1. Choose the best learning management system.
You must determine the learning management system (LMS) that will best suit the needs of your organization. There are a myriad of LMS systems: some allow content development, some allow content curation, others are solely tech platforms. Does it come with learning record storage (LRS)? In addition to the technological specifications, you must also carefully consider the vendor. What is the vendor’s reputation? What kind of customer support do they offer? Do they have a return policy? Once you’ve found the ideal system and vendor, you can move on to the next step.
2. Identify your objectives and determine your timeline.
You know the goals for your LMS (effectively train employees using the most efficient and economical tools available), but you need to outline your objectives. To put it simply, your goal is your destination; your objectives are the steps you take to get there. You could also think of objectives as miniature goals that build up to your overarching goal. For LMS implementation, your objectives should include a timeline (you might want to have two timelines, one ideal and one realistic). This schedule will keep everyone on the same page throughout the process.
3. Gather your team.
In addition to the support from the vendor, you’ll need a solid in-house team to help you implement your new LMS. The main roles for team members include project manager, eLearning specialist, training administrator, and IT specialist. The eLearning specialist and IT specialist are responsible for the nuts and bolts of your new system. They (note: in smaller organizations, these roles can be held by the same person) will integrate the new tech with your existing systems. The training administrator is in charge of user experience and adjusting the new software to your company’s specifications. Finally, you will almost certainly need an external consultant to make certain that you are getting everything right.
4. Test with your existing training materials.
Once you’ve gotten the system set up, you need to make certain that it will work with your training materials. Test every aspect with multiple courses. This will show you if the formats are compatible, or if you still need to make some adjustments. You should test with users as well. We suggest three stages of testing: tech, pro, and average. The technical members of your team should test first, to ascertain if there are any IT issues still present. Members of your organization’s learning and development team should be the next test subjects, to ensure that the system will meet their standards. Finally, recruit a layperson who will eventually be trained by the content housed within the LMS. The final stage will allow you to gauge usability and employee engagement.
5. Evaluate, then debut.
Ask your team some last-minute questions. Have all of your objectives been met? Are there any bugs that still need to be fixed? Now is also a good time to mention scope creep, a situation which occurs when a project slowly balloons beyond its original scope and transforms an unwieldy mess that will not achieve any of its original goals. If your LMS implementation has gone according to plan, don’t give in to temptation: take the win and debut your shiny new LMS.