Set up a Learning Management System (LMS).
You are not alone if you suddenly need to provide online training for a newly-remote workforce. In addition to migrating your in-person training online, you may be tasked with training workers on the tools they need to work remotely at all!
There is so much information in social media feeds right now about working and training remotely that you may not know where to start.
What we need right now are solutions. And we need them quickly. What good is an article on “How to Engage Virtual Learners” if you’re scrambling just to get your training online?
Elearning Delta’s “solution” is to offer expert advice on how you can get your training online quickly and painlessly. This is the first in a series of informal articles to help you do just that.
First piece of advice: Use an LMS. Period.
The fastest and easiest way to get your training online is to utilize a good Learning Management System (LMS). ALL the tools you need for your online training program are already in place on an LMS.
Since the goal here is to provide a straightforward solution, we want to drive this point home:
If you want to deploy online learning effectively, use a Learning Management System – not your CMS, not your CRM, not your HRIS, not WordPress, and not (only) webinar software – a dyed-in-the-wool LMS. Period.
With that out of the way, here are the top-level steps we recommend.
Three Steps for Rapid Deployment of your Online Training:
Step One: Set up a Learning Management System (LMS). (you are here)
Step Three: Publish courses, add users and launch. (coming soon)
Anything else can be tackled later. We will cover Step One in this post.
STEP ONE: Setting Up Your LMS
You might be wondering why we listed the LMS set up as the first step. That is so you know what your options are for your course content (types of files, formatting, etc.) before you spend unnecessary, valuable time preparing it.
If you are new to online training, you are probably overwhelmed with all the options there are for preparing your course content. But setting up your LMS first can eliminate much of the guesswork.
Once you’ve started setting up your LMS, you can learn the best ways to add your course content and prepare it accordingly. However, you do want to choose an LMS that offers as many options as possible.
The best LMSs can accommodate just about any type of content, including:
- Word Docs and PDFs
- Power Point Presentations – with or without audio
- Videos – uploaded directly, or pulled from YouTube or Vimeo
- Web content – pulled from Wikipedia, Slideshare, Scribd, Prezi, Flickr, etc.
- Flash, HTML, and other specialized content
- And of course, industry standard content like SCORM, xAPI, cmi5, etc.
Most Learning Management Systems also include methods for you to simply populate a page of content with images and text – the way you might create a webpage or Word doc.
Which LMS to Choose?
TalentLMS has many features you can use right out of the gate, and as LMSs go, it is pretty easy to set up. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a robust LMS, though. Once you have the basics in place, you can easily dig deeper to set up just about any type of learning scenario.
This article isn’t a plug for any one LMS, though, it is meant to help you get your training up quickly. Here is how you can do that using TalentLMS to demonstrate.
Build a Functioning LMS in One Day
The following is a short tutorial on the essentials of setting up your Learning Management System on TalentLMS. Any further set up or tweaking can be done at a later time.
First, get a free account with TalentLMS here. You can upgrade to a paid plan after you set up your LMS. All features are available at the free level. Choose a short Domain Name.
General Settings for Your New LMS
Materials needed: Company logo and optional favicon
Estimated time to complete: 1 to 3 hours
1. On the main dashboard, choose Account and Settings.
2. Change the “Site Name” to your company name. Add a short description. Choose “Simple login page” for Homepage.
3. Go to Help in the upper right to get a feel for how that feature works. You will dig deeper into all the features later, but for now type in “image” to see how the search feature and knowledge base works.
4. Click on the first option “What are the recommended logo and image sizes” to see what size to make your logo image.
5. Add your logo once you have sized it, and your favicon if you have one.
6. Enter your Locale preferences.
7. You can learn about all the Security settings by clicking on the information buttons. Many of them may be important to your company’s set up; but the ones ticked here are the ones you should definitely keep on.
8. Tick “off” External course catalog.
9. Add any Custom User Fields that you need for reporting or keeping track of users. Go to the Help area to learn more about setting up Custom Fields.
That is all for this section! Click “Save.”
Setting Up Your Theme
Materials needed: Company colors
Estimated time to complete: 1 hour
1. Go to the Themes tab. Choose a theme that you like – we recommend the “Modern” theme. It is a clean theme so the focus stays on your content. Click “Save as new” and give it a name.
2. Use the main color of your logo, or whatever you want the main color of your theme to be, and change “Box title,” “Main button,” and “Catalog header” to that color.
Choose an accent color or a lighter version of your main color and change “Grid header,” “Grid row,” and “Icons” to that color.
Choose a light gray or very light color that goes well with your main colors and change “Background” and “Grid selected row” with that color.
Keep all other colors the way they are for now.
3. Click “Update” and select “Set as active theme.” Tweak later if you want, but this will look branded and professional to get you started.
Registration Settings, Certificates, and Gamification
Materials needed: None
Estimated time to complete: 1 hour
1. Go to the Users tab. Choose the default way you’d like users to sign up to the LMS. “Direct” means they register themselves from the login screen, while “Manual” means they are added by an admin or imported. We recommend “Manually (from) Admin” for now.
2. Go to the Certifications tab. Choose a certificate design that you like and Click “Update.”
The certificate template is already in place, so unless you have very specific requirements, you can leave that as is. Use “Preview” to see how the template is set up.
3. Go to the Gamification tab. The gamification feature works nicely out of the gate in TalentLMS, so you can leave it on to offer some incentives for users.
You can pick and choose which features to keep on and come back later to tweak when you have time.
You’ve done it!
In less than a day, you now have a functioning Learning Management System that you can start populating with your training material.
There will be things you need to tweak along the way, and many other features and functionality you’ll want to add later; but nothing that will keep you from launching immediately once your courses are in place and your users are added. We cover those topics and other essential set up topics in the next two posts of the series.
Coming Up Next: Get Your Content Ready for Your New LMS!
In Part 2, we’ll show you:
- How to add your content “as is” to your LMS
- Methods for tweaking your content quickly to get it ready for the LMS
- Options for using the LMS itself to generate your course content
Get ready for the next step by gathering ALL of your training material (no matter what format).
How Elearning Delta Can Help
These are unprecedented times, and we want to help as much as we can!