In a time when life has more or less moved online and people are depending on technology to make everything easier and less time consuming, it makes perfect sense for organizations to depend on intricate Learning Management Systems when it comes to developing their employees.
Some companies have been visionary enough to implement this for quite some time, others are only now beginning to tap into the potential of integrated learning ecosystems.
Regardless how they chose their timing, businesses need to know that simply buying a LMS and expecting smooth sailing from there has little chance of actually working.
4 Steps for implementing a new LMS
Like with all change, time, effort and adjustments are needed before cashing in the results. But don’t fret. Here are a few steps that could make the journey of implementing a new LMS easier for those involved in it.
Step 1: Planning
Ideally the process starts before even looking at possible vendors. Even though they may have highly skilled salespeople who make their product sound like too good to pass on, the internal needs should be under scrutiny first.
It’s important to put together a team of people from different areas of the organization. Even if the decision maker will be somebody representing L&D, it’s crucial to get information from all across the business.
If it’s the first experience with LMS, asking the vendor for a template will help get some idea of what such a system can do. If the whole project started from the need to replace an existing LMS, it’s enough to take a look of what generated that idea – what the shortcomings were and what expectations there are for the future.
Read more: When it’s time to let go of an LMS
Step 2: Configuration
The second important step is getting the right configuration for the company. Although it may be very tempting to just ask for every single button and option available, more is not necessarily better. Adding functions that are of no use to anybody will only make things confusing and the LMS harder to access.
Keeping in mind that it will have to be ultimately used by all employees, user friendliness is a big must. That’s why it’s best, if possible, to hide the administrative features altogether from certain user groups and only make them available to those who will really need to use them. Having options that once clicked on say “you do not have permission” are annoying even if people do understand why that happens.
Step 3: Communication
Communication is essential in integrating a LMS, whether it’s the first one or simply a new one. Discussion about it should begin long before it is even purchased. It’s a lot easier to get people’s buy in if they are in the loop right off the bat.
Asking them about their experience and their expectations will increase engagement and show them that the change is made for them and not at them – a feeling they may get if a ready-made product is presented them with the requirement to be accessed and used in order for it to demonstrate its ROI.
The new platform ought to be presented in such a manner as to invite users to log in and test it. Incentives such as game badges, nice frames for the intranet pictures or even small prizes for the most active learners might also come in handy.
Step 4: Testing
Expect issues. Even with the best planning and most efficient technical team, no LMS will ever be working flawlessly from the very beginning. It’s not to be blamed on anybody’s incompetence, it’s just what happens.
Being aware and prepared for this will save everybody a great deal of stress and will lead a much more honest and constructive approach. While some testing can be done by a small focus group, the truth about what works and what needs a little tweaking will only become apparent once the LMS goes live.
Instead of a pompous email letting everybody know that it is ready, it is great and it will change the face of learning within the organization, it’s a lot fairer to announce the launch ‘with a grain of salt’ – let users know that issues might arise while also telling them their feedback is important and will be taken into consideration.
To sum up
The steps to be taken for a successful LMS implementation are: planning, configuration, communication and testing, with a huge accent on communication. People’s perception is paramount in using the LMS to its full potential. The whole point of bringing technology into everything is that it has the power to make things easier and more fun so the thing any team placed in charge of a new LMS project should mainly focus on the human component. It needs to be the focal point that everything is built around.
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and MATRIX. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author, and educator.