Kineo's LMS consultant Andy Wooler shares his Top Tips on implementing an LMS.
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#1. Involve IT from day one
...even if you have gone for a hosted or SaaS solution, as there's lots to check and review:
- Desktop – how is their PC set up, what browser versions, Java, Flash, Adobe Acrobat, sound cards etc.
- Firewalls and proxy servers – they need to get out of the infrastructure to wherever your LMS is hosted
- Security standards – you will need to consider the standards for passwords, access controls, data security and much more
- Data protection issues that may arise from your decision on where the LMS is hosted
- Penetration and performance testing – trust me, your IT team will have a view on this!
#2. Understand the business requirement (and meet it!)
Requirements-gathering up front is one of the most important tasks. All successful implementations have a clear link to meeting the needs of the business.
#3. Make sure you have the budget to train your own implementation team
One of the most important things you can do is invest in training. Understanding how you can change the user interface yourself will pay dividends later on. You need to have enough people who know the system inside-out and ensure that any skills you gain are transferred.
#4. Run a proof of concept with your shortlisted vendors
A serious way to discover for yourself if the tool will actually deliver what the RFP response said it would! Also a good way to test out some of the business needs while testing compatibility with your network infrastructure.
#5. Reference visits
Seek out your own from the vendor’s client list. Seek out customers through your PLNs (Personal Learning Networks) – a quick tweet may get you a reference site your vendor would prefer you didn’t meet!
#6. Get an active sponsor
The CEO may be great as a sponsor but will be less valuable if they are inactive. Seek an active sponsor who can help build support for the project.
#7. Find your champions
People out in the business who will help you spread the message are very important, as they will help to establish the business relationships you'll need for success.
#8. Employ an expert
First LMS? Find someone who has the t-shirt... Ideally the video sequel too!
#9. Win hearts and minds
Get trainers involved by ensuring they are trained in how to use the trainer functions on the LMS. Use this as an opportunity to 'upskill' them in how to manage online training activities such as asynchronous chats and discussion forums.
Have some kind of governance-deploying board to ensure consistency of approach, and remember – deploying a centrally mandated project requires lots of buy-in from lots of people.