LMS Implementation: Planning For The Journey

Preparing For A Successful LMS Implementation

When you decide to adopt a new Learning and Development program, there are a lot of moving parts to consider, and a lot of LMS solutions out there to choose from. Before you start researching about different Learning Management Systems, take a moment to evaluate where you are as a company, what your needs are, who will be involved in the process, what your goals and timeline will be, and how to make your business case.

How To Implement An Engaging LMS
Discover a step-by-step guide on how to plan for, choose, implement, and evaluate an engaging Learning Management System for your new training and development program.

High-Level Needs

Begin by writing down your high-level, big picture thoughts on what your needs are for this new LMS. How will you be using it? Who will be using it? What do you want to get out of it?

Finding Your Team

Once you have established some of these needs, move on to building your all-star eLearning team. Of course, if you have never implemented an LMS or similar service, it may be difficult to know who you will need. Below, we have outlined some guidelines as a place to start.

Generally, there is a core team in charge of LMS implementation, in addition to others who may help in the process but are only activated at certain points. The size of the team will depend on how large your organization is, but, no matter the size, there are a few roles that should always be included. If you are a one-person team, use the following to make yourself aware of the different hats you will need to wear:

  1. Project Manager And/Or Team Leader
    This role serves to organize the people and the processes of the project, as well as establish clear-cut tasks, dependencies, and to keep things moving.
  2. eLearning Specialist
    This role is focused on the specifics of the eLearning tools, platform, and content models. They will ensure the platform has the features needed and help move content into the system or migrate existing content.
  3. IT Professional
    You are implementing a new technology into your company’s processes and it will save you a lot of headache by utilizing an IT specialist from the very beginning. If you are a small organization without a dedicated IT department, you will be able to move this role to the extended team.

Additional extended team members may be others who are creating or managing the curriculum and content, as well as those in charge of learner database administration.

Goals And Timelines

Once you have a formalized team, move on to thinking about your more specific goals for the new program and a tentative timeline for the process. These will evolve as you continue learning about the implementation process. However, having your goals and timelines written out early in the process will allow you to communicate them to potential LMS providers, supplying them with a clear picture of your needs. This will save you time in the long-run, helping to ensure you get an LMS that will best help you meet your goals.

Start the goal and timeline setting process with the SMART framework in mind:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable/Attainable
  • Realistic/Relevant
  • Timeframe

Be sure to keep your goals and timeline in mind as you implement your LMS. Refer back to them often to make sure you are on track, and if you have to update them, it’s perfectly okay to do so!

This is also a great time to think about your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). How will you measure these goals and how will you determine if you have met them?

All of this planning and goal-setting will help you in building a business case for your new training and development program.

Making Your Case: Getting The Nod From Your Boss

Learning Management Systems are becoming more widely used to help streamline, organize, and track Learning and Development in organizations; however, they are also a tool which requires time and resources to implement. While they can provide a huge benefit to your company in the future, the short-term effort and money can sometimes make them a hard sell.

Three comments you may hear and some helpful rebuttals you can utilize:

Do we really need an LMS? Our employee training has worked fine without one for years.”

Your company has survived so far, so technically you probably don’t “need” an LMS. This new tool isn’t about just surviving though. The new LMS will be helping your organization to push into the future and provide a competitive advantage in your industry. Your people are your most valuable resource, and an engaged, well-trained workforce is a powerful thing.

The monetary investment is too high.”

It will be an investment and there is no getting around it. You need to make the case that the new system will be more efficient and effective than the manual training methods and that the costs of training will go down overall.

Highlight that training travel and time away from the job will be reduced. It will create an avenue to engage your employees, which can lead to better employee retention. Better tracking and reporting to increase the ability to improve processes for additional savings.

Let’s revisit this in the future.

Again, your people are your greatest asset, and they have a lot of employment choices right now. It is advantageous for your organization to engage those employees, challenge them, and help them grow their careers and job effectiveness. Lifting up your team members with effective training and development through an engaging LMS is a smart business move, why wait?

Be sure to address your organization's pain points with your current methods. Show how the new LMS will add value, and be sure you demonstrate how you will measure the ROI. Presenting statistics on ROI other companies have seen will go a long way to support your case.