The process of choosing the right LMS for the organization, figuring out all that it will have to do as well as how much it will all cost, how maintenance will be handled and the results it will have to bring in order to be deemed as a successful acquisition is a long and tedious one.
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Even with the digital revolution clearly happening in all companies around the globe, boards and CFOs might show some reluctance when it comes to spending sizable budgets for the sake of moving learning online, tracking needs and results by having comprehensive analytics in place and generating relevant reports with a few clicks any time they are necessary.
Yet difficult as the purchase may be, it often seems a piece of cake when compared to the task of implementing a new LMS in an organization. There are a lot of people with various roles who will need to use it and not all will be very keen to do so right from the start.
Change generates discomfort
People are naturally resistant to change and when they have done some things in a certain way for a period of time, they will tend to keep doing them in the same manner even when presented with an easier or more efficient method.
I have personally lived through such an experience when the company I was working for some years back decided to implement a new platform with all the work instructions and procedures. Up to that point, they were all stored in Outlook folders and people memorized some key words or the name of the person who usually sent emails on a certain subject and that’s how they accessed the much needed information to do their jobs. The new platform had a search feature and was a lot easier to use yet it only really started getting traffic when the IT department cut access for all users to those Outlook servers. The hard way was the familiar one so that’s how everyone continued to do things in spite of the new, easy to use platform.
Top 3 strategies for LMS adoption
If a new LMS is to have a smooth adoption within an organization, everyone who’s work is impacted by it needs to be involved, at every step of the implementation process. Here are the top three strategies that are guaranteed to work:
Get top management endorsement
A new LMS is a big deal. It changes how learning is done in the company.
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Whenever transformation of a certain magnitude is required, employees look to the messages they receive from the top of the organization. If what is asked of them does not find itself on the agenda or in the public declarations of those who are, hierarchically, at the top of the business it will be deemed as unimportant and ignored. It is crucial that important formal leaders support any transformation in a transparent and declarative manner.
One effective way of ensuring that the support of the top management is clear is to appoint a sponsor of the new platform and employ his or her image and speech to ensure that the appropriate importance is being given to the transformation. Walking the talk is essential when big transformations are required in an organization so that person will need to be permanently and actively involved throughout the deployment process.
Get the buy-in of HR and L&D specialists
L&D and HR specialists are usually the first employees who come in contact with a new LMS. Their initial perception and how they disseminate that in the organization will have great bearing on the way the LMS will be received by end users. It is best that this category of employees is involved in all the major decisions right from the beginning.
Asking them about what they would like to see in an LMS, what they feel they need to make it successful and what they think will prove valuable features for the organization will get them on board and increase the chances that once in place they will accept and promote the new learning system. They can even act as beta testers in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t and send that feedback to the developers so they can mend what is faulty. Instructional designers will have to provide content for the new platform, whether it will be older modules or new material so their input and buy in are paramount.
Read more: What it takes for an LMS to be successful
Sell it to the learners
It’s wrong to assume that if you simply have a new LMS in place people will naturally start using it to its full potential. In order to facilitate adoption, L&D specialists need to listen to what employees have to say and adapt the materials to their needs.
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Relevance is key when it comes to e-learning. If learners see a direct benefit coming from their enrollment in learning modules, they will gladly sign up. Furthermore, it’s best if they can keep track of progress and results so making analytics easily accessible even to users works as a great incentive. Applying gamification techniques also works wonders for the modern employee who generally has a positive attitude towards badges and leaderboards.
Feed-back to and from learners should be constant and visible changes based on that feedback need to be present in order to make sure the LMS truly meets the organizational requirements. Continuous evolution is mandatory.
All in all
Selecting, buying and implementing a new LMS can be a lengthy process but it doesn’t need to be a difficult one. If all those involved to their homework at the right time and are prepared for every step, success is a guarantee. Project managers have to keep in mind that it’s not over once the system is up and running. Rather, it’s when it all begins.
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