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6 Steps for a Successful Learning Management System Implementation

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The learning environment has evolved and eLearning is on the rise. You’ve probably heard about mlearning, gamification, competency-based learning, big data… As learning leaders, we look for ways to better engage adult learners and ensure that learning helps employees bring value to our organization. Many professionals already use a learning management system to support their training needs. However, many of them are dissatisfied with their current LMS and consider implementing another LMS.

Moving from one LMS to another can be difficult. In this article, we look at how we can ensure your new LMS implementation is a success.

6 Steps for a Successful Learning Management System Implementation

1. Gather an implementation team

When you are planning a switch to a new LMS, ensure you are allowing yourself enough time to work on the implementation. Allocating the right resources, timeframe and budget is critical for your success. Every department within your organization should be involved in the process.

To get started, gather both a core team and an extended team that spans your organization:

  • The core team will take charge of the implementation tasks and decisions. They will oversee administration, technical support and content management. The size of the core team should reflect the size of your organization. At minimum though, it should include a team leader, a project manager, 1-2 training administrators and an IT representative.
  • You will also need to assemble an extended team that includes a sample of end users (employees, customers, members or partners) and an IT lead. The extended team will help with testing and provide feedback on the LMS.

2. Define expectations and learning objectives

There may be many reasons why you decided to implement a new LMS: cost savings, accessibility options, improved features, better support, the list goes on. But if you do not define your expectations for the new LMS, chances are that you’ll not take advantage of the full potential of the new application.

In order to get the most out of your new LMS, it’s critical to build a list of expectations and learning objectives that your system should address. Each requirement should express a specific need.

Identify the key LMS features that prompted the migration, and focus on those needs for your LMS implementation. Features that are important to almost every organization include:

  • Integration with your HRIS, ERP or CRM system
  • User-friendly interface
  • Assessment and certification options
  • Administrative capabilities
  • Reporting and tracking
  • Flexible support
  • SaaS cloud-based platform

Most importantly, make sure your LMS lets you map both your organizational structure, and the learning requirements across the organization, so you can easily identify and address any gaps.

3. Address technical challenges

If you already use an LMS, you will need to migrate your existing data to the new LMS. IT techs from your company and from your LMS provider should be involved in the conversation to establish how data will be transferred (file upload, download, physical transfer or automated transfer via an API).

If your legacy system is integrated with a third party application like an HRIS, ERP or CRM system, they should also discuss the integration capabilities of your new platform and the timeframe for implementation.

Also, review the format of your existing course content files with your LMS provider to identify any incompatibilities that could delay your LMS implementation. Make sure your LMS supports SCORM and Tin Can–it will ease your course migration. Check out How to Deliver eLearning Content in your LMS to get tips for integrating eLearning content within your LMS

4. Plan your data migration

Before migrating all of your existing training data and courses, think about whether some should be archived elsewhere or even deleted. The more data you migrate; the more time it will take. Check with your IT and legal departments for guidance. There could be an information retention policy for your organization that will inform your decision.

Once you’ve decided which content to move, you will need to load your users in the system. If you are integrating the new LMS with an HRIS, ERP or CRM system, an API can automate the load for you. You’ll be working with your IT department to plan, develop, implement and test the connector.

If you’re not using an API to connect to an existing “people” system, you will need to transfer users from the legacy system to the new LMS with a manual process. Check with your LMS provider to see what options are available to help you with a manual migration.

5. Test, test, test!

Make sure you allocate enough time to testing. Assign a manager to oversee the entire testing process including the test schedule, the collection of feedback and the assignment of work to address any issues that are identified by the testers.

Before rolling out your new system across the entire organization, consider a soft launch. Ask your extended team to test the software for a two- or three-week period.

Testing is a critical part of the implementation process. Good testing practices will help you deliver the best possible user experience to your learners.

Use a standardized form to collect feedback from testers with a range of roles and LMS experience. Then, work with your IT team to define a timeline to solve any issues.

6. Look for new opportunities

Stay in touch with your LMS provider to learn about new features as they are introduced, and take any opportunities you have to share your feedback with your vendor. Your wish might just become the next new feature they build.

Once your new LMS is fully implemented, look for opportunities for continuous improvement. The learning space is constantly changing and so are your organization’s requirements.

Need more advice on LMS implementation? Download our Free eBook now!

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Marie Dufresne

Marie leads the Marketing Team for SkillBuilder. Very attentive to customers’ needs, she uses both customer insights and behaviour data to deliver the best customer experience, while building the SkillBuilder brand. As a French expatriate, she always likes to challenge herself. Outside of work she enjoys travelling, running, hiking and camping.

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