The Talent Scout Episode 49: How to Implement a Learning Management System (LMS)
4 minutes | Posted 02 March, 2021

Implementing a Learning Management System or LMS is one of the best investments you can make, especially if you’re expecting to successfully grow your organization’s headcount. Today, we’re going to continue talking about Learning software and walk through how to implement a learning management system within an organization. 

Many organizations struggle to implement and launch their systems properly. It’s a big undertaking and one that can often be underestimated or rushed in the worst-case scenarios. That doesn’t mean that bringing in a new learning management system should be daunting either, but it does need to be respected as a project of work. 

Identify your goals

As with all projects, the first step is identifying your goals. Many organizations will implement a Learning Management System and often they’ll do it for very different reasons. Before you begin, it is important to be clear on what your goals are or alternatively what challenges you’re hoping to address with your new Learning Management System.

For example, are you hoping to offer employees professional development? Address risk management or data protection requirements? Maybe you want a means of developing future leaders? Whether your goal is, a combination of what I’ve just mentioned or something else entirely it’s important to identify before you begin so that your goal can guide your overall investment in a Learning Management System. 

Select the right provider

Knowing your goals and objectives for your new LMS will help you select the right provider for you. Typically LMS providers offer software and implementation support and it should be noted that partnering with an LMS specialist, or a team of specialists, will help you execute your plan to achieve your organization’s learning and development goals.

As with any new vendor, when vetting Learning Management System providers ask a lot of questions and in particular ask what kind of support they offer in terms of training and resources. Based on their answers you can decide if they’re going to meet your needs.

With your LMS vendor selected, it’s time to get the most out of your new system and to do that you’ll need to implement and integrate it into your organization’s existing structure. Easier said than done. For any successful implementation, you’ll want a project manager who can bridge between your supplier and end-users; a strong project manager will maintain communication with all relevant stakeholders and ensure you maintain course towards a successful implementation. 

Gain buy-in from the end-users

As you get closer to successfully completing the implementation of your new software it becomes important to gain buy-in from your end-users. If your end-users don’t know that a Learning Management System is coming they can hardly be blamed for not being overly excited about it when it finally arrives. Work internally to hype up the new system and also work with your provider to distribute training videos for your end users on how they’re going to be using their new system. 

It’s worth noting that you may need to integrate your LMS with existing HR systems and processes. If you have an existing payroll system, ATS, onboarding tool, or HRIS establishing an integration can result in time and cost savings while also allowing you to track employee engagement as they work with different parts of your HR process. When implementing a Learning Management System make sure to decide what data needs to move between your systems and how you’ll accomplish this move. As an example, if your onboarding systems integrate with your LMS new employees can quickly and easily access online training that they need and become engaged with your organization from day one. 

Improve the end-user experience

Another consideration as you continue to implement your new system alongside your provider is the end-user experience. Will users be able to access the information they need quickly and easily? Is the system engaging and enjoyable?

It would be awful to invest so much time and money into a system that users find incredibly boring or difficult to use. One way of getting around this is incorporating gamification into your new system, but I do mean gamification and not busy work. For those who may not know, gamification is the process of applying game design elements and principles into non-game contexts. The most simple example is the department leader board, which tracks completed training and thereby encourages engagement by inspiring competition among users. 

Test before launch

Hopefully, by this point, you’re now in a strong position for launch. However, before launch it is so important to test your system before it goes live by doing a soft launch. A failed launch can obliterate the credibility of your new system before many in your organization even properly use it.

Have a small sample group test your new software while using all of the features available and then collect their feedback. From this feedback decide what you need to work on, you won’t be able to address everything so look at what parts of your process can be changed or improved and assess how ready you are for all of your learners to use your new LMS. 

Once you’ve implemented the feedback you received and you feel confident in your LMS it is time to go live. Which after all of the work you’ve put in is probably a scary prospect but if you’ve followed every step up until this point then you are ready.

Go live and launch a new enjoyable and exciting journey of online learning for your end-users!

Post-implementation imrovments

Though you’re not finished just yet. With your software implemented it’s probably worth creating a post-implementation plan to ensure your success.

Continue to work with and receive feedback from your key stakeholders. Always be assessing how well your new LMS is working towards achieving your original goals while also asking yourself questions like, how many users are progressing through the system? How do they score? How long are they using the system for at a time? How many courses have they completed?

As I wrap up this podcast episode I again want to give thanks to our Learning Specialist Jennifer Fleay and our Account Manager Natasha Scott who wrote the guide that this latest episode is based upon. If you’d like to learn more about an LMS for your own organization please do reach out and one of our Learning Specialists would be glad to talk to you about how they could best assist you.   

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