Learn to love your LMS: tips for maximising your investment

Research like Fosway Group’s The State of the Learning Technology Market commonly highlight dissatisfaction from L&D professionals in both their LMS and LMS providers. What can you do to make sure you’re happy with your LMS and that it helps you meet your goals?  

Why aren’t you happy with your LMS? 

In their 2016 research, Fosway found that only 20% of LMS platforms 'always' or 'frequently' exceed learners’ expectations. That means low satisfaction scores, low engagement and, as a knock-on effect, the LMS isn’t likely to help you meet the learning objectives you set out with.  

Fosway suggests that underinvestment may be a contributory factor here - buyers are focusing on the cheaper solution rather than the better solution.  

But there may be other factors involved – not just investment of money, but a lack of time invested too. How you roll out your LMS and the change management piece around introducing it to the business is equally important. This is not a one off event, ongoing time and attention is needed to keep it fresh and engaging. 

Lack of learner engagement could also be a consequence of starting with the technology solution, not with the business needs. It’s tempting to get distracted by the next big thing – a fancy, shiny new LMS with a long list of features, perhaps. But as our report Learning Insights 2015 shows, your solution is unlikely to have the desired business impact and it won’t be long before you’re off chasing another new big thing. 

Why aren’t you happy with your LMS supplier? 

Fosway found that 50% of businesses feel their LMS providers do not understand their needs. That’s a statistic that’s hard to ignore. Kineo prides itself on great feedback about how well we understand clients’ challenges, but why is the LMS industry, as a whole, struggling?  

Looking a bit deeper at the underlying issues, Fosway notes the results also reflect that L&D teams may find it hard to clearly express what they need from an LMS solution. Fully featured LMS can be complicated beasts. If you don’t take the time to fully identify and communicate your needs, your LMS implementation can become a challenging process. This often happens when:    

  • clients create a laundry list of requirements including things they’re actually unlikely to need, often made using feature lists from the internet 
  • there is a tendency to want to include every feature that may be required in the future, rather than focusing on what’s needed now 
  • there are many stakeholders with contradictory needs, particularly in companies with decentralised L&D functions. 

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the most successful projects are the ones where clients partner with us. Together we can dedicate time to doing some big-picture thinking, understanding your needs and finding a solution to meet those needs. 

How to combat poor service delivery  

According to research, LMS providers are typically the weakest service providers’ with 60% failing to ‘always’ or ‘frequently’ deliver great service.  

In contrast, learning content and consultancy are seen as delivering a significantly better service. That doesn’t seem too surprising given that LMS implementations tend to be more technically complex projects – involving HR integration, SSO and data migration – yet they are often led on the customer side by non-technical staff from the L&D function.  

What seems to underline these frustrations is the age old saying, you get what you pay for. The results from Fosway suggest that the quality and range of services offered is a key differentiator for LMS vendors, something that we pride ourselves on at Kineo. The results also highlight that an effective partnership is needed between your L&D and IT teams, and your LMS vendor team.  

Learn to love your LMS 

At Kineo we’ve had quite a bit of experience in the LMS space, working with clients of all sizes to get a solution that will fit. Based on what we’ve learned, here’s my tips for getting the best from your LMS investment. 

  1. Start with the business need, not with a piece of tech
    Plan what you need and let your supplier partner with you to find the best technology to deliver it 

  2. Create a roadmap of your L&D needs over the next couple of years
    This will help you identify which could potentially be supported by an LMS solution 

  3. Engage with stakeholder and user representatives
    in requirements consultancy to help understand what is possible. Have focus groups, build personas and listen to learners 

  4. Invest time into promoting and embedding
    Successful implementation requires significant investment to promote and manage your LMS 

  5. Become the master of your LMS
    Learn what’s under the bonnet. This may involve training, regular consultancy or dedicated support to get the best of all features 

  6. Build a strong partnership
    Let your LMS vendor be an extension of your team and work together to explore the best solutions for your own L&D challenges. 

If you’re keen for more tips, listen to our webinar recording on the  'Life after the launch of your LMS' and how to get the most from your investment. You'll get tips from the experts on how to ensure your LMS is, and continues to be, a success for the business.  


Leave us your comments...