You are on page 1of 17

1

Congratulations! You’ve made a great decision for your business and your team by considering the
implementation of a new training and development strategy with an engaging Learning Management
System (LMS). It will be a rewarding journey, and the more you know now, the easier your implementation
will be later on.

Knowledge Anywhere has been in the elearning industry for the last 20 years. During that time, as you can
imagine, we have seen a lot of companies implement their training and development strategies with a
wide range of results. Through this experience, we have gained insight into how organizations should plan
for LMS success, and we would like to pass that success on to you.

This elearning manual will walk you through the entire process, from initial planning, to post-launch ROI
reviews. Feel free to skip ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

1. Pre LMS: Planning for the journey

2. Making your case: Getting the nod from your boss

3. Finding an LMS that fits your needs: Features, cost, support, and connectivity

4. LMS Implementation: Configuration, system integration, data migration and content

5. Learner engagement with the LMS: Encourage use with a learning culture

6. Getting the most out of your LMS: Evaluate your ROI and improve your processes

2
1. Pre LMS: Planning for the journey
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 jump into researching different
eLearning solutions, take a moment to evaluate where you are as a company, what your needs are, who
will be involved in the process, and what your goals and timeline will be.

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 couple of roles that should always be included. If you
are a one-person team, use this section to make yourself aware of the different hats you will need to wear.

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.

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 you
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
Time frame

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!

Click here for more information on how to create and apply SMART employee training goals.

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? Evaluating the success of your LMS will be
discussed in section 6.

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

4
2. 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.

“Ninety-six percent of users say their LMS positively affects training content organization and their
ability to track learner progress.” Learning Management System User Report, 2016 by Software
Advice

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.

5
“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.

Now that you have some tools to help you gain approval to move forward with implementing an LMS, let’s
go over how to find one that fits your needs and budget.

6
3. Finding an LMS that fits your needs: Features, cost,
support, and connectivity

Finding an LMS that fits the needs of your company can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of LMS
providers out there, and after looking around at a few, they all start to look pretty similar.

We encourage you to start by ironing out what your “must have” core features are, then you can move on
to your “nice-to-have” features. To help you do this, we would suggest taking a look at our LMS Evaluation
Checklist. It lays out more than 50 features in an organized grid which you can use to rate the importance
of LMS features according to your needs, and also compares how well providers stack up.

Download your LMS Evaluation Checklist

Some questions to ask yourself while you are looking:


• Are my “must have” features offered by the LMS?
• Does it have the tracking and reporting capabilities we require?
• Is the customer support ample?
• Do they provide a free trial or live demo of the LMS?
• What is the pricing structure?
• Does the interface look modern and easy-to-use?

Two additional elements to bring up to LMS vendors.


1. Does the provider lean into new industry trends?
The LMS industry is always evolving to keep up with changing technology and learning trends. Does
this LMS provider values connectivity with other applications, such as Salesforce, webinar platforms, or
your HR software. Are they trying to improve and expand their elearning offerings? What
improvements have been made in the last few years? What is on their product roadmap for the next
year? Do they connect well with other apps and services?

7
2. Keep future growth in mind.
The goal is to have this new LMS not only work well today, but for years to come. Make sure the
platform can meet your long-term goals and grow with you. If you have 100 new learners next year,
what is your cost? If you create some fantastic content that others might want to learn from, can you
start to charge for certain courses?

If you would like to learn more about features to look out for, feel free to check out this article, “5 Must-
Have LMS Features Every Training Manager Should Know About”

Cost models to fit your needs


There are several popular cost models that LMS providers use. There is no “best cost structure,” and you
have to evaluate your needs and predict your future needs in order to find which model will be the best
for your organization.

These are four of the most frequent cost structures you will see from LMS providers.

1. Pay Per Registered User and Pay Per Active User


Pay per registered user: This means you are paying for every customer that has registered and
made an account in your LMS. You are not paying based on how many employees you have.

Pay per active user: This structure allows you to only pay for users who utilize your system during
that billing cycle. Or, you have the option to pay a one-time fee per user when they first sign up on
your system.

2. Licensing
With this model, you pay a set monthly or annual license fee for the LMS. This includes a
predetermined number of users and specified list of features.

3. Purchase
Some LMS providers offer the option to simply buy their product for a flat fee, allowing you to have
as many users as you would like.

4. Free Options
Freemium: Certain LMS providers offer a basic, free version of their services. The users have to
start paying when they utilize certain paid features.

Open-Source: This option requires a lot of technical knowledge. Open source LMS providers
publish their programming for free on the web, and companies can take that programming and
configure it the way they would like and use it.

