In our previous blog, Top 10 LMS Features for Training Providers to Consider, we discussed the most important qualities you should be looking for in a LMS such as intuitive interfaces, SCORM compliance, scalability, and most importantly, always retaining total control over your intellectual property.
Now let’s talk about some 6 LMS implementation tips for the LMS you have chosen.
There are two kinds of companies in the training provider industry: those that already have a LMS, and those about to get one.
For those that already have a LMS populated with courses and users and have outgrown it, moving to another system might mean you have to migrate data for every account and user, which could prove extremely difficult and disruptive to customers with hundreds or thousands of users.
There will need to be serious coordination among clients with scheduled content freezes and training blackout periods to ensure all data is ported over correctly for a smooth transition.
If that can’t be done, you might find yourself paying for two learning management systems, one for older accounts and another for new ones. And chances are you’re going to lose some customers in the process.
For those about to get a LMS for the first time, the hope is that your business will grow over time, so you want to choose a system that is scalable to avoid the headaches mentioned above.
Let’s say you found one that meets your needs – you can’t just flip a switch. LMS implementation is a process that requires planning with clear goals and objectives that align with your business model, i.e., the kind of training you offer and how you monetize it.
LMS Implementation Planning Tips
- Create a schedule for launch. Speak with your LMS provider about expectations for timelines. Be sure to build in time for course design, creation, adding user data, and module testing and debugging before launch. Assign roles and responsibilities to each member of your team to drive progress.
- Fully understand LMS capabilities. What did you buy? Do you and your administrators know how to take maximum advantage of the system and understand its limitations? Reach out to your provider’s support team to get educated on workflows and troubleshooting before you start building courseware and deciding the types of data you want to capture when registering users and populating the LMS. This will save countless hours of support activities and re-work, and allow you to focus on building the business, not fixing technical issues. At Firmwater, our support team strives to make sure our customers know how to take full advantage of LMS capabilities and the training resources available to them.
- Build and test content. After your content is transformed into eLearning modules and courses, you need to test them on different devices, operating systems, and web browsers. Send them to internal employees and have them beta the course to identify bugs, check that quizzes are scored accurately, or experience incompatibilities that might impact content from displaying properly in certain environments before granting client access to a course.
- Verify connectivity and pilot the LMS with a sample course. Today, most LMS implementations are cloud-based, and content delivery is provided over the Internet. If you plan to deliver content into corporate environments, be aware there may be firewalls and gateways between user populations and LMS servers. Verify with your customer that there are no restrictions in place that may interfere with the trouble-free delivery of your courses. This is the time to make technical adjustments and check that emails are not being blocked by corporate servers.Then select a small group of users to test and provide feedback on the course. The pilot group should include a mix of different types of users, operating systems, and devices. The key to a successful pilot is that users must be using the same networks that the larger target population will use to access the LMS. This will help identify and resolve potential content and technical issues with your new course and eliminate blind spots across all platforms.
- Promote your course(s). Don’t wait until your virtual doors are open. Let your customers and prospects know what’s on the horizon and when it’s coming with an email blast campaign.
- Launch your course(s). It’s time to go live when you know everything is working across all platforms on which the content may be consumed. Grant the course(s) out to clients. If switching to a new LMS platform, you may want to offer the course on both systems in parallel for a short time before phasing out the old LMS.
Stay on top of changes
Post-implementation, reporting is key to success. You can track participant starts, completion rates, or investigate why everyone is getting Question 10 wrong on the final exam. Is it a problem with code or comprehension? Perhaps you need to revisit and improve the content.
Keeping your content current regarding changing compliance regulations or laws in a particular industry is critical, but don’t forget about advances in web browser technology. Not so much to make sure your video content still displays properly – most compatibility issues have been ironed out already by browser developers – but with regard to security.
Browser developers are constantly making changes to address security vulnerabilities identified by the latest hack. These may result in additional restrictions on what a browser allows the LMS to do.
The good news is that the major learning authoring tool developers regularly update their applications to keep up with these kinds of changes. Quite often a simple republish of the content will bring it up to date with the browser changes.
Performing a check on a quarterly or twice-yearly basis on the major browsers is recommended to stay ahead of potential problems. A spike in user support requests on a particular course may be a sign that a browser change has created a problem.
Finally, use the automated tools embedded in your selected LMS to drive adoption and course completion rates. You can:
- Set reasonable due dates when assigning content to users. Courses with a completion deadline add a sense of urgency and are more likely to be completed than those without one.
- Configure the LMS to send course assignment emails so users are made aware of new training requirements
- Configure the LMS to send expiration date or access ending reminder emails to those who have not completed courses.
If all goes well, you’ll have a LMS that is ready to hit the ground running, serving and tracking content consumed by multiple distinct user populations through branded client sites with minimal administration on your part.
Firmwater has been there and done that for countless clients over the past 20 years. We offer this advice because we want to see all training providers LMS implementations succeed, whether or not the Firmwater LMS is right for you.
We specialize in helping training providers deliver training content to individuals, employees, partners, and customers. If that’s what you do, let us help you get your LMS off to a great start.
Book a demo with us and find out how easy it is to implement a LMS with the support of Firmwater behind you.