variables used will be replaced by the actual data from the system in the correct context. For example, if you include the Dynamic Variable '@first_name@', when the email is sent, the variable will be replaced by the actual first name of the user to whom the email is sent.
  • Use HTML Editor - checking this box displays an HTML editor, which allows entering HTML instead of simple plain text.

Regardless of the type of ad hoc letter you create, you have two options when it comes to how the letter is sent:

  • Send bulk email - sends the letter to the selected user(s) via email.
  • Create PDF - generates a PDF of the letter for your use.

Both methods of sending a letter can be tracked on the System Log page, including a link to download the PDF file if you chose to create a PDF.