A Learning Management System (LMS) is a web-based application that allows a company to provide a target audience with relevant e-learning courses. It is an effective and responsive way for industry experts and instructional designers to create, deliver, and manage their content, as well as to monitor participation and assess performance among learners. An LMS forms a crucial cog in the clockwork of your e-learning strategy as it directly correlates to user experience. It can be viewed as a centralized platform through which all the required knowledge is able to reach its target audience. Hence, implementing an LMS is a crucial step in ensuring the success of your e-learning program.
Below are some of the steps that we recommend you follow for a successful and smooth LMS implementation:
Put Together a Team
The implementation of an LMS is an extensive task. To get started, first assemble your team. You must have a core team that is directly responsible for LMS implementation tasks and making decisions associated with these. You will also need a secondary team that can join in at strategic points, such as when the workload increases. It is essential for you to have identified and engaged your core team members before beginning the implementation process. Extended team members, however, can be established after the core team has convened and begun to develop the project plan. A complete team should usually consist of:
- Team Leaders
- Project Managers
- E-learning Specialists
- Training Administrators
- Information Technology Administrators
Define Objectives and Plan Accordingly
You should have a clear understanding of what your goals are and what the end results will look like. Clearly define the objectives that the LMS and e-learning programs are going to achieve. These are the questions that should be answered by the organization as a whole and not just be restricted to the LMS team. As you create a list of goals, you should prioritize each one from “absolutely essential” to “good to have.” Focus on the essential parts first, and form a plan accordingly. It is necessary to have a concrete plan in place; this will prove invaluable as unanticipated needs and challenges arise as the project proceeds.
Negotiate Wisely with your LMS Vendor
Negotiate wisely with your LMS vendor to ensure that you receive complete training on how their product works. Make system configuration decisions in advance, based directly on the needs of your organization. These can be far-reaching decisions that will have a long-term impact on the capabilities of the application. A thorough analysis of your needs and future goals can go a long way in helping you make the best choices. After the LMS has been installed, users often encounter problems that they do not know how to solve and the vendor might not be available to resolve these. A lack of support often underutilizes the potential of the LMS, so it is essential that you agree that your vendor will include support as an integral part of your LMS package.
Establish Quality Testing Norms
The last major step before going live with your LMS is to conduct user acceptance tests. By running extensive user tests you can catch any bugs or glitches and nip them in the bud. Testing assures that your configuration, courses, and data are available in the system as you expect them to be. Only after you are satisfied with the test results should you introduce your courses to your employees.
A successfully implemented LMS means that your users will get the best possible experience while undertaking their courses. Below are some of the factors that you need to consider in order to make that happen:
- Make sure that the LMS is in accordance with your company’s learning objectives and long-term goals. An LMS might be excellent in providing administrative backend processes, but might not offer a great user experience in the long term.
- You should be aware of all the features the LMS is going to bring to the table. Your LMS can have the latest and greatest features, but that isn’t not going to mean much if they cannot fulfill your requirements and expectations.
- Many people assume that the LMS purchase price is the ONLY cost involved. However, there are many additional costs associated with it, including the setting up of the system, monthly or yearly maintenance, upgrades and updates, and customization. Be sure to clearly agree on all costs at the outset to avoid any monetary surprises later on.
By configuring these steps into your LMS implementation plan, you will be sure to optimize your LMS investment for the future.