You’ve done your research, identified your organization’s needs, vetted LMS vendors, and negotiated the best price. Νow it’s time for the real challenge to begin!
Selecting the right LMS is only half the battle. And to get the most out of it, you’ll have to know how to effectively run and integrate it into your organizational structure.
So, how do you know where to start? And what are some tips that can help you make the implementation process streamlined, simplified, and stress free?
To help you succeed, we’ve created an LMS implementation checklist that will help you go through the deployment process easily. We will be focusing on small to medium organizations, consisting of 1-500 people.
The must-follow sample project plan for your LMS implementation
This guide will provide all the important milestones you need to keep in mind throughout the whole process. All you need to do is tick each step out of your checklist once you’re done with it, and success will follow.
1. Design an implementation process and strategy
Creating an LMS plan well in advance is key to its future success (and possibly even the success of your organization). So, you’ll probably want to begin formulating a Learning Management System implementation strategy even before you purchase the software.
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This will allow you to get the right team members on board, gather their feedback, and ensure that you are able to ultimately deploy the LMS you purchase.
2. Prepare your team for LMS deployment and administration
You will need to have a small group (no more than 5 or 6 people, depending on the scale of your LMS deployment) that can work on the LMS implementation project. These individuals will oversee the administration, technical support, and content management of your new learning management system.
You may also want to appoint one person to act as the team leader, and another one to create a training strategy once the new system has been installed and tested. This team may also include those who help out and serve as advisers on an occasional basis, such as those who use the LMS frequently or content creators.
A small to medium organization usually has several people managing the different sectors of the LMS. It is particularly helpful if the LMS allows you to add and modify new user types with unique rights and permissions to make sure that each person has access to everything they need to monitor; whether that is reports, content management, administrative rights or moderation of assignments.
Other times it’s been noted that companies choose to assign a person for each branch in order to have a person responsible over a segment of their LMS as a whole, or simply to monitor some specific information over that branch.
The reason behind having specific people undertaking those tasks is simple. You appoint responsibilities in a way that allows for the LMS to function smoothly. You also create a collaboration between team members, so they can achieve the best relationship between the trainer and the trainee – with a system that works 24/7.
3. Create a timeline for LMS implementation
After you’ve put the right people in your team, you’ll want to create a realistic timeline that details when certain tasks need to be carried out. Leave sufficient time in the schedule for the LMS implementation itself, and also for problem-solving.
For example, if an issue arises when you’re trying to migrate data, you may need another three or four weeks in your timeline to solve the problem and iron out any issues that have come up. It’s best to always leave room to get rid of any glitches or address any concerns that may crop up during the deployment of your new learning management system.
Just like in the case of any project, the issue of time is one that can make or break the efforts of the team. You’ll need two things to help your team work in a collaborative environment:
- Honest and clear communication between members, to avoid ambiguity in the goal-setting process.
- Trust between team members so tasks can be completed without excessive micromanagement.
Take your time to try out the LMS before deciding what fits you best. Market research is a grueling process that may take quite some time, especially when the person in charge is not very well versed with that type of software. Two factors come into play:
- Make sure you dedicate enough time to tick all the boxes on your list of needs.
- It’s important that your trial is not limited, so you have the time to properly assess whether or not it suits your specific needs before committing to an LMS that “almost” did it for you.
Important Advice: Ask questions! When a feature you’re interested in is not available, make sure that you do your research and follow up on that. It might just be that other users are also interested in the same feature, and your interest may be the needed force toward its implementation. Your input is always appreciated in a market so fresh and people-centered.
4. Ensure your LMS implementation plan works for your organization’s needs
Your training software implementation plan should be fluid and flexible, in that it will probably need to evolve over time. You should be able to have a Learning Management System implementation timeline in place. Create a list of all of the tasks that need to be wrapped up during the process.
You should also have access to all the necessary LMS configuration information. This may include specifying user profiles, security settings for the LMS, administrator roles, and course structures you will be using. Each LMS involves different protocols and procedures. So, it’s best to ask your vendor for help concerning the various setup elements that you may need to consider beforehand.
To use a real-life example of that case, it’s oftentimes the norm that clients approach us with their own set of questions and checklists to cover. This is a good first step no matter what. It shows you have studied and are even more eager to gather information to complete your research.
A common practice with prospective clients is to suggest ways in which we can make the implementation easier. For example, we can suggest ways in which features can be used to make the Project Manager’s life easier and the LMS implementation faster and more intuitive. We consult clients on a multitude of different topics and a wide range of software proficiency. You can contact us at any time through our contact us page.
