LMS management can be a lot of work, especially if you are doing it on top of your already-full-time job.
In a perfect world, you could set up your LMS, walk away, and let it take care of itself. Unfortunately, even the best Learning Management Systems need tending.
There are things you can do now, however, to make that tending a bit easier.
Here are some of the tactics we use to stay on top of our clients’ LMS management.
Create an LMS Management Wish List
Create a document or spreadsheet to help you track:
- Features you wish your LMS had
- Workarounds you already have in place
- New or existing features to your LMS
- Issues that need solutions
- Possible solutions as they present themselves
- New technologies to investigate
- Whatever else is relevant to your LMS set up
Add to your list as your LMS needs evolve, your LMS adds new features, you learn about new technologies, or when an issue arises.
Then, when you’re ready for a more thorough review of your LMS, you’ll have everything handy. Be sure to download our Annual Review Checklist to help with that process.
Really Get to Know Your LMS
Even if you don’t use every feature of your LMS now, you should become familiar with all of its capabilities. You never know when the need may arise to take advantage of a specific feature.
For instance, you may want to auto-generate reports and have them sent to specific admins, or tag quiz questions to generate personalized tests for users.
The best LMS’s have fantastic documentation that include video tutorials and even quick guides.
Keep up with your LMS’s latest features and updates by subscribing to their newsletters, product news, and upcoming releases. Check your notifications to make sure you are included in all announcements your LMS provider sends to LMS admins.
When an update or new feature looks like a possible solution to a wish-list item or workaround, make a note of it (along with a link) on your wish list.
Stay Informed of Browser Updates
Almost all learning technology solutions are at the mercy of Internet browsers. And popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge are constantly improving their user experience with privacy and other updates.
These updates can also affect the user experience of your Learning Management System. And though it is ultimately the responsibility of your LMS provider to accommodate browser updates, there are circumstances when you’ll need to be proactive.
Case In Point
Google Chrome’s 80 update included a change that affected how browsers store information that SCORM packages rely on to track user progress. Courses were not showing up as “completed” and users were unable to progress to quizzes or next course.
Many LMS’s anticipated the change and made preparations for it. (Another argument for making sure you are getting your LMS notifications.).
However, some LMSs (we won’t mention the culprits here) either did nothing, or simply informed admins about the Chrome 80 update and told them to prepare their SCORM packages accordingly. Even though there was clearly a solution available for those providers to prepare at the LMS level.
The point is, that you can’t necessarily rely on your LMS to be on top of such things. The best defense is a good offense, as they say. So, when you see a change you think might affect your learning content, ask your LMS provider how they are addressing it.
Stay up-to-date on the latest changes to the most popular browsers. And always let your users know which browsers work best with your LMS.
Computer World is a source to help you stay posted on current changes to the most critical browsers.
Keep SCORM and xAPI Updated
Even though the SCORM standard itself is static, your content creation software is not. Many elearning software providers facilitate more SCORM capabilities in their updates.
Even more so for xAPI. Many software providers just “barely” accommodate xAPI features. But with each update, they may offer more of the reporting and engagement benefits xAPI offers your LMS.
Stay informed of any updates to Storyline, Captivate, iSpring, or whatever software you are using to produce your SCORM and xAPI content.
Research New Learning Technologies
Stay abreast of new learning technologies. You don’t need to know everything about them, just that they exist.
A Typical Scenario
For instance, if you know what a Learning Record Store is, you can keep it in mind when management asks that the LMS contribute to business intelligence reporting.
Here are some resources to check periodically to help you stay up to date:
When you see something interesting, grab the link and add it to your wish list.
Listen to Your Users
Common user help requests can reveal issues with your LMS you hadn’t even considered. Add any relevant issues to your wish list and start another list of “common user requests.”
When it’s long enough, use your common-user-requests list to create a Knowledge Base (FAQs) for your learners and admins.
Today’s users don’t mind helping themselves if it saves them time; and it will certainly save time for your help-desk staff.