5 common mistakes when implementing an LMS
A Learning Management System can be a powerful and effective tool in getting the best out of your learners. Your business may already have an LMS in place, but as the weeks, months and even years have gone past – it has not been as effective as you would have liked. You feel like your LMS has failed you.
Out of frustration, your company over time may not rely on LMS as much and may even revert back to traditional learning and training. Worst case scenario, you stop using it altogether and the LMS gathers digital dust.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
We’re going to look at the 5 common pitfalls faced when implementing an LMS and ways to avoid these mistakes. This will be useful information for businesses looking to adopt a new Learning Management System, as well companies looking to invest in an LMS and want to get it right first time.
1) You’ve Bought the Wrong LMS
Your LMS may be failing simply due to having the wrong LMS for the job.
This is a common scenario - you’ve been tasked with finding a new LMS for your business. You do a quick search on Google for the best LMS, and you’re automatically drawn to the most popular search result. That LMS looks like it has an incredible feature list and good reputation - so you pay top dollar to get it as you see it as an investment.
However, after you’ve implemented that new LMS into your business, several issues may arise. It is possible that the product’s features and capabilities are just too excessive for your business needs. You’re wasting money on features that you probably will never need. You're wasting time and energy having to navigate around a bloated and extensive LMS just to use the handful of tools you actually want.
Worst still, you may discover that a particular feature you desire is not included in the LMS. You enquire about getting this feature added to the LMS but the developers either can’t implement the feature or won’t add it unless you pay additional costs.
You then realise you’re locked in to a 2-year contract and ultimately resent using the system.
How to avoid this
When selecting a Learning Management System, you need to consider short and long-term strategies for implementation and growth. You need to think about which features will benefit not only individual learners, but also management, departments and obviously the business as a whole.
Budget constraints are a critical factor. Depending on the LMS, it might be a one-off purchase, yearly contract or costed per user. Concentrate on that sweet-spot between finding an LMS that has the features you need (or could be added cost-effectively) and at a cost you can realistically afford.
Paying more doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting more.
If possible, request a demo of the LMS. Get a sense of how suitable the software is for needs. Have open communication with colleagues and employees to get an idea of what the learning and training requirements could be and if the LMS you’re looking at, compliments this.
The best thing to do is to contact an LMS provider directly. The more upfront you are with the provider, the easier it is for them to assess how they could help you.
Ideally, you need an LMS that can grow or adapt to your business needs.
2) No Transition Plan
You’re the proud owner of a brand new LMS. Congratulations! But now what?
You may have been so caught up in the pursuit of new eLearning software, you forgot to put in place a specific transition plan. This could be either migrating your data from one LMS to another, or transitioning from traditional instructor-led training to digital learning.
A lack of preparation can cause issues down the road.
Every LMS is built differently. Comparing 2 systems side-by-side may, at first glance, reveal similar features. However, these features will in fact, probably run differently from each other. Don’t assume that because you’ve had experience using one LMS, you will automatically be able to use a different one with no issues.
Having previous experience of an LMS is advantageous, but not allowing adequate time for your learners to adopt and adapt to the new LMS, may lead to them becoming disengaged with the process.
If this is your first time moving away from physical training and instead adopting digital learning, you may make the error that it’s a simple swap. Print-outs and paper-based training in general, will not migrate easily over to the world of eLearning.
An employee or student will not absorb the information presented on that document more effectively simple due it now being on a screen.
It’s quite easy for a business to blame an LMS for not delivering positive results, when in fact it’s the outdated content that is the source of the problem.
If upgrading the content is not factored into a transition plan, the content will not reach its full potential in the new LMS. You will waste time, money and energy putting ineffective material into the software.
You may finally realise your mistake by looking at the course completion reporting on the LMS - discovering that your workforce are not finding the digitised paperwork very engaging to read.
You didn’t plan for that, and now have to make the choice of either slowly improving the content when you have the time or resources, or worse, leaving it the way it is.
How to avoid this
Create a realistic transition plan.
If moving from one LMS to another, you need to allow time for the data and content to be migrated. The complexity of this can vary depending on the volume of content and how this content is put into the new software. Generally, content migration is achieved by using SCORM or xAPI.
You’ll also need to decide if the content you already have is sufficient or worth improving during the migration process.
Decide who in your business will manage the transition. It’s best to assign an individual or team to the task of ensuring the transition is as smooth as possible. They can not only decide in advance what features and content will be needed, but can be trained on how to use the LMS.
Allow time for your workforce to be trained on the new system. Don’t assume the transition will be instantaneous.
Following the advice above will mean the adoption of the new LMS will be much smoother.
If this is your first LMS, you will need to shift from be paper-based or instructor-led learning, to digital learning. This will require a little more forward-planning to execute.
