Phase I: Planning
A solid plan makes all the difference
An LMS is an expensive investment of time, effort, resources, and money. Protecting and optimizing this investment starts with comprehensive planning, to ensure your system is easy for end-users to navigate and provides highly relevant content and useful analytics.
During this phase, your client services manager will be introducing you to the Big Five: standards, taxonomy, configuration management, housekeeping, and governance. Additionally, you and your CSM will have discussions about what metrics your organization will use to gauge the success of your LMS, what information you will need from your reports, what kind of communication and change management plans will most benefit your end-users, and how to best manage your C-Suite's expectations.
- Configuration Management
- Communication Plan
- C-suite Expectations
- Learning Theory
Standards- Policies, procedures, guidelines, conventions, criteria related to course properties, structures... all of this falls under the category of standards. In writing, we'll help you answer such questions as, "What content goes on the LMS and what does not? Who owns that content? How does ownership pass from one person to another?" We'll also assist you in crafting a comprehensive set of procedures for common user-requested tasks such as updating or deactivating existing training, preparing custom reports, or asking for enhanced permissions. Finally, we'll make sure that you have clarity on the little details affecting your training like course naming conventions and meta data which will streamline your users' ability to find and complete their training.
Taxonomy- Based on your specific organizational requirements, we'll help you set up your catalog structure, whether it is flat or hierarchical. We'll also provide assistance on what meta data tags will best enable your users to find their training in your catalog. And, of course, we'll teach you how to set up a taxonomy test with your own users to validate the design choices made here.
Configuration Management-Disaster preparedness is something that 99% of all LMS administrators overlook. We'll ensure that all of the configuration settings in your LMS are documented before you go live so that you are prepared for any emergency. This includes settings that pertain to access and authentication, HR data feeds, user accounts, security roles and permissions, audience rules for webinars... all the way down to your site branding and the html code for your custom certificates. By the end of your implementation, you will have a complete configuration workbook that reflects the setup of your LMS exactly.
Housekeeping- Periodically your system will require a bit of spring cleaning. For example, courses may need to be archived, and user accounts may need to be deactivated or merged. The best times for this are just before system upgrades and major data migrations. We'll provide you with step-by-step instructions that you can follow to help keep your system neat and tidy.
Governance- How an LMS is governed has a direct impact on whether it effectively supports the organization's strategic goals and objectives. Proper governance means ensuring that all stakeholders are represented and that there is a logical structure for decision-making. During this training you'll learn all about the governing board, the LMS steering committee, the LMS working groups, and the LMS operations group. Each of these has an important role to play in governance and should not be overlooked.
Communication Plan- Adopting a new piece of technology can be daunting for employees, which is why a plan for change and expectation management needs to be communicated effectively and often throughout the implementation process. We'll help you craft your message and decide on delivery methods for it to ensure that your users have confidence that the new platform will benefit their careers and the organization as a whole.
Reporting- In this discussion you will learn about the four types of analytics: descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive. Reports are the most basic form of descriptive analytics because they tell you "what happened" during a given period in the past. But they don't tell you "why it happened", which is the realm of diagnostic analytics (a comparison of past results, typically using dashboards). And frankly, very few organizations ever get to even this basic level with their LMS. And only five percent (maybe) of all organizations ever venture into the realm of predictive ("What WILL happen if trends continue?") and prescriptive ("How can we alter our training to make our desired outcomes occur?") analytics. The reporting feature of your LMS is the most valuable and often the most underutilized feature of the platform. We'll show you how to get the most out of it.
Metrics- It is crucial to establish the metrics for success up front. We will assist with that. What does success look like? Do those numbers make sense? For example, we'll suggest using things like “Hours of learning accomplished” vice “Number of courses accessed.” as one of your indicators. Once we have a good set of metrics in place, reporting on the success of the LMS and your training program will be easy, and the leaders of your organization will be assured of the worthwhile investment of their time and money.
C-suite Expectations-Implementing a new LMS is not something that can be successfully pushed by middle management both up and down the chain of command. We have found that a conference with members of the C-suite is critical at this phase of implementation. That is because LMS implementation is often a business process revamping exercise, and it requires the full commitment of the organization to change its current business practices. The LMS is an enterprise solution; it needs to support the strategic goals and objectives of the organization, and that first requires the understanding and support of the highest level of the organization.
Learning Theory- We've seen it over and over again. Due to the flattened learning curve of content authoring tools, e-learning has become easy for organizations to produce rapidly, but it is most often done without a solid grasp of what actually causes learners to internalize the knowledge being presented. "Slide, slide, slide, question" is the most common training design that we see, with the navigation locked and a "time-in-seat=effective training" mentality. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. We'll provide you with an instructional designer that is fluent in the latest advances in learning theory to help you evaluate your training and recommend specific techniques for its optimization. You don't have to make use of the feedback you receive, of course, but your LMS is really only as good as the training it contains. So let us help you make it the best it can be.