Keep your “must have” and “nice to have” features in the front of your mind as you talk to LMS providers.
Every business is unique, so take your time in finding one that will work best for your training goals,
strategies and learners.

8
4. LMS Implementation: Configuration, system
integration, data migration and content

Having read through sections 1 -3, let’s assume you have chosen a fantastic LMS and you are ready to
start the implementation process. In this section we’ll go over some of the overarching steps to get this
powerful tool working as quickly as possible!

This is a high-level view of a project initiation, project execution, and LMS deployment plan and will give
you an idea of what the process might look like for your team. Keep in mind that every LMS
implementation will be different.

PROJECT INITIATION
LMS Kickoff Meeting
This meeting should be used to meet your LMS project team and confirm expectations for the LMS
deployment.

Example meeting agenda items:

• Introductions: LMS team / Customer team


• Walk through deliverables from the proposal
• Review setup steps and discuss key decisions for your new LMS including:
o Branding
o How will users register / login to your LMS?
o How will you group / assign content?
• Confirm expectations, configurations*, and timeline
• Identify next steps and any action items prior to starting production
*Configurations refer to how users will be accessing the LMS. Will you utilize Single Sign-On (SSO)?
Registration codes? Data migration for direct login?

9
Project Execution / LMS Deployment
This is an example checklist we use with our customers to stay on track through the LMS implementation
process.

 LMS Provider: Designated project manager provides LMS deployment timeline


 LMS Provider: Initial development / QA review
 LMS Provider: Customer user data migration (if applicable)
 Customer: Upload initial courses and build curriculum map
 LMS Provider: LMS deployment and QA
 Customer: SSO implementation (if applicable)
 LMS Provider: Data Migration (if applicable)
 LMS Provider / Customer: System handoff meeting
• Tour of the system
• Schedule / coordinate in-depth training session(s)
• Develop system communication plan
 LMS Provider / Customer: Training session(s)
• Training sessions are scheduled on a weekly basis

In order to use your training time most effectively, have your content ready and available to
upload into the LMS. Also have any images you would like to use for customization and
branding in your LMS.

We hope this high-level overview of the processes used in the LMS implementation process gives you an
idea of what is required for this part of the process. Keep in mind that every LMS provider will have their
own processes and procedures for how they work with you during the onboarding and implementation
process.

10
5. Learner engagement with the LMS: Encourage use
with a learning culture, and take the time to look back
and evaluate
A learning management system is a powerful tool and people need to use it in order for it to make a
difference. Just as important as implementing your LMS is communicating with your content creators and
learners along the way. Make your new elearning system a reliable, familiar, well-used tool in your
organization. Put value on it and into it, fostering a workplace culture that encourages learner
engagement.

How effective communication, before, during, and after the


implementation process can foster increased LMS acceptance and use.
The success of the LMS is going to rely heavily on how well the system is accepted by the learners. The
implementation team must create effective communication with the target audience (those you want to
be utilizing the LMS). Whether the LMS is for your employees, off-site workers, outsourced teams, or your
customers, there will need to be an open communication network.

We have seen many different ways of communicating information about


the LMS implementation.

Some great channels to start with include:

• Social platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter

• Your own website – this could be through a blog or other website copy, and the creation of an
elearning page on your site

• Email is a great, cheap way to send out announcements to your audience to get them excited
about what is to come

11
• Physical media, such as posters around the office, or information cards on lunchroom tables

• Meetings – depending on the target audience, it might make sense to have a few in-person
meetings throughout the process.

Now that you know some avenues through which to communicate, what
should you say?

• Announcement that you are looking for an LMS, why you are doing it, and what it will help
accomplish.

• Let your audience know that an LMS provider has been chosen and you are excited about it. You
can also mention the timeline you are looking at for launch and who it will involve.

• You should have some great goals laid out. Communicate them!

• What kind of learning are you planning on offering?

• Make a point to communicate the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Why should they be excited, how
will it help them?

• Let them know what to expect.

Make sure to think about communicating not only with the potential learners, but also with your trainers
and content creators. Give them as much time as possible to plan out their learning modules and to
create their content. This ties into creating a learning culture in your organization, which we will discuss
later in the article.

Increased user engagement by creating meaningful content.


All of the communication in the world won’t make people excited about consuming boring content. Find
ways to encourage content producers to be as creative as possible while creating their courses. Add high
quality images and quizzes, cut content into short modules which can be broken up, and feel free to
implement some humor where appropriate. Also, ask for and listen to learner feedback to improve course
engagement.

