***If you’d like to attend a free webinar on how to implement your LMS, join me tomorrow!***
Quite a few of us hear the words “learning management system implementation” and run for the hills. It’s natural to be afraid of taking on a project that is totally outside of your normal, everyday function. No need to worry – implementing an LMS is absolutely something you can do.
The most critical part of any LMS implementation is your project plan. Make sure you have a basic understanding of LMS administration. Break your implementation into individual tasks, and assign timelines and responsible parties. Work closely with your LMS vendor. They often provide a partial timeline you can use as a starting point. (In the case of Adobe Captivate Prime, you work through tasks with an LMS customer success manager.)
Down below, I’ve provided a list of implementation tasks from my book, LMS Success. Depending on the organization, some of these tasks will be very important, and others won’t apply. Pull the appropriate tasks into Excel or Project, assign start and end dates for each task, and determine who will be responsible for its completion. (Those who purchase LMS Success or The LMS Selection Checklist get a bundle of supplementary resources, including an Excel workbook of implementation tasks.)
You may want to further divide some tasks into smaller pieces, or create workflows. It depends on the project size and how complex your implementation will be. You can also group tasks by dividing your implementation into five phases, like this:
1: Before vendor is selected | 2: After vendor is selected | 3: During contract negotiations | 4: Before go-live | 5: After go-live
The task list below is a starting point – not a prescribed plan. I’ve led or consulted on 30+ implementations, and I change the task list every time. Also note that some tasks do not directly pertain to the LMS. Many organizations take their LMS implementation as an opportunity to restructure their training department, so you’ll see some of those elements as well.
© Katrina Marie Baker, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that full credit is given to Katrina Marie Baker with specific direction to LMS Success.
In order to assign compliance and other critical courses in the new LMS…
- Create a list of compliance courses required of all personnel.
- Create a list of compliance courses required for specific regions or countries.
- Create a list of compliance courses required for specific personnel.
- For all compliance courses – is completion required one time or on a recurring basis?
- Standardize classes provided to new hires.
- Create a list reflecting courses, personnel to receive them, and whether courses should be automatically assigned based on a set of rules (assuming your LMS does this).
- Do you want a standard group of courses to be pushed to personnel on their hire date? Or three months after they’ve joined? Or every year during their employment?
- Should compliance courses be maintained in paper formats as an alternative, in case of a system failure?
To assemble your course catalog…
- Are there any courses in your current LMS that should not be transferred to the new LMS?
- Determine names for all course categories and subcategories.
- Compare existing courses and determine which are similar enough to be merged when you migrate to the new LMS. (Many organizations have courses that have been added multiple times to their LMS. Might as well clean that up.)
- Mark corporate events and other non-training courses in the course catalog spreadsheet so they can be categorized appropriately and/or eliminated. (A lot of organizations use their LMS as an event management system. This can really clutter your course catalog.)
- Correct categories, subcategories, delivery, and course unit types for all courses, on a spreadsheet.
- Determine course catalog import structure. (Ask your new LMS vendor about this.)
- Should courses in all languages be displayed in the same catalog? In multiple catalogs?
- Assign college levels (100 level, 200 level, and so on) so curricula are assigned in an appropriate order.
Some general administrative tasks (in addition to those provided by your LMS vendor)…
- Decide how many administrator levels are needed, with associated permissions. (Questions about how to do this or any other tasks? Just comment below.)
- Create a list of tasks each level of administrator will complete.
- Decide on lead administrators for each department, if your organization is large.
- Determine a “regular chores” list for administrators.
- Create an LMS support email address that routes to the correct admins.
- Will IT have any administrator role in the new LMS?
- Determine what inbound/outbound system feeds need to run to the LMS. Maybe your HRIS?
- Decide on a go-live date for the LMS.
- Discuss GDPR and ADA 508 compliance.
- Run test batch import of all data types, such as course history, user information, and so on. (Ask your LMS vendor for advice.)
- After running successful test batches, import all data. Test to confirm success.
- Discuss whether interface should be offered in multiple languages.
- Create course equivalencies.
- Exploration of the benefits of xAPI, and how it can be effectively introduced.
- Get administrator tip sheets from vendor, if possible.
- Discuss how to utilize assessments and surveys more effectively.
- Schedule super administrator training with new LMS vendor.
- Explore security features and any national or international regulations pertaining to the data in your LMS.
- Negotiate contract.
- Negotiate SLA.
- Decide when to cut over from your old LMS to the new LMS.
- Communicate that cut-over plan to your end users.
- Decide on the URL for the new LMS.
- Replace links to the old LMS with links to the new one.
- Train administrators on new system processes.
- Begin weekly recorded webinars on LMS administration targeted for different admin levels.
- Begin bi-weekly LMS “office hours,” to assist your LMS administrators with data entry and basic questions.
- Develop how-to videos for common LMS user/administrator tasks.
- Evaluate your organization’s training data entry procedure and streamline it. (Make sure your trainers track their classroom sessions and attendees in the LMS.)
- Test user interface prior to go-live. (Have lots of people test it. Try to break it.)
- Test class scheduling functionality.
- Test learning tracks or paths, and reports.
- Test upload of courses.
- Test EVERYTHING.
- Allow extra time to troubleshoot.
- Run a test of the system backup, if there is one.
- Run a test upgrade.
- System FAQ documents for members of your IT department as well as end users. (Definitely explain how to reset a user password, if passwords are required!)
- Review current third-party course vendors. Are they cost-effective?
Marketing and design tasks…
- Determine a name for the new LMS.
- Create an LMS logo.
- Determine a multi-tier marketing plan for different employee levels.
- Draft the look of the user interface.
- Add gamification elements, if needed.
- Create an LMS introductory video, emails, or posters to help you internally market the system.
© Katrina Marie Baker, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that full credit is given to Katrina Baker with specific direction to LMS Success.