A learning management system implementation is not something you wish to skimp on. Just like the deployment of other software, LMS implementation is also a complex process. But the only way to overcome this complexity is to make a detailed plan from the get-go.
A planned launch increases your chances of ensuring that end users adopt LMS completely. One of the major factors that are quite challenging in it is to pick the right platform. This is exactly where you start the planning phase of your LMS implementation project plan.
Once you’ve chosen the best LMS platform then you need to set it up, evaluate it and refine the entire process. This is the only way you can launch it formally.
If you want to gauge the success of LMS implementation then you should first answer the following questions:
- Why do you want to implement LMS?
- Where in the lifecycle of the user, LMS makes the most impact?
- What success metrics should be measured to evaluate LMS?
- What features will actually be needed?
- What is potential LMS administrator’s technical skill level?
- How can you measure the ROI?
Answering these questions will help you to clarify your objective. This will help you make the right moves, in the right direction and by using the right tools for your LMS implementation. Once you get clarity on these points, and you have integrated the LMS platform partner in the overall strategic planning, you will be aligned on your main goals and all set for the successful implementation of LMS.
For this reason, it is imperative to establish goals and other KPI’s with regards to the initiative at the outset and ensure that your selected LMS enables you to assess the success just the way, right for you!
While there are diverse reasons to acquire LMS, the most common ones are as follows:
- General Training – 24.81%
- Compliance Training - 14.50%
- Certification Training – 22.90%
- Onboarding – 12.6%
- Customer Training – 11.45%
- Selling Courses – 9.16%
- Other – 4.58%
If you have completed your research, recognized the needs of your audience, vetted vendors of LMS and negotiated the price, it brings you to the real challenge. This means that selecting the best LMS is only half the battle but to make the most of your LMS implementation you must know how to successfully administer and integrate the LMS in your institution or organization.
Project Plan for LMS Implementation
A successful LMS implementation calls for the following measures:
Design a Strategy and LMS Implementation Project Plan
The crucial step in LMS implementation is to formulate a plan. As we know a goal without having a proper plan is nothing than just a wish. This is also true when it comes down to LMS implementation.
At the heart of your strategy is the objective of your initiative. Make sure that objectives follow the SMART format i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Thus, set a deadline on the plan, ascertain the particular milestones from there, and for each of them, define what should be conveyed by whom.
The planning phase must include the overall goal of implementation, a timeline for the particular milestone that leads to the main objective and the contribution of every member per milestone.
Build Your Team for the Administration and Deployment of LMS
For this, take a small group, considering your LMS deployment scale, to work on the implementation. These people will oversee technical support, administration and the content management aspect of your new LMS.
You may assign one individual as the team leader and another to develop a training strategy after the new system is deployed and tested. For instance, in a medium-sized organization, multiple people manage different LMS sectors.
So it is helpful if your LMS enables you to add or change new user types with distinctive permissions and rights to ensure that every person gets access to everything they must monitor. This may include content management, reports, moderation of assignments and administrative rights.
When you disseminate responsibilities to different and specific people, it allows both synergies among team members and smooth LMS operation to get the best relationship between trainee and the trainer with a system that runs 24/7.
Decide the Timeline for LMS Implementation
Once the team is ready, it’s time to formulate a realistic timeline, detailing when particular tasks must be performed. The timeline must have sufficient time both for the LMS implementation and problem-solving.
An effective timeline is the one that remedies the issue and irons out any problem that may crop up. It’s always strategic to leave room to eliminate glitches or address concerns that might arise during your new LMS deployment.
Just like any other project, time can make or break your team’s efforts. Also, take your time to try LMS before deciding as to what fits them best. The two major factors that come to play include:
- Dedicating enough time to properly tick all the relevant boxed in the list of needs
- Make sure trial is not limited. This way you can assess if it suits your particular needs before even committing to a learning management system that almost did it for you.
Keep LMS Implementation Aligned with Training Needs
The LMS implementation must be flexible and fluid, in that it may need to evolve with time. A good vendor will provide you with a timeline of LMS implementation including the list of all the tasks that must be wrapped up in the timeline. You should also get all the configuration information that might be pertinent to the new LMS. This can be specifying user profiles, administrators’ roles, LMS security settings etc. oftentimes,; clients approach vendors with their own checklist or set of questions to cover. This is a good step to keep your LMS implementation aligned with your institution or organization. However, there is another common practice in which vendor suggest different ways to make LMS implementation easier such as automated notifications to help manage users easily.
Be Explicit About the Goals and Expectations of the New LMS
The only way to get the most benefit out of the LMS is to define the list of goals and expectations clearly and beforehand. This may include any kind of organizational concerns that your LMS must address including the objectives that must be achieved through that platform.
This helps in focusing on LMS areas that hold high priority and to make sure LMS fulfills the primary purpose. Since LMS is a sizable investment, you must be sure that it carries out the initiatives which prompted you to start LMS implementation in the first place.
Communication is the Key
Every department within the institution/organization must contribute to the content, integrated into the LMS. For instance, IT department must provide input in terms of implementation process itself. This means every staff member who either benefits or uses new LMS must have the opportunity to contribute to the deployment of LMS. This will work in both ways i.e. allowing departments to offer most in-depth and accurate information to the end user and allow the LMS implementation to run smoothly. In other words, it helps in achieving the overall goals effectively. Good vendors adapt to the needs of their clients as they grow alongside the LMS platform. Unquestionably communication is the key to learners, teachers/learners, as well as developers and administrators in order to bring change when and where it is required the most.
LMS Implementation and the Learning Curve
Once you unroll the new LMS, you must learn along the way. This means you will come across some nuisance relating to a system that you must get familiar with, just like there will be a few hiccups along your way. You can easily grow the capacity and functionality of it with time. Thus, for now, focus on creating high-quality content and user-friendly interface that everyone can benefit from. After all, practice makes perfect and it is the best advice to follow.
Test the New LMS Before You Launch It
Just like any other project plan, last is to test if the LMS is working properly. You can do it by performing a user acceptance test. You can test the LMS by acting as though you are an actual user, carrying out a range of tasks within the implemented system to make sure, everything goes as per the plan.
The efficient way to test the LMS implementation is to simply write down the processes and functions, likely to be performed by the user within the system. For this assign a team to fully test out these particular functions. Take their feedback and note down the glitches that might come up during the test.
This is the final stage that will ascertain if you have successfully implemented LMS in alignment with the needs of your institution or organization.
The Final Word
Now you have got an entire team in place, a plan, and a timeline, you have figured out the expectations of your LMS, each team member has been assigned with a role to ensure smooth workflow, content is prepared, communication is solid and clear and test is being done. Since all the boxes of your checklist have been ticked and everything seems to be in control, it’s show time!
It’s time to make the most of your learning management system and fulfill the pre-defined goals. As we stated earlier, successful LMS implementation is a long-term investment. When you roll out the new LMS, you must plan on having a little bit of a learning curve. After all, practice makes perfect. The opportunities to make your LMS implementation better are countless. You can always improve and make it better by integrating more processes and features.
One of the best ways to improve the LMS implementation is to get more and more feedback from the users. Thus continue to improve the LMS along the way and don’t attempt to make it perfect beforehand.