Here is a useful article on types of elearning content you could create.

12
Creating an energized learning culture people want to be a part of.

The organizations that find the most success with their LMS have made learning a
valued part of their organization by creating a workplace culture of learning.

If you want to see the full benefits of an LMS, don’t simply implement your LMS and ask people to go
learn, you will need to create a culture around it which encourages its use.

What is a learning culture? I4cp and ATD (the Association of Talent Development) conducted a study of
more than 830 learning leaders titled, Building a Culture of Learning: The Foundation of a Successful
Organization. They define a learning culture as the following:

A culture of learning, or learning culture, is one in which employees continuously seek, share, and
apply new knowledge and skills to improve individual and organizational performance. The
importance of the pursuit and application of learning is expressed in organizational values and
permeates all aspects of organizational life. (i4cp, 2016)

Here are 5 signs listed by i4cp study which indicate your organization has a healthy
learning culture:

1. Your organizational values reference the importance of learning and development

2. Your company provides every employee a safe haven for open communication

3. Your organization’s learning leaders participate in strategic planning to ensure business goals
include consideration of the training and skills your workforce will need to achieve those objectives

4. Your employees look for opportunities to share knowledge with their colleagues

5. Your employees become learning junkies who seek out new knowledge and find ways to apply it
to improve your organization’s performance

13
How can your organization create this healthy learning culture?

• The culture needs to be encouraged and embodied from the top down. Leaders should make a
concerted effort to show they support the training and development and create space for it.

• Give content creators time to make thoughtful, valuable content, and give learners the time to
learn! Don’t make learning and development an afterthought, put value on this part of their job.

• Encourage learners with peer and manager recognition.

• Increase employee engagement by creating custom learning paths, requesting feedback,


allowing comments, and awarding progress badges.

• Give learners the opportunity to learn things that aren’t necessarily in their job scope. We have
seen remarkable examples of employees taking classes for fun. Make room for this development
and foster their passion for learning.

This learning culture will not only help by mobilizing your current workforce, but
also has the wonderful side effect of attracting new, motivated talent to your
team.

The workforce is changing, with millennials surpassing gen-xers as the largest generation (35%) in the U.S.
labor force (Pew Research Center, 2017). Millennials want to be engaged and challenged in the workplace.
They want to effect change and feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. The
advantages don’t stop at millennials, though.

All across your organization, a culture of learning will promote increased employee engagement, improve
employee retention, allow the organization to find more leadership from within, as well as encourage
innovation.

14
6. Getting the most out of your LMS: Evaluate and
improve your processes to ensure your company is
getting the most ROI
You have gone through all that time and effort to implement this amazing new training and development
program, so make sure you bring your efforts full circle! It is 100% worth it to pull the numbers so you can
look back at your goals and communicate what you have accomplished and what you want to continue to
improve on.

This is where the previously mentioned KPIs come into play. In section one, we mentioned that as you
create your SMART goals you should also be thinking about how they will be measured. Let’s dive a little
deeper into what some popular KPIs are when implementing an LMS.

1. The number of courses that have been completed

2. The number of learners that have participated

3. Course ratings and learner feedback

4. Increase in knowledge and skills

5. Total cost of implementation

It may also be helpful to read up on The Kirkpatrick Model of training evaluation, which includes
measuring Reaction, Learning, Behavior and Results.

15
Conclusion and Additional Resources

This was a lot of information and you aren’t expected to


remember it all.

Our hope is that you are now armed with the knowledge
of the processes and tools that can help you implement
your new learning and development program as smoothly
and effectively as possible. Making yourself aware of
some of the steps and preparing for them can save you
and your team a lot of time.

Two free eBooks which may be helpful during this process are:

Learning Management System Evaluation Checklist: Select the


right LMS for your organization
As mentioned earlier in the article, this LMS Evaluation Checklist is a great tool
to help organization identify and rank features that matter to them, and also see
how well providers meet those feature needs.

A Training Managers Guide: 5 things you should do before


developing a virtual training program

Get your virtual training program up-and-running without a hitch with this free
guide for Training Managers. This ebook covers how to design an impactful
virtual training program that will set your employees up for success pre- and
post-training.

16
Start your Training Program Today.

We know that creating an effective training program can feel


overwhelming—especially at the onset. The important thing to
know is that you’re not alone. Whether it’s simply answering
any questions you may have, providing you with a solution to
make your training goals a reality, or providing you with the
ongoing support you need to optimize the use of your
training program—we’re here to help.
Feel free to give us a ring: 1-800-850-2025. Or, shoot
us an email: info@knowledgeanywhere.com.

17