You’ve chosen a new LMS and are hearing mixed reviews from both your administrators and your learners. Some are anxious about navigating a new system, others worry it won’t integrate well with existing systems, still more want more information about the real impact this application will have on their day-to-day lives.
You need to get your users onside. Convincing your LMS users to adopt your LMS has its challenges, but with a little sales savvy and some well-thought-out training exercises, you can overcome any resistance you may face.
In this article, we’ll look at selling your LMS and explain some things you can do to get your users onside.
Convince Users to Adopt Your LMS
Onboarding reluctant users
Changes at the workplace are inevitably met with resistance by some. Implementing a new LMS is bound to make some people grimace. Let’s look at some basic tactics that will help bring you the buy-in you need from your users.
Start to communicate with your users early in the LMS adoption process by sending out short emails. Let them know a little about what’s happening and keep them updated on a regular basis. They need to know what’s coming and what they can expect.
Here are some email tips:
Write interesting subject lines. You want everyone to read your messages. Make them wonder what the message is all about. Instead of “LMS implementation schedule”, try something like, “Expand your mind – legally and on company time”. Sometimes, a teaser will garner more attention than just straight facts.
Don’t depend on people reading emails. Some only read the subject lines. Others will skim the first paragraph and then either read on or delete. There are those that never read emails. And then, thankfully, there are some people who will read the entire email message and even respond!
Target specific audiences. LMS administrators and HR personnel will want to know different things about the LMS than the workers on the factory floor. They have different interests and needs for information. Effective communication comes down to knowing your audience.
For more tips on using email to sell your LMS, check out Jeffrey Roth’s article “Marketing Your LMS Internally”.
An email campaign is a good start. You’ll want to continue sending out information as the day of the LMS launch draws near. Think about using:
- Posters and informational flyers in common areas
- Orientation meetings for teams
- LMS demonstrations at various user levels
- FAQ sheets to explain your eLearning plans
2. Manage Change
You will encounter some resistance to change. The signs of resistance to change are there if you know what to look for.
Some people resist change because they:
- Misunderstand the need for the change: Communicate how the new LMS and eLearning will improve the training program.
- Don’t do well with online training: It’s a valid concern for some. Remind learners that they can complete their eLearning anytime and anywhere. They can repeat assignments that are difficult until they succeed and there is online help available.
- Feel a loss of control: This sentiment may be most prevalent amongst trainers and supervisors who provide training. These people need to be shown how eLearning and the LMS will enhance what they’ve been doing and provide additional opportunities for on-the-job training.
- Hate surprises: “When did they decide this?” is the question most often asked by those who are surprised by change, regardless of how many emails you’ve sent, posters you’ve put up, meetings you’ve held, etc. Be patient with these types and make sure they know what’s coming next and when.
3. Start Onboarding LMS Administrators and Learners
You’ve prepared everyone for the upcoming change and introduced the new learning management system. Now, show them how it’s done.
If your LMS administrators have never worked with an LMS, they may not know what to expect. As training program administrators, they’ve been responsible for the oversight of the program, training content creation and updates, learner registration and tracking and a number of other tasks. Your job here is to show them what the LMS can do to help them with:
- Adding or removing users and groups
- Assigning different roles to users
- Setting up learning paths for learners to complete
- Assigning learning paths to specific learners or groups of learners
- Managing learning content
- Creating assessments and award certifications
- Customizing learner notifications
- Creating reports
There’s a lot that an LMS can do for administrators. But, you need to show them how it’s done. Here are some things that you should do to ensure your administrators are ready to use your LMS to its full potential:
1. Invite administrators to vendor demos and free trials: Getting your administrators involved early in the process will help them understand what an LMS can do and help them determine what features they need.
2. Take advantage of training offered by the vendor: Your vendor should offer some training and support for administrators. If they don’t, you’ve chosen the wrong vendor. It’s vital that administrators become familiar with the LMS and its administration functionalities, so ensure that the contract with the vendor stipulates that administrator training will be provided. The last thing an administrator wants to find out is that the only training they will receive is in the manual that comes with the LMS.
3. Develop a relationship with your support person: This is a key relationship and, the better the relationship is, the better the support your LMS administrators will have.
4. Show them how the LMS works from the learner’s perspective: A great way to learn about how an LMS functions is to look at it from the other side. What an administrator sees and does with the LMS is quite different from the learner’s experience.
5. Suggest that they join an LMS administrator group: Sometimes, the best way to learn is to learn from the mistakes, and successes, of others. Joining an LMS administrator group is a great way to access shared knowledge. LinkedIn hosts such groups, and your LMS vendor may host one as well or be able to point you in the right direction.
Learners are the ultimate LMS end-users. They will have different levels of computer skills. Some will be quite comfortable with eLearning while others (and this may be a very small number) may never have used a computer. They will use the LMS to access course content and learn, to complete tests and assessments, and to track their progress.
They will need to know how to log-on to the system and how to navigate their area of the LMS so that they can:
- Access the courses they’ve been assigned
- Complete assignments and assessments
- Access their Dashboard to check their progress, badges earned, etc.
Learners will also have to learn how to navigate courses. Most eLearning courses are designed to be easy to navigate. They have forward, reverse and pause buttons. They may have a volume control or an off switch for the audio. They may offer closed captioning. For a detailed explanation of these navigation devices, see The Top 6 eLearning Course Navigation Styles by Christopher Pappas.
Learners can be taught to use the LMS and navigate the courses through:
- Online interactive tutorials: These are best suited to a computer-literate audience. Tutorials demonstrate each function and then ask learners to repeat each task demonstrated. Some vendors may offer such tutorials, but many of the ones I’ve seen are designed as marketing tools. Producing your own tutorials may be initially expensive, but if the learning audience is large, the outlay is well worth it.
- Facilitated classroom sessions: Classroom sessions offer learners the chance to see an instructor demonstrate how to use LMS functionalities and ask questions during and after the demonstration. Paper-based handouts are the usual take-away for these sessions. This method is more cost-effective than one-on-one sessions and requires that the audience have some degree of computer literacy. The drawback is that the learners have only their handouts to remind them of what they were shown and have no way of reviewing the actual demonstration.
- One-on-one training sessions: This method is best used for those learners who have little or no computer skills such as refugees from developing nations or those with low literacy levels. While effective for the individual learner, this method is time-consuming and expensive.
As you can see, convincing users to adopt your LMS is a necessary part of the implementation process. It’s an onboarding main with a side order of change management and, if done correctly, it will not be too hard for administrators or learners to swallow. And, who knows, they may even enjoy it!