5. Define your expectations and goals for the new LMS
To make sure you get the most out of your new LMS, have a clearly defined list of expectations and goals in place beforehand. Include any organizational concerns that the online training platform should address, and objectives that you hope to achieve through the platform.
This will allow you to focus on areas of the LMS that are higher in priority and ensure that it’s fulfilling its primary purposes. After all, an LMS can be a sizable investment, and you’ll want to be sure that it is carrying out the initiatives that prompted you to purchase the software in the first place.
Each company or organization is fundamentally different in their scope of operations and the ways they want to use the LMS. So it’s always important to address the ways they specifically see the future post-LMS implementation.
By collectively drawing a map and a trail from where they are to where they want to get, the relationship between vendor and client strengthens. At the same time, both gain a mutual understanding of how the LMS can support the functions the clients need it for, while assisting eLearning development as a whole.
6. Invest in high-quality eLearning content
You know what they say: content is king. And the same can be said for eLearning content that you’ll be putting into your new system. For testing purposes, make sure you have a good amount of content at hand, so that you can ensure the system is going to serve its primary purpose.
As your LMS evolves, you’ll want to have a steady stream of content available, given that a good learning management system is nothing without high-quality information and data. If you don’t already have a content creation team, then you’ll want to find a content developer who can curate and manage the data within your new LMS.
7. Establish clear communication routes
Each department within your organization should have a hand in the content that is being integrated into your LMS. For example, the Human Resources department should be able to offer feedback for the new employee training data. Likewise, the IT department should be able to provide input regarding the implementation process itself.
Every member of your staff who will be using or benefiting from the new LMS should take part in the process of the implementation. This will not only help every department to offer the most accurate and in-depth information to the end user, but it will also allow the process to run more smoothly.
Ultimately, this will enable your organization to more effectively achieve its overall goals.
In TalentLMS we use a knowledge base of helpful articles, tutorial videos, and blog to keep in touch with our clients and adapt to our users’ needs. Communication is an essential tool both between learners and instructors, as well as administrators and developers in order to drive change where and when it’s needed the most.
8. Migrate your existing LMS data and information
If you already have an LMS in place, then you will need to migrate the data to your new LMS. For this, you’ll want to involve both the IT techs from your organization and the LMS vendor, to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible. In many cases, you’ll only want to move the LMS data you absolutely need. Don’t forget to also migrate your user information and profiles, courseware, the course data, and transcript data.
In TalentLMS, migrating from other learning management systems is achieved through the integration of other systems and protocols within TalentLMS. Being SCORM (1.2) and TinCan-compatible, TalentLMS allows you to migrate your content and information accumulated over the years with no hassle.
9. Follow Learning Management System (LMS) implementation best practices
As you unroll your new LMS, you should plan on there being a bit of a learning curve. There are going to be some nuances of the system that you are going to need to become familiar with, just as there are going to be a few hiccups along the way. Don’t waste valuable time getting absolutely everything ready beforehand. Keep your LMS implementation as simple as possible, and then add on to it as you slowly but surely get used to the new system.
You can grow its capacity and functionality over time. For now, simply focus on creating a user-friendly interface and high-quality content that everyone can benefit from. Using the unlimited trial of TalentLMS to conduct extensive trials is a no-brainer. Not only can you learn the platform, but you have a unique opportunity to learn how to create content, and how to make sure that the process comes easy in the future, too.
As they say, practice makes perfect. And that’s the best advice we can give. In doing so, you get to practice creating content on the actual platform, and with a 10-course lead on the Free plan, you can simply create a substantial content pool before going live.
10. Don’t forget to test your new LMS before it goes live
Verify that the LMS works properly by performing a user acceptance test. In this case, you will act as though you are the user, and will carry out a variety of tasks within the system to ensure that everything goes according to plan. To carry this out more efficiently, you may want to write down all of the functions and processes that will typically be performed within the system by the user and assign a team to test out these specific functions. Ask for their feedback and have them record any glitches that they come across during the test.
So you’ve got a team in place, you have a timeline and a plan, your expectations of the LMS have been figured out, everyone has a role assigned to make for a smooth workflow, communication is clear and solid, content is being prepared and tests are being done. When the boxes have been ticked and you feel that everything in your control has been done, it’s show time!
Make sure that there are people taking care of end-user concerns and issues that crop up, and make sure that you follow the LMS implementation strategy.
What steps did you follow in properly implementing a learning management system in your company or organization? Got tips we didn’t cover? Let us know by leaving a comment below!