In our previous installment of this series, ‘3 Steps for Successful LMS Implementation – Part I‘ , we saw the key areas to be focused on while ‘Planning’ the LMS implementation in your organization. In today’s second and final installment of this series, we will look at the next 2 steps for a successful LMS implementation.
(b) Step 2: Review and Collaboration
Technical and Non-technical Consulting
Each client being unique in its requirement and team composition (with or without an internal technical team), needs consulting on various aspects throughout the LMS implementation process. The nature of consulting may vary from technical (eg. creation of the content) or non-technical (eg. how to utilize optimally a feature in the LMS) to anything in between.
For example, if there is a requirement for integration with the Active Directory or SAP or streaming server, which is hosted at the client’s side, the LMS vendor can provide the needed technical consulting to the client to achieve this integration.
Multiple Touch Points for Easy Support
Multiple touch points at the LMS vendor end should be provided to the client for quick support and transparent communication. These touch points need to be on a horizontal and vertical level; the former can be used in absence of the key point of contact, while the latter is useful in cases of escalations etc. The client also needs to be aware and be introduced to the individuals responsible for different type of information like commercials, legal, technical, functional requirement, etc.
Regular Status Update Meetings
A regular status update meeting is essential to keep every stakeholder in the client’s team updated on the progress of the LMS implementation as well as the next plan of action. While everyone has a copy of the plan and is well aware of the status through the reports received during the project implementation, such meetings provide an opportunity to the LMS vendor to discuss potential issues/risks on the project and find a resolution to those.
These meetings also provide an opportunity to both – the client and the vendor – to pose queries or questions, which can be addressed by the respective party. While the client may have a few questions regarding the LMS itself or would be seeking clarity on some points of the process, the vendor, on the other hand, might be seeking some information or approval from the client. All such points can be closed effectively with a regular status update meeting.
Enough time for review and UAT
During the implementation and before the rollout, client’s active involvement in verifying the deliverables is crucial for LMS success. Having a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase will ensure that the client team gets to see the full system and try out all the operations from their perspective.
As a customer, you can gain full value from this UAT by inviting different key stakeholders to use the system before the actual rollout and seek their feedback. Each type of user, like an instructor, a team manager, a learner, administrator, content development manager, will use the system from his/her perspective and will be able to provide some valuable feedback. Sufficient time should be allocated for UAT phase to unearth unidentified challenges at the early stages ensuring a smooth launch.
(c) Step 3: Rollout
Understanding of Content and Designing the Delivery Process
While the vendor and the customer can work together as per the processes of standard implementation, a lot depends on the actual training content, learner habits etc. Hence it is important to understand the type of content to be delivered via the LMS and its frequency, so that the LMS and the content can gel together and work as one cohesive unit.
For example, if the training content is primarily a video, the size and format of the video needs to be checked for. In case of a course, its programming language – Flash or HTML5, the compliance standard, etc. needs to be accounted for.
Also, the training content may not be limited to traditional eLearning, but can also include social learning elements like blog posts, discussion boards, etc. So understanding the client’s content, be it eLearning or social or a blend of both, helps in designing a delivery process that aligns with its content type.
An experienced vendor can add value by suggesting:
- the type of content that can be initially launched,
- additional features like the surveys, polls, etc, which can be effectively used within the first few months of the rollout,
- the notifications that can be sent out to users, etc.
Vendor Availability for a Smooth Rollout
Once the preparation is done and a delivery process defined, the actual launch of the LMS can be planned.
LMS rollout is crucial time for a customer and demands complete availability of the vendor and a stand-by team for a smooth rollout. An experienced vendor will have vast knowledge on the frequent challenges and queries faced by the end users and the best practices for a launch.
Based on this and its expertise, a vendor can provide guidance on frequent queries and challenges faced.
Nothing compensates for human-driven, personalized LMS training. While your customer may be aware of the LMS features, functionalities, workflows and navigation, having a trainer explain everything to the key members of the client’s team is crucial. The system training needs to consider the business need which can be accommodated by various workflows of the system and should be supported by user manuals, help guide, FAQs, how-to videos etc.
This brings us to the end of our blog post series – ‘3 Steps for Successful LMS Implementation’, but not the end of the LMS process as such. Post implementation, ‘Support’ and ‘Ongoing consulting’ become a prime need to ensure LMS success. More on these in our upcoming blog posts. Until then, leave me a comment below.