This post has been updated on October 23 2018.
When a company opts for implementing a new Learning Management System the decision is usually based on a very solid business case.
E-learning has many perks, including great flexibility, lower training costs and a better ability to keep track of all employee development paths. Moving learning online is the logical thing to do since all arguments made these days are in favor it.
However, in spite of all the obvious benefits, it’s best if those in charge of the putting in place are also aware of the obstacles that can arise when such an endeavor is underway. Shifting from traditional classroom training to an online environment may be considered an unwelcome change especially for the older, less tech-savvy employees, but also for any others. People tend to have an innate resistance to change.
Top 3 things to watch out for during an LMS implementation
Getting everybody on board and online is equally important to setting up a flawlessly functioning platform. If not done properly, communication can be the first glitch to appear. But, if you manage to stay on top of the following three aspects of LMS implementation you'll get better chances of doing it right.
Insufficient clarity about the objectives
There is a golden rule in training that goes
Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you’ve told them.
It sounds pretty simple but many times L&D professionals get so excited about how great the courses are and how well the system works that they overlook communicating the goals.
Formulating good objectives is a difficult task especially since there are several layers to take into consideration. First of all there is the organizational component where there needs to be a general declaration of how the program will benefit the business. Then there are course objectives that also need to translate to individual goals.
Issues tend to appear when all this is not clear and accessible to all participants, regardless of the position within the company. People’s time is very valuable and feeling that taking an online course might be a waste of it can obviously be a major setback.
Promoting your LMS even before it is up and running is best. Another practice that works when implementing change is asking employees what they think about it and using their feedback to make adjustments. This way they feel included in the process and there’s a much better chance to have good attendance rates.
Low participation rates
Choosing a LMS platform, making it operational and loading it with the best, state of the art courses is not nearly enough. People will not log on and enroll in learning material just because it is there, regardless of how amazing it is.
It’s not that they do not want to learn new things – in today’s ever changing business environment constantly learning is the only way for them to stay on top of their jobs – but there are so many already familiar alternatives out there. The internet is filled with minute-long how-to videos and demonstrations.
The key to getting employees to believe in your learning program (apart from flawlessly communicating its objectives as explained above) is to get the buy-in of team-leaders and managers. First of all, their opinion is valued and second, they know best what competencies are lacking in their teams.
Learning is all about closing gaps and setting people on the right course for personal and professional growth. Creating clear learning paths and awarding employees some sort of formal recognition when they complete them will drive participation rates up. Of course this means more work for L&D specialists who have to be even more active once implementation of the system in place.
Inappropriate tech support
When picking the right LMS for the organization, a lot of factors have to be taken into account and the technical infrastructure and knowledge is one of the most important ones.
Getting a platform with a million functions, buttons and options may seem like good value for money but it will prove rather ineffective. If one needs to take an entire course just to figure out how to access and go through the material, they will give up very early on and be right to do so.
A simple, user-friendly, uncluttered interface is always the best bet.
If the HR department requires some more intricate features that can generate detailed reports and help sort a lot of gathered data, it is advisable to design different interfaces for various users – rather than leaving all the tabs and buttons there but making them unavailable for some.
Further than that, having your friendly IT specialist on hand for questions and assistance is a must. There are multiple issues that can arise, some as simple as a two minute update, some more complicated like system failures after major content updates.
If the goal is to have employees trust and access the e-learning courses, it all has to run smoothly and be a pleasure rather than a headache.
In the end...
Positive thinking is always great when dealing with change but it’s good to also consider possible obstacles, so they can be optimally overcome.