As with any new system, LMS implementation goes much smoother with proper planning.
Learning Management Systems tend to be robust platforms. Even seemingly small settings can make a huge difference in how well your LMS meets your organization’s needs.
Proper planning can help you discover the right LMS settings and avoid common pitfalls to a successful LMS implementation.
LMS Implementation Planning
Here are some tips based on issues we regularly encounter when setting up client LMSs – including setting up custom domains; planning course and LMS organization; establishing onboarding procedures; and thinking ahead toward reporting and user help.
Map Your Custom Domain Right Away
Most Learning Management Systems allow you to map a custom domain to your LMS account.
This means that instead of a URL like:
You can “map” a custom domain, or a subdomain of your company’s domain, so you have a URL like:
ElearningDeltaDemo.com OR demo.ElearningDelta.com
You can also “map” a dedicated email address to most LMSs, so your notifications come from your company email servers.
Depending on where your domain name is registered (GoDaddy, Siteground, Rackspace, etc.), the mapping process can take several days to get in place and tested. It will also take a couple of days for the mapping to propagate.
And, depending on the LMS, you should plan on another two to four days for the SSL certificate to resolve.
We make this mapping process the first step in all our LMS implementations.
Diagram Your Training Program
Learning Management Systems have countless ways for you to organize, customize and personalize your training program.
Research those methods in your chosen LMS, and carefully plan your program.
Here are some discovery questions to get you started:
- Do your courses need to be part of a learning path?
- Are there prerequisites to any courses?
- Do courses need to be taken in a specific order?
- Will all courses be visible right away, or will they “drip” in based on dates or other criteria?
- Should courses be personalized based on learner job roles or other criteria?
- Do learners need to pass a quiz to complete a course? Can they retake the quiz? How many times?
- Do courses require assignments? How will learners access them?
- Do courses have handouts or resources? How will they be made available to learners?
- Are learners able to access the course again once they take it?
- Do learners get a certificate of completion? How long will the certificate be good for? Will the course be automatically reassigned once a certificate has expired?
Make a diagram of all your courses and how they are related. Include dependencies, learning paths, assessments, resources, certificates, drip information, etc.
Diagraming your training program can help you develop consistent procedures for adding courses to the LMS.
It will also help you formulate critical questions about your LMS’s functionality so you can investigate how to handle special circumstances of your implementation.
Planning ahead this way can help you avoid making costly assumptions about your LMS’s capabilities.
Organize Your LMS Users
Think about how you want to organize your learners and managers on the LMS.
- Do your learners need to be organized based on job roles or other criteria?
- Are there branches or sub-organizations – like clients, departments, franchisees – that need to be kept separate from the main organization?
- Should managers be limited to running reports and checking the progress of their own staff or students?
Learning Management Systems allow you to organize your users in different ways. Some offer the option of creating sub-portals, while others allow you to organize users into groups. Still others let you organize users by tags or custom fields.
Learning how your chosen LMS lets you organize your users is important at this stage. Planning this organization will affect how you onboard learners as well as what types of information you can ultimately report on.
Think About Reporting Early
The best way to approach your reporting needs is to start at the end and work your way back. Make a list of the types of reports you expect to run once your LMS implementation is complete.
Armed with this list, you can put in place any custom fields or workarounds you need to avoid backtracking after the fact.
Formulate an Onboarding Plan
Decisions about your training program, user organization, and reporting directly affect how you onboard your learners.
If you’ve determined that you need custom fields for personalization or reporting, you’ll need to address those in your onboarding plan.
Adding users to specific courses, groups, branches, etc. during user registration should be included in your onboarding plan as well.
The best LMSs have automations in place to auto-enroll learners into learning paths, courses, groups, etc. upon registration. But you’ll first need to decide whether users will self-register or if you will import them using spreadsheets or other methods.
Importing users generally gives you more control over custom fields and automations.
Plan How to offer Help
Start thinking early in the LMS implementation process how your learners will get help.
There are a few ways to go:
- Direct messaging
- Built-in help desk forums
- Help desk services
If you don’t already have processes in place, consider integrating a help desk service with your LMS. SupportBee (https://supportbee.com) is our personal favorite.
LMS Implementation: How Elearning Delta Can Help
A well-thought-out LMS implementation plan can save you a lot of time and resources. Elearning Delta can help you with every step of your LMS implementation.