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Love Your LMS Part 1: 6 Tips for Your L&D Departments

Love Your LMS Part 1: 6 Tips for Your L&D Departments

Every once in a while, we’re asked by our clients how they can make their users happier, and not just more satisfied with their system but actually get them to want to use, and let us venture this far – love their LMS.

Sounds like a fairytale? When purchasing and then managing a learning management system, it’s important to remember what you’re getting yourself into. What exactly your expectations are, and what you need to do to make those learning development dreams come true?

Think of it much like the relationships you have in your own life: Setting clear expectations at the beginning is really the key to enduring the turmoil of everyday life together, to loving till the bitter end. (Though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves – there isn’t much of a bitter end in eLearning!)

Despite some arguments to the contrary, we refuse to accept that an LMS holds back your organization in any way – because it simply isn’t true!

Working with customers from all different fields that require different things from our system, we’ve seen major improvements in everything from data curation and organization – using various tools to make sure knowledge has been transferred as it should – and major improvements in user performances inside their organization.

So how do we do you get people to use your LMS  it?

You work at loving your LMS!

To give you the most relevant tips on how to do this, we’d going to do a short series of articles on some key topics.

Each will focus on the most important things for each of our key participants – L&D departments, managers, and the IT department – and what each group needs to focus on when implementing and working with an LMS. That way, you’ll know your organization as a whole is ready to accept this lovely system into your midst.

This one is for our hardworking L&D departments…

6 Ways to Get Your L&D Team To Love Your LMS

Let’s get started – here a few steps you need to make sure you’ve got down before you implement your LMS, and need to remember in your ongoing work with the system:

1. Reach for that Cloud-Based LMS

Throughout the web, you’ve probably seen the word “cloud-based” LMS pop up and wondered what the big deal was. Luckily for you, it’s our job to explain..

A cloud-based system lets you enjoy all the prominent features an LMS requires, with a design and structure based on proven methodologies and years of the learning experts’ experience behind the screen. In addition, choosing a cloud-based LMS allows for faster deployment (so that you can purchase the system one day, and have it up and running the next), easier UI/UX for you to play with, and many other across-the-board features that take the stress off of the old-fashioned, locally based systems.

For more detailed information about the benefits of cloud-based solutions, such as Totara (which Ekko is built on), have a read of The Four Freedoms.

2. Be Friends with the IT Department 

Seriously though! Us L&D enthusiasts sometimes forget that all of our biggest eLearning dreams (yes, we dream about eLearning at night, what of it?!) have to be real, so to speak. No matter what Learning Management System we choose in the end, it will have to be partly managed, at least at the technical end, by our favorite IT Department.

That means learning to communicate your needs to IT right at the beginning. Do you need to synch your organization hierarchy and employee profiles from your HR system? Maybe you’d like single sign-on (SSO)? Concerned about information security? IT – it’s the place for you.

(Look out for our future article in the “Love your LMS” series for tips specifically for IT wanting to integrate an LMS. There are some important things to think about!)

3. Advertise and Amaze!

We tend to think that when we send an email with the link to our brand-new course or certification, or that insight we’ve been working on for so long, that everyone else will be just as enthusiastic about it as we are and open it straight away! …And read it! …And enjoy it!

And… that doesn’t really happen. It’s not that people don’t care – it’s that they don’t care enough.

You know who has the tips and tricks to make people open that link, try out that new LMS, even upload a profile picture and tell their friends about your newest instructional venture? Your marketing department! That’s who!

Through our experience here at LearningZone, we’ve realized that implementing any new system in an organization requires a real tough campaign – a classic, real, market-oriented campaign –  to get learners interested in your materials.  To make them realize how much they need the information you are giving them, and that the learning will mainly serve them in the end.  The time you invest in marketing your LMS will be paid back in positive and constructive feedback, more user traffic, and overall better learning engagement.

4. Define Your Roles

Just as it does in a real-life work environment, defining the roles in your LMS straight from the beginning makes life so much easier for you in the long run.  And more than that, it’ll make you think about what each role in the system means, and why an employee should or shouldn’t have access to specific parts of the system.

As an example, you might ask yourself who will be the system admin and be responsible for building and maintaining the content? Who will manage courses, have the ability to delete users, or generate reports to send to various employees and managers?

These are only a few of the questions you must ask yourself before going into the implementation process – believe us, these small decisions make a big impact in the long run.

5. Define your “Helping Hand” at Launch

A lot of times, we’ve seen organizations acquire an LMS, go through the process of launching quickly out of excitement, and forget that this system is a longtime pal.  When there’s something less-than-perfect in your LMS, where can your end users go and ask their questions? Who should they call?

Deciding on the helping hand that will be there when users encounter problems should happen right at launch. Will you have an internal Helpdesk? Will the L&D department be responsible for ongoing maintenance, and be on call for queries?

These are all valuable questions that should have clear answers from clear from the outset – not as an afterthought.

6. Know Your LMS… and Love It for What It Is

Many times, we’ve heard disappointed L&D departments wish their LMS could do more.  Maybe they need it to contain document management processes, support a ticketing system, complete a job for us, or launch the next Apollo to the moon. (OK, we’re joking with that last one.)

Our advice? Don’t try to make an LMS into something that it’s not.  Love it for what it is, and be aware from the get-go of its abilities in order to use them wisely.

Your LMS can and should automate, manage, track and distribute learning and learning processes.  Launch rockets, not so much. Save yourself the disappointment and go into this relationship with open eyes, allowing you to fully embrace the system for what it is – isn’t that what we all want?

Does Your L&D Team Love to Use Your LMS?

That’s it for you L&D guys. See you soon for part 2 of the “Love Your LMS” series where we’ll share our tips for manager engagement.

In the meantime, if you need more advice on choosing, implementing or getting the most out of your LMS system, just get in touch!

Hertzel Kuriel

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