How to Define and Achieve LMS Success

These days, a learning management system (LMS), or software that administers and tracks eLearning courses, can have a mile-long feature list. It might seem as though there’s no end to the problems it can solve. Yet, while an LMS might be a great tool for compliance, certifications, and managing blended learning curricula, it’s not the answer to all of your learning needs.

Instead, it’s important to consider the additional tools that an LMS needs to be successful and, more importantly, what you need to meet your organization’s learning and training success metrics. In this post, I’ll show you how to define and achieve LMS success so that your tools are doing the work for you, and not the other way around. 

Picking Up Where an LMS Leaves Off

In order to assemble an efficient, high-quality eLearning program, an LMS needs several other integral pieces, the biggest of which is custom-authored learning content, and all of the assessment tools that go with it. Then, you’ll need user data integration, from your HRIS or other master source, to load eLearning participants. A robust LMS will want you to feed it competency and skill models to unlock features that help learners find specialized content for their job roles. Finally, this whole implementation wouldn’t be complete without report definitions for learner progress so you know exactly who has completed what, and how well.

Getting all these moving parts defined and integrated can add months to your baseline system implementation time. Furthermore, on your go-live date, you haven’t actually achieved any business results yet: your learning may be online, but now it will take weeks, months, or even years for your target audience to start taking up the content and making good use of it. 

How to Define LMS Success

Which gets us to the hard but important truth: the point of implementing an LMS is not simply to implement an LMS. The point is to expand organizational knowledge, comply with regulations and requirements, and increase productivity. If you are honest about this, you should set clear success metrics that go beyond implementation. Consider using metrics such as:

  • Learner engagement: Ask your learners if they believe they are getting value out of the system and content, to increase their skill-set and further their careers. 
  • Manager satisfaction: Poll your managers to see if they believe the content is making their employees more effective at their jobs. If not, why not? If they say “content,” find out if it is a lack of the right content, too much of the wrong content, or both. 
  • Organizational efficiency: Productivity can be hard to quantify and measure, but simple metrics like revenue per employee, retention, and attendance are important indicators that show how well your team is operating, and they can all be linked to training efficacy. 

How to Achieve LMS Success

With those objectives in mind, here are some simple steps for achieving success with an LMS rollout that will help deliver measurable ROI in less time: 

1. Don’t wait to start creating your training content.
If you start creating content now, it’s more likely to be ready as soon as your LMS is configured and ready to go. A modern LMS can load content in a variety of formats, and it’s unlikely you’ll be stuck with content trapped in an unusable format. You might even have content ready before the LMS is online, which is a good thing: you can pilot it with groups of learners outside the LMS to see how to make it even better. 

2. Don’t try to boil the ocean.
When selecting groups of learners to target, it can be tempting to tackle training for employees, contractors, partners, and customers all at once with a “big bang” rollout–but doing so will only add complexity and extend the implementation. Start with your most critical areas of need first, and be ready to expand and iterate. 

3. Be realistic.
If you have an existing LMS that you’re replacing, be realistic with yourself about the business reasons for acquiring the new system. Good reasons to replace an old system include incompatibility with new content, lack of necessary integration components, and high cost of maintenance. Bad reasons include low learner engagement (the content is more likely to be the culprit than the LMS), and lack of in house expertise with the system (help from a 3rd party consultant is often cheaper than a whole new system). 

The bottom line:

Here at Inkling, we’re big believers in the power of effective digital content. And we hate to see our customers’ great content held hostage by complex LMS implementations. Rolling out an LMS can be a positive change for your organization, as long as you define and aim for the right success metrics. 

To learn more about how you can meet your eLearning success metrics with Inkling, request a free demo from our sales team.