What do you need to think about when introducing a new LMS?

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Written by Sam Taylor on 26 February 2017

EVERYTHING. That’s what it feels like. I have had lists of lists. Lists which seem to grow. A brain with simply too many tabs open! Picking an LMS and kicking off the implementation is easy. The rest is the head hurting bit.

It would be nice if you could find a step-by-step guide to take you through the process and all the things you need to consider. Implementing an LMS is no mean feat, and I went into this knowing it was going to be hard and a lot of work. It’s been more than that. 

Having been an annoying voice in the corner during a previous LMS implementation I had a bit of prior experience to know the things I wanted to focus on: the users and making it as simple for them to get access to development at their fingertips. This was what I had in my mind throughout everything I did.

  • Get help – ask your LMS implementation consultant as many questions as possible.
  • Ensure your project team, and any other learning colleagues involved in the set up know that they will have to dedicate a significant proportion of their time
  • Always get an automated password reset. This alone will save 90% of queries into your LMS helpdesk.
  • Naming. What and how and where you name things in your site is critical. It’s the difference between being a learner knowing where to go, and giving up. This applies to pretty much every piece of language on the site, regardless of whether a learner browses or uses the search bar:
  1. For navigation
  2. For topics and categories, choosing the language you want to use going forward
  • The people data – that leads to the audiences – are there non-standard fields which will help you, such as new starter dates, are your audience absent from the business or are they contractors?
  • The permissions – who needs to be able to see what in the system? Do all administrators have the same levels of permission – what can they break? Who needs to see reports, and for whom?
  • The content – your site is nothing without content. Compliance is the first thing that could go on the site, but doesn’t necessarily set it up for a loved future. Many reasons people don’t go to their LMS is because there’s nothing there that compels them to stay or return. Bad content that’s hard to find isn’t going to encourage people to use your LMS as a great source of learning. Content is,as ever, Queen.
  • The settings – creating templates for setting up your content containers. What fields are required – how much content should go in them? How do we get consistency in the way it is presented?
  • UAT – check your assumptions out with the audience. We found that for every person who wanted to use the search functionality there was someone else who wanted to browse. We tweaked some of the language as the audience weren’t clear on what things meant.
  • The launch – and associated comms plan… (see part three)

Read part one here


About the author

Sam Taylor is a Digital Development Manager whose passion is modernising learning. Sam can be contacted through Twitter @samt_el


​Read more from Sam here

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