How to Implement Your LMS (Learning Management System) Effectively
Are you looking to implement a new LMS and need help seeing the process through from beginning to end? Well, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will tell you how to effectively implement your LMS.
1. Choose the right LMS implementation team
Your LMS likely interfaces with several operations within your organization. When building a team to oversee the LMS implementation process, connect team members from those different departments, such as HR, IT, and learning and development.
If your LMS works with external partners, such as channel partners or contractors, bring those individuals on the team. Experts advise keeping the team small to ensure that the LMS implementation process remains highly focused.
Once you assemble your team, set up individual roles. Here are some vital players:
- Team leader
The leader oversees the implementation process to completion, working directly with the vendor and dealing with any issues that arise.
- Project manager
The project manager keeps track of all significant milestones in the implementation process to ensure all deadlines are met.
- Online learning specialist
Your legacy training platform contains most online learning tools and courseware. The online learning specialist supervises the transfer or development of content to the new system during implementation.
- L&D administrator
This person supervises the L&D program to ensure that the LMS matches organizational goals through class organization, certification, compliance, and user reports.
- IT expert
Since implementation requires a high level of technical expertise, an IT expert manages the integration of other systems within your enterprise.
Throughout the implementation process, the LMS platform partner works closely with your team members. Be transparent in your communication and dealings to ensure a smooth implementation process.
2. Develop an LMS implementation timeline and plan
How long the implementation process takes depends on which type of LMS you select. An on-premises LMS installed on your server may take longer than a hosted or cloud-based LMS in which the system is housed on the vendor’s server. The vendor or your IT department can provide a sound estimate of the time required for implementation.
The number of user accounts and apps you intend to migrate into and integrate with the LMS also impacts the implementation timeline. Schedule enough time to meet each benchmark before the actual launch.
3. Get ready for data migration
How long the migration process takes depends on which type of LMS (Learning Management System) you select. An on-premises LMS (Learning Management System) installed on your server may take longer than a hosted or cloud-based LMS (Learning Management System) in which the system is housed on the vendor’s server. The vendor or your IT department can provide a sound estimate of the time required for migration.
The number of user accounts and apps you intend to migrate into and integrate with the LMS also impacts the LMS implementation timeline. Be realistic in your timeline and schedule enough time to meet each benchmark before the launch.
Regardless whether you are transitioning from a legacy LMS or implementing an LMS for the first time, a key decision centers on which classes, data, and instructional assets are to be transferred to the new system.
Transfer only those classes and data necessary for the upgraded LMS and archive the remainder. Contact your legal department to see which files must be kept. (Class completions records and record of prior learning fall into that category.)
If you’re switching from a legacy LMS to a new one, have your IT expert review your instructional assets to ensure they can be integrated within the new LMS. Even if your LMS is SCORM-compliant, classes may need adjustments to work in the new system.
4. Do a trial run and provide training to your staff
Before completing the implementation process and officially launching the new system, test the new LMS with a group of handpicked users—either internal staff or extended enterprise users such as channel partners or contractors.
For the preliminary trial, prepare a test case that your administrators and users can work through. Note any issues that crop up and report those to the team members and the vendor.
Offer a training program to stakeholders who will utilize the learning management system. Again, your vendor will provide guidance on which training options are available; be sure to find out whether extra fees are involved.
Also, during this period, formulate an implementation rollout plan with your vendor. Alert all stakeholders about the launch and when it will happen.
5. Make the switch to your new LMS
Switching to the new LMS can be accomplished in several ways:
- A complete changeover done overnight.
- A gradual phase-out of the old LMS and phase-in of the new system.
- Run both systems in parallel before the changeover.
Alert your colleagues of the latency period that will likely occur between when the old system goes offline, and the new LMS is live. Discuss with your LMS provider and team the best LMS implementation switchover process for your needs.
I would advise running both systems in parallel, preserving data integrity and giving users a chance to become more comfortable with the new system. After you have secured the switchover date and all parties are ready, make the full switchover to the new LMS.
6. Evaluate and debrief
Once the implementation process is complete and when the new system has been in operation for some time, assess how it is working. Highlight any technical glitches that may have hampered the launch and fix them.
As you wrap up your implementation, conduct the following assessments: Assess how most users logged onto the system and how they progressed through it. Did they complete the classes? How did they score? Scores and user satisfaction fail to give a complete picture of how well the LMS performed in terms of organizational goals. In the beginning, these stats provide insight into the technical academic performance of the LMS, including page uploads, time to upload, and overall user experience.
The implementation process doesn’t end at the time of the launch. You should continue improving the system, optimizing content, adding more classes, and striving to perfect the user experience for as long as the LMS is in operation.
So, there you have it, six steps for successfully implementing an LMS (Learning Management System). Do you have any additional tips, techniques, or strategies that you would like to share with our readers? If so, leave them in the comment section below.