Jun 162011

LMS: Choosing an LMS

LMS – LinkedIn Groups

  • Group: eLearn Community Group
  • Discussion: What LMS does your company use? Level of satisfaction on a scale of 1-10? 1=We’re actively looking for a better solution 10=You couldn’t pry it from our hands! We love it!

Posted by Conrad Charles: http://www.linkedin.com/in/conradcharles

I have been the Project Manager on 4 LMS implementation projects (including one international project). In my experience no LMS is perfect they all have their limitations. Your level of satisfaction will be improved tremendously if you choose one to fit your needs. What I have learned is highlighted in these steps below:

1. Make sure you have very clearly defined requirements for what you want your LMS to do. For example you can’t decide that you want to use your LMS for talent management after committing to one that does not have that functionality.

2. In those clearly defined requirements make sure you involve IT’s input. Things to consider are bandwidth, how will you load users into the system (HRIS system), help desk, break fix etc. Nothing frustrates an IT department more that inheriting a system that was chosen without their feedback that they have to fix. They will be far more cooperative if they feel like they were involved from the outset.

3. Bersin and Associates has a great tool to use for picking an LMS (it is not free). Once you have defined your requirements this tool allows you enter all this information into a filter that will provide you with several options that meet your needs. Not every provider is in their database but it is pretty extensive.

4. Pilot your LMS first, before you release it to the masses so you can get to know its quirks. Choose your pilot carefully you want a group in the organization that will be a champion for you during your company wide implementation. Make sure you have initial success. You want the people in that pilot to provide you with as much word of mouth promotion as possible. Do everything you can to ensure your project sponsors hear that positive feedback as well.

5. Your LMS is only as good as your support and how you market it. You can have flawless execution on steps 1-4 and the new LMS will still fall flat on its face unless you have a solid marketing and change management plan with committed people behind it. My advice regarding support is simple. Bend over backwards to support users new to the system. They will learn how to use it over time, but nothing can poison your new LMS’s reputation more than two or three disgruntled managers who had bad experiences with the system. Think customer satisfaction and creating raving fans (read up on creating raving fans it will help). In fact I would argue that long term satisfaction with an LMS is almost solely reliant on how well it is marketing and presented to the organization as a whole. The trick is to manage people expectations. If users are under the impression it will do xyz and it doesn’t you are setting the whole project up for failure.

6. Last but not least is content. If your online content is engaging, meets the needs of the business and users, many LMS flaws can be overlooked. Engaging content includes compliance training. Remember many users first impression of an LMS is the compliance training they are required to take. User perceptions of your perfect LMS will be completely soured by the impression that all it delivers is boring online PowerPoint’s.

Posted by Conrad Charles: http://www.linkedin.com/in/conradcharles


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lms, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC