How to launch a Learning Management System

A Learning Management System (LMS) is one of the key tools a Learning & Development department uses to manage employees’ training needs. There are many benefits, though you’ll need meticulous planning and implementation to be successful with it. We’ll take you through the steps of how to launch a Learning Management System and suggest ways to solve common challenges.

By Videhi Bhamidi on Aug 26th

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Learning Management Systems first appeared in the higher education sector. However, today, the majority of LMSs focus on corporate Learning & Development. An LMS is a software application that traditionally enables documentation, tracking, automation, reporting, administration, and the delivery of training and educational programs.

With the dynamically evolving requirements in the training sector, LMSs have also adapted to the needs of a new generation.

The benefits of building an LMS are manifold. It ensures the effectiveness of learning by:

  • Making learning easily accessible
  • Consolidating user data
  • Monitoring and analyzing learner progress
  • Enabling user-specific learning
  • Being economically viable
  • Optimizing time and resource management

Learn all you need about the LMS in our guide. For now, let’s look at how to launch a new LMS.

Six steps to launch a Learning Management System

Before you start creating your own LMS, there are two main steps to take care of beforehand:

  • Assembling the team
  • Establishing a timeframe.

Getting your team in place is an important pre-launch step. A team typically includes team leaders, project managers, e-learning specialists, in-house LMS administrators, IT administrators, human resources personnel, and third-party vendors.

Establishing a timeframe is important to maintain a steady speed. It will also help with identifying the different steps their unique timelines.

With the basics in place, you’re ready to learn how to launch a Learning Management System. Here are the six steps you can take:

  1. Create an implementation plan:

    Based on the needs of your organization, create the implementation plan. Getting the LMS vendor to provide a project plan template is a good place to start as the template will include all the aspects of the plan. Tasks specific to your organization will need to be added to this template so that it becomes totally in tune with the requirements of your organization.

  2. Make configuration decisions

    Once the LMS vendor briefs you on how their product works, you’ll need to make configuration decisions which include:

    • Requisite data and operations information of your organization.
    • Specifying the system’s data fields, functionality, and capabilities.
  3. Understanding the Audience

    To develop a Learning Management System, you’ll need to understand your audience’s needs. There’ll likely be many people using your LMS, from junior staff to directors. That means your tool should be easily accessible. For example, make sure it can house a depth of information and can host a variety of visuals.

  4. Integration

    The LMS may need to integrate with multiple systems in your organization — systems containing user accounts, your CRM, internal communication systems, authentication platform, and others. You’ll need to make sure these systems can seamlessly integrate with your LMS.

  5. Test your new LMS

    Set up a trial or test run with a group of test users to help you identify any gaps in the fielding of the LMS. You can conduct a focus group or have your dedicated LMS team serve as the test users.

  6. Launch

    You’re now ready to launch your LMS platform in your organization. The launch is just the beginning of a dynamic process that includes obtaining feedback, capturing data, and evaluating the output. The aim of the whole exercise is to add value to the learning of the entire organization.

Use Employee-Generated Learning to solve all common LMS problems

With the evolving L&D sector, the current LMS solution may not fully adapt to the new “always-on,” user-driven demands of a young workforce. That’s why it’s worth considering alternatives.

Many organizations today combine an LMS with an authoring tool. Interestingly, many authoring tools are also starting to offer key LMS features and vice versa. This implies a demand for a next-generation learning tool that can offer both LMS and an authoring tool functions in one.

Our own solution, Easygenerator, is what’s known as an authoring tool with LMS-lite features. While it enables users to create learning content, it also offers the ability to track and trace learner results and generate insightful reports – just like an LMS.

More importantly, it simplifies the often complex content creation process that comes with using an LMS. Easygenerator is a user-friendly tool built for subject matter experts, enabling a bottom-up learning model referred to as Employee-Generated Learning (EGL).

But if you haven’t heard of EGL, we’ll explain what it is and how you can use it to solve the challenges of an LMS. Are you ready?

Under EGL, subject matter experts are empowered to create e-learning content themselves. That means L&D professionals no longer have to spend significant time and effort developing content using complex tools built for designers. Instead, they can hand the content creation process off to any employee with subject matter expertise, and take on a supervisory role instead. This accelerates the circulation of knowledge and enables L&D to focus on other tasks in their backlog.

An easy-to-use authoring tool in combination with EGL also makes it much easier to keep content up to date, saving you time and money down the road that would have otherwise gone to creating the same content from scratch.

Conclusion

Not only do you know how to launch a Learning Management System, but you also have the opportunity to consider the more efficient process of EGL. With all the investment in time, money, resources that creating an LMS from scratch requires, it’s worth asking the question of whether we need the traditional form of an LMS anymore. With the benefits that other user-centric tools offer, it may be time to look for LMS-lite solutions like Easygenerator, instead.

About the author

Videhi Bhamidi is a Principal Strategist overseeing the Didactics and Discovery projects at Easygenerator. With over 15 years of experience in e-learning, user-experience research, and thought-leadership projects, she is a regular contributor to L&D magazines. She is an Oxford alumnus and strives to fuse design, research, technology, and didactics in her solutions.

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