20 tips for avoiding LMS lessons learned

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So, you’ve just rolled out your LMS, but things didn’t go exactly as you planned, and now you could write an article on all the lessons learned from the implementation.

Of course, it would have been a lot better to have learned those lessons before actually doing the implementation, so to save you the trouble, here are 20 tips to avoid learning those expensive lessons at the wrong time!

LMS lessons learned

1. Is there a need for LMS?
Nothing is more annoying than rolling out an LMS and discovering that you didn’t need to, so make sure that before you roll out your LMS, you’ve done your due diligence on what it will provide your organisation.

2. Avoid customisation
Did you have to customise that LMS? Well, if you did, you may have spent more money than you had to. Customisation is expensive, so choose the right LMS upfront and avoid going down that path.

3. Name the LMS
It may sound cheesy, but give your LMS a name, make sure it is branded, and have that recognition help secure adoption.

4. Get IT involved early
Don’t get your IT department involved too late in the process, they are probably going to know a lot of things that are going to help you smooth your rollout, so the earlier they’re involved, the better.

5. Gauge the technological sophistication of your learners first
Are your learners LMS-ready? If not, you may be leading a horse to water that has no interest in drinking.

6. Is the LMS right for your type of organisation?
Different LMS, different organisation: not every LMS is going to be appropriate for your organisation or industry, but there may be some which are right on point. If you’ve done your due diligence up front, you are going to be making sure whatever you’re rolling out is exactly what you are looking for.

7. The Open Authoring Platform
Don’t utilise an LMS that restricts you to certain elementary media types, and which does not allow the full gamut of technological support. For example, if you have learners on mobile devices, you need to make sure that your LMS is going to be supporting HTML 5-capable technology. You will also want to make sure you are not unduly restricted with the types of media objects you want to upload, in terms of file size restrictions and any other considerations that will directly impact your ability to deliver the type of training you want to deliver, when you want to deliver it.

8. Tracking certifications
Do you have a need in your organisation to track the certifications received by your learners? If so, you need to make sure your LMS has the ability to track those certifications.

9. Keeping staff informed regarding certifications
On a related topic, do you have a need to keep your staff informed about certifications that are going to be required within the next weeks, months, or quarter? A LMS that can proactively notify your learners about their certification requirements is going to be extraordinarily helpful in making sure that your organisation maintains compliance and requirements.

10. Submitting training information electronically for compliance training
Do your certification authorities allow electronic submissions? If so, you need to make sure that your LMS is going to support that before you roll it out.

11. Will the system integrate with other information systems?
If you have other information systems in your organisation, your LMS needs to talk to them.

12. Dealing with data import and export issues
On a related topic, you not only want to be able to put information into your LMS, you want to be able to get it out, so you need to make sure that you can easily transfer information from one system to the other.

13. Standardising on language and terminology
If your LMS is going to be supporting multiple organisations with differing corporate cultures, there needs to be standardisation between those cultures, and that effort needs to be in place before you begin your rollout.

14. Should company policies be updated?
Evaluate whether or not any company policies need to be updated with reference to a rollout.

15. Was the system easy to set up and use?
Make sure that you deployed an LMS that was easy to setup and use, saving you valuable time and money.

16. Was the system properly budgeted?
Nothing is worse than spending $10,000 on a system, and then discovering that you actually needed to spend another $20,000 despite having no extra cash in the budget. Make sure all the budgeting for all requirements is taken care of right up front.

17. Can the system provide the reports you are looking for?
Most systems can provide most types of reports, but your reports may be very specific, and if the system you are rolling out will not support the types of reports that you are looking for, you are going to have to go down the LMS implementation path a second time. This is probably not what you’re looking to do!

18. Is the system platform-independent?
Linux, UNIX, Macintosh OS, Android, iPad, Flash, HTML 5 etc. There are lots of devices out there, and lots of technology to support them, so you need to make sure your system can work with all of them.

19. Does your technical infrastructure support LMS capabilities?
It goes without saying that your backend infrastructure, which includes your database administration as well as all of its hardware components, needs to be able to support whatever demands are going to be made on that LMS. For example, if you’re going to have 20,000 people accessing your LMS within a five-minute period, you need to make sure that your servers have the memory to support that.

20. Are there conferencing options that can be set up for instructors and students?
Finally, to round out this list, most of the courses on your LMS will be of the asynchronous variety, in other words, anywhere, anytime learning, but every now and then you are going to want to rollout courses built on the asynchronous modality, where instructors and students will be meeting in real time. If that is the case, you need to make sure that your LMS will support this type of conferencing capability.
There you go, 20 lessons that you definitely don’t want to be learning at the wrong time. The time to learn those lessons is now, before you rollout your LMS. Of course, there are even more lessons that can be learned, but if you can get these mastered, you are going to be well on your way to LMS success.

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