It's not advisable to simple digitise your paperwork. You will not benefit from the engaging and interactive features of an LMS. You should use your current content as the foundations for your new digital content.
You should work alongside your LMS provider, who will be able to use their experience to help with content migration and content creation. They will also be able to give guidance on training and timescales.
3) Low Quality Content
It doesn’t matter how fancy your LMS is if the content is outdated or poorly executed. Learning Management Systems are built for micro-learning: bite size chunks of information absorbed in small doses. If you load your LMS with older training material; such as lengthy PDFs and wordy Word documents, no one is truly benefitting from the features of the LMS.
The content will not be appealing or interactive, and your learner will likely to zone-out over time. This is far from ideal when it comes to compliance training or health and safety training.
You may already have an LMS and consider your content to be engaging enough. If that statement is not backed up by user feedback and backend reporting, you may need to reassess and refine your content.
If left untouched, training and learning will rapidly become a chore, and logging-in to the LMS will feel like a punishment. On the surface, it will look to you like the LMS has failed.
How to avoid this
eLearning content must be developed to suit the target audience and how they’ll interact with that information. You must think digital throughout the whole process. Remote learning and working is on the rise; you must consider how they will engage with the information you will provide; even down to the type of device they’ll use.
Breakdown lengthy content and utilise the many features of an LMS to increase engagement levels. Use videos, quizzes and leaderboards to increase interactivity.
If you’re migrating to a new LMS, reassess your current eLearning content and decide if your new LMS features can make the content even more interactive and engaging. Your content should be regularly updated and tweaked – this should be based on feedback and data.
If you’re purchasing your first LMS, use the many features of the LMS to upgrade your content. Take the content you already have and convert that into highly engaging and interactive content. You’ll see better results from your workforce or students.
Moving your content onto a digital platform can be a big undertaking. You could use the services of an LMS provider to create and manage eLearning content for you.
Cheyenne LMS is a powerful and cost-effective eLearning platform. We are much more than an LMS; we provide services including content creation and migration.
4) Insufficient Communication
Transitioning to a new LMS requires extensive communication through the whole process.
Constant communication is required not only with key stakeholders, but with the LMS provider as well. At an early stage, you need to know the scope and requirements of the LMS implementation, as well as being clear with your objectives and goals to the LMS provider.
An individual who wants to push ahead with getting an LMS, without collaborating with others, runs the risk of sabotaging the smooth implementation of the LMS.
Features or content may need to be added last-minute, causing delays and added expenses. Even worse, you may realise too late that something critical is not included in your new LMS and it’s simply too late to change course.
You may be stuck with what you now consider to be a sub-par LMS. It is doomed for failure.
How to avoid this
Consider appointing someone as a Project Manager to oversee the transition to the new LMS. This person can keep track of the requirements of the LMS and keep communication open with the LMS provider.
Clearly defined goals and expectations will reduce the chances of errors and delays.
You may not know exactly what your requirements are for a new LMS. It may be a good idea to speak to an LMS provider at an early stage and share what your expectations are. They will be able advise you on what the best plan of action is for implementing a new LMS, and what features would boost the user experience.
5) Unreasonable Expectations
You may have an idea in your head of what the perfect LMS would be for your business.
You might know exactly what features it should have, how it should function, and how it should look.
That LMS might exist in the real world or it may permanently live in your dreams.
Your expectations may simply be too high. You might want all the bells and whistles, but will you need them and can you afford it? The reality is, your LMS needs to match your budget or skill limitations. There’s no point investing money in bespoke LMS features if your workforce will not need to use it, or know how to use it...even if it does look fantastic.
Your LMS of choice should be within budget and provide as many of the functions you need it to perform. You need to be realistic when selecting your LMS. You could easily end up spending too much money and chasing unattainable goals.
You run the risk of being disappointed with whichever LMS you settle for. Your LMS will have instantly failed you because your expectations were unreasonable.
How to avoid this
Consider which functions of a Learning Management System are most important for your business. Be realistic with your expectations and stick to a budget.
A Learning Management System is not a magical healing potion for fundamental issues in your business. It is a powerful tool; designed to make learning easier, engaging and effective. If used correctly, it will boost your training and learning efforts - you will see improvements.
Just don’t expect that simply having an LMS will automatically mean success. It needs great content, regular engagement and frequently maintained for it to really thrive.
If your business has particular requirements for an LMS, and you believe these to be important, contact an LMS provider. There’s a good chance they will be able to customise the LMS to your specification.
To avoid your LMS being an instant failure, there are a few simple steps you can take:
Have clearly defined goals and expectations
Be realistic with the scope and budget
Think in advance about content
Frequently communicate with everyone involved
Carefully consider functions and features
Ask for advice and help from an LMS provider!
Cheyenne LMS is a cost-effective and powerful Learning Management System, built for insights and results.
Talk to us if you want to boost your eLearning efforts. Learn to thrive.