Learning & Development

How to Implement or Replace an LMS + Rollout Plan

A company that has a learning management system (LMS) is in a much better position to deliver the necessary training to employees. Additionally, team members can use the LMS platform to independently pursue learning that enables them to access the knowledge they need to do their jobs and meet their professional development goals.

Recently, companies like Upwork have found new benefits for a robust learning platform. Now that so many companies have gone fully or partially remote, learning management systems have made it easier to provide training to workers no matter where they are.

What if you don’t have an LMS or aren’t happy with the one you currently have? In that case, it’s time to implement one or replace the old one. The following guide will walk you through the LMS implementation process. These steps work for a new install or to replace an LMS that isn’t working for your organization.

12 Steps to Implement or Replace an LMS

1. Set Learning Objectives and Goals

In many ways, LMS implementation is like adopting any other organizational software package. You have to figure out what you want to accomplish before you can make any other decisions, let alone create an LMS rollout plan.

Here are some of the learning objectives and goals you might consider:

  • Implement a blend of third-party and company-developed training programs
  • Create a knowledge base that encourages employee-generated content
  • Integrate social learning
  • Allow training teams to use both in-person and remote delivery methods
  • Adopt microlearning and on-demand learning
  • Improve the ability to deliver assessments

If you plan to replace an LMS, you should know exactly why it isn’t working for your company. This knowledge will help you better understand which LMS features to look for in a new LMS system. For example, your team might request a more intuitive administrator dashboard.

Finally, take into consideration any other factors that might impact your final decision. For example, your business might have to follow certain regulations that relate to the types of training you are obligated to deliver. It’s important to select learning management that will allow you to stay within the realm of regulatory compliance.

2. Select an LMS Implementation Team

The implementation team will be in charge of selecting the LMS package that the organization will adopt. They will also manage the installation process, work with the software provider, create a project plan, and set deadlines.

Who Should Be on the Implementation Team?

The core implementation team should consist of a project leader, at least one team member who understands the training needs of the organization, someone with deep knowledge of eLearning and LMS systems, and a representative of the user community. 

You may also wish to put together an extended team. These are the people who will take on many of the ancillary tasks that will take place during LMS implementation and after the LMS launch. This work includes:

  • Testing
  • Collecting and analyzing user feedback
  • Providing post-installation user support
  • Training

By involving the right people from the start, you help to ensure a smoother implementation process.

3. Connect with Stakeholders and Executives

The key to good organizational adoption of your new LMS system is to obtain buy-in from executives and stakeholders. These team members aren’t just key to obtaining the funding and approvals you need for your LMS rollout plan to work — they also influence employee attitudes and enthusiasm towards the new product. 

Company leadership will also be more willing to use their power to help you remove any roadblock if they are supportive of your efforts.

Remember that executive leadership will most likely be in charge of setting your LMS project budget. Make the potential return on investment very clear in order to ensure that your implementation has the funding it needs.

4. Choose a Learning Management System

Now, you should have a clear list of needs, some desired features, and a budget. This data is the information you need to begin seeking out the right learning management system. 

Be very clear about your expectations when you work with sales representatives. While they want to make a sale, most understand that their profitability hinges on your long-term satisfaction. Selling you a product that meets your needs is going to work out best for everybody in the long run.

[Download] 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Next LMS

5. Create a Data Migration Plan with IT

This step applies if you are going to replace an LMS system and need to move data from the legacy system to the new one. You may need to involve your IT department in this step, especially if you use proprietary or disparate systems to deliver training and store data.

If you are currently working with a commercial LMS package, the new software provider will ideally have the processes and expertise in place to ensure a smooth migration. Don’t forget to work with the new provider if you are concerned about compatibility issues with other HR or CRM software.

6. Prepare High-Quality Learning Content

Before you can engage in your initial test run, you’ll need to have quality learning content available. You’ll also have to have plans for delivery and assessment and must set up the necessary accounts for students and trainers. 

Ultimately, you may choose to have training content converted from your old system or to use third-party training programs. However, a new LMS implementation offers you the opportunity to develop training materials in a way that makes use of the best features of the new system.

7. Build Automated Workflows

Learning workflows allow you to create personalized training pathways for team members and individuals.

These workflows automatically make the right training content available to users or groups of users based on parameters that you have set. For example, you could create a workflow for safety and compliance training for your logistics staff.

After the LMS launch has been completed, employees can work with their supervisors to create individual learning workflows. These can be used to provide them with self-directed training content that they can progress through to meet their professional development goals.

8. Integrate the Learning Platform with Your Tools

Does your team use tools like Slack to facilitate communication as part of the training class? What about other learning platforms and providers like Udemy or Vimeo? 

Many workplaces also use various video providers, presentation software, or sales tools in their training. These tools will all need to be integrated with your new learning management system.

9. Work with the LMS Customer Success Team

A customer success team works with your company to provide support and advocacy after you have made your purchase. Their job is to ensure that you get the best use out of their product. They do this through a combination of:

  • Training and onboarding
  • Collecting feedback
  • Providing curated support and escalating it when necessary
  • Offering information on upgrades and new features
  • Helping you create an LMS strategy to achieve your organizational goals

This team is an exceptionally valuable resource. It’s worth taking advantage of their service if such a team is offered by your LMS provider.

10. Execute an Initial Test with Learning Content

At this point, you should be ready to bring on your extended implementation team and other employees to execute a test of your learning platform. This test doesn’t need to be a lengthy or complicated scenario. 

However, it should be a real representation of the content you will provide and the training delivery methods your company will use. It should include real-world employee assessments.

Once you are done with training, you can collect feedback from users. This feedback can be used to determine any changes you should make to the implementation before going live. 

11. Rollout and Launch

The final step is to roll out the new system and make it available company-wide. This rollout will be an all-hands-on-deck operation, and you will want to ensure that you have adequate support available. Make sure to inform all stakeholders, support team members, IT staff, and your LMS account manager of the time and date of deployment.

Your LMS launch plan should include a longer-term strategy to offer support and training. There is going to be a knowledge gap that must be filled as people learn to use the new system. 

If they have adequate assistance early on, users will be able to enjoy the most attractive features available to them. This enjoyment will increase adoption and will improve product sentiment.

Future Planning

You likely won’t realize the full benefits of the new LMS right away. To do that, you will also need to revamp your training strategies with the new software in mind. It may help to identify feature gaps between your old and new systems. Then, identify the ways in which new features can be used to improve training in your company.

A Modern Learning Platform for Your Growing Organization

Looking for a new learning platform and replace your old clunky one? Continu offers users and admins a seamless experience from implementation to strategy helping teams upskill faster. Our software empowers you to offer customer service training, compliance training, employee training, and much more to your team. You can do all of this with features like Smart Segmentation™, video coaching, online assessments, knowledge base management, and remote training.

[FREE] Download LMS RFP Template: Make The Right Choice

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