Many of the team members at eLogic Learning have been in the industry for years if not decades, so in some ways we feel like we’ve seen it all when it comes to learning management systems. We also know that LMS implementation can make or break the successful rollout of your new software. A bad implementation guarantees frustration and low adoption rates. We’ve also heard horror stories of our clients’ past experiences with implementation.
Taking all of that into consideration, here are some of the things we’ve seen that have contributed to some terrible implementations:
Vendor and the Client Didn’t Discuss Software Needs
Each client that buys an LMS is going to have different software needs to make the LMS work for their company and particular training needs. Those needs are going to call for different priorities and set-up requirements during the implementation process.
Successful implementations involve the implementation team sitting down with the client to discuss:
- Which features in the LMS they would like to utilize
- Their vision for the user experience within the LMS
- How they want the courses to be organized
- How many users they expect to be in the system
- The plan for importing any existing information and courses
- Who all needs to be involved in the implementation process and when
Without this understanding, they can’t devise a plan together. The implementation will ultimately fail to meet client expectations and fail to create a system ready for their users to start learning.
Little to No Training for Future Administrators
A great LMS should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The reality is- especially on the admin side- a great LMS is also a complex and feature-rich environment. That means the person or people taking on the role of LMS administrator for the new LMS may require some training. This is particularly true if they haven’t played the role of LMS administrator or used an LMS before.
This training is necessary so that administrators understand how to get the most out of their new LMS software. It also reduces frustration. Without training, clients may find that they end up filing more requests for technical support and encounter more snags on the path to get the system up and ready for users.
The training offered by various LMS vendors does vary. Low-cost vendors often provide less training. They may also have training that isn’t personalized to the individual client, such as self-guided training or a self-help area. In these cases, the admins have to learn and train themselves on the system. This can work, especially for clients with simple training needs and systems with little complexity, but it’s much preferable to have training with more personal attention to reduce frustration.
No Implementation Timeline
eLogic Learning has a typical implementation timeline we use to give clients an overview of what to expect and how long each piece of the implementation process might take.
Creating a strategic timeline is important for implementation. The different parts of implementation work together, so if certain phases take more time to complete then the overall timeline may be extended. Having the timeline in place gives an indication of your potential “go live” date so your team can plan the roll-out accordingly.
For example, if clients delay in putting together certain graphics, content, or paperwork, then the timeline may be extended and implementation might take much longer. If timelines have to change, then rollout dates change. Everyone on the project may become more confused and lose steam. Sticking to the scheduled timeline is important.
There are different implementation styles, but a recommended implementation timeline including planning, design, development, training, testing, and going live can take about eight weeks.
Lack of Testing
Use case testing is a critical part of any major software implementation. It determines whether the system has been configured properly and whether or not the various components (such as geographical and organizational hierarchy, attributes, fields, and toggling various LMS options) have been set up to directly support your learning initiatives and training goals.
Configuration should be part of any robust LMS implementation. Once this process is complete, the use case testing should commence from both the user and administrator perspective. This gives clients a chance to see whether tweaks need to be made or if everything is set up correctly.
An LMS that has not been properly tested could be a nightmare scenario when released to thousands of users.
No Assigned Point of Contact
An implementation should involve working together on a client-vendor team. Meaning, a client is given a project manager or similar point person who works together with the client from start to finish. We’ve seen implementation models – especially those with self-service implementations – in which clients have no point of contact and when they ask for help with the process, are only directed to a generic support line. Without an assigned point of contact, clients have to explain their implementation goals and needs over and over.
Having at least one assigned point of contact means that clients are working with an expert that already understands their particular needs and implementation when they reach out for help. This makes a huge difference with the overall success of the implementation and eventual roll-out.
No Post-Launch Support
The points of contact and communication with the vendor should not stop at the LMS rollout date. After the LMS goes live, road bumps may occur and the administrators may come across questions they weren’t able to think of during training.
Vendors have various levels of technical support available to help admins after new LMS software has been installed. Without it, small frustrations can become large barriers in getting users on-boarded to the new training system.
How to Have a Smooth Implementation
The lessons we’ve learned from all the years of dealing with implementation in the LMS industry has shown us how important the above areas are in making an implementation run smoothly and successfully. Here’s what you need to have it go well:
- Discuss software needs and expectations at the beginning of implementation
- Conduct training with LMS administrators
- Create a strategic timeline for implementation – and stick to it!
- Test, test, and test some more
- Have a stable team and points of contact between client and vendor
- Make sure you’ve got the support you need even after go-live
Read More About LMS Implementations
Compare the four main models of LMS implementation and see which is a best fit for your organization’s needs. This guide also features a step-by-step implementation scenario.