Congratulations! You have decided to implement a Learning Management System (LMS), you’ve secured a budget from your board and you have a few fellow colleagues that have agreed to help you on this mission. Your members have been asking for more content, and now you have a way to deliver it! But where do you start and how do you ensure that your LMS actual goes live in a timely manner? As the Director of Client Onboarding at Blue Sky eLearn, I have helped hundreds of association and corporate clients implement their LMS. Some LMS projects are done on time and under budget, and others have lingered and pained their stakeholders for way to long. So, what have I learned from all of this?
1. Start with content, and worry about design & navigation later
Your homepage, content categories, call to action buttons, product bundles, subscription purchases; these are all important aspects of your LMS but without content they are essentially useless. If you are starting your project with content that you are migrating from a another LMS, then you will simply need to decide what you would like to move over. However, if this is your first LMS then you will need to ensure you are prepared with course content, past recordings or plans for live webinars so that once users get past the pretty design and savvy navigation icons, they do in fact have something to learn.
2. Create milestone due dates, and be relentless with them
Remember those eager colleagues that I mentioned early? They probably had great intentions when they volunteered to help you with the LMS. But, without approachable milestones in your project, they may become overwhelmed and their charitable offer will soon be placed on the back burner. To avoid this, break down what they need to help you with into manageable milestones with realistic deadlines. With Blue Sky eLearn, your Onboarding Manager will guide through this!
3. Be prepared to write copy
Subject matter experts are often great at creating presentation slides and speaking to them on a webinar or at a live conference, but how do you translate that to content for an on-demand course? Someone will need to be able to summarize the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) description that will help you sell your content on a LMS platform. You can help yourself prepare for this by asking your presenters to supply learning objectives or key takeaways that you can then use to summarize the courses for your LMS.
4. Know where your graphics will come from
Now you have worked months on new content, you have amazing course descriptions, and all of your items are for sale, you are ready to go-live! But when you take a look at your LMS, you still feel like it appears lack-luster. This can usually be fixed by some great banners and graphics being added to your site! If you have an in-house marketing or web-design team, communicate with them early that you will need their assistance in branding your LMS once you have your content set up. Keep in mind that creating a new LMS is usually a heavy investment in both time and money, so don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to the design of your site if you do not have someone on staff who specializes in this. At Blue Sky, we our learning strategy and development department helps our clients add that missing pizazz from their content.
5. 90% now is better than 100% later
Maybe your goal was to have 10 courses ready for your users when your new LMS was launched. Or maybe that goal was 500 recorded presentations? Whatever your goal was, give yourself some grace. Sometimes 90% now is better than 100% later. If you wanted to announce your new LMS at your annual conference but you don’t quite have all your content ready, it’s okay to launch with what is available and have some courses with ‘Coming Soon’ text or graphics. Think of it this way, this will give you something to communicate with your potential customer about after your big announcement!
Now that you’re ready to launch your LMS, check out our blog Make a Splash: Promoting Your LMS and Making a Great First Impression.
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