If you’ve spent any time in an organization that has been around more than a few years, you’ve probably heard someone on your team say they do something one way because it’s the way it has always been done. There’s no denying that it’s easier to repeat the past than it is to find a new and better method to accomplish your goals. However, easier isn’t always better, and sometimes change doesn’t have to be as difficult as we think it will be.
In the case of adopting a learning management system to institute training software in your association, implementation really can run smoothly.
A 2015 survey report by Capterra asked LMS users how long they had guessed implementing their training software would take, then followed up by asking how long implementation actually took. Only about 15 percent of respondents thought the process would move more quickly than it actually did. More than half of users said implementation took less than 6 months; just over 20 percent reported it taking 6 months to a year; and about 25 percent said implementation either took more than a year or they were not yet finished implementing the program.
To streamline implementation of your new training software, just follow these simple guidelines:
- Know the training needs of your staff before jumping in. Before you choose your provider, understand your staff’s technological gifts or limitations. If most of your staff has a hard time learning new tasks on the computer, you may need to come to an understanding with the software provider in terms of securing one-on-one training for the provider to teach your staff members how to use the software. Then, budget in time for this when estimating the time it will take to implement your training software. If you do not consider training needs before trying to put your new software into play, you may find that your LMS provider offers minimal training support, throwing a curve into your timeline for implementation.
- Know the features you want and will get with your software. When you plan out your training approach – again, before you select your platform – make sure you have a deep understanding of all the features you need to accomplish your plans. If you want users to accumulate badges for completing certain levels of training, make sure your platform offers gamification. If you want association members to be able to purchase courses online, your platform will need to include eCommerce. The biggest disappointment LMS users have with their providers is a lack of features, according to the Capterra survey, and finding out mid-implementation that you won’t be able to accomplish what you set out to accomplish will put a wrench in your roll-out timeline.
- Repackage content so you aren’t starting from scratch. Understanding the software and teaching both your staff and your members how to use your software will take enough time; you don’t want course creation to take up even more of your timeline. Look back through your records to see what speaker series recordings you currently have or what speaking events you have coming up that you could record, and edit that content to fit your training needs. Reach out further than just your learning and development team to ask association executives what content they might have already created that your team could repackage. Has one of your executives participated in a recorded panel discussion? Does another executive keep a professional blog you could pull from? Your association already brings together some of the greatest minds in your industry. Mine that talent for content to skip the creation and head right to editing for your training library.
- Check up on your courses using reporting. Putting the content on the system isn’t the end of your implementation. Have your staff keep track of how, when, where and by whom users access the courses to analyze how each of the courses is doing. If users are accessing one course more than others, you want to figure out why. Is the layout of the course better for users? Create another course with the same layout to see if you achieve similar results. If so, you may use that layout more and more to entice users. Is it the topic that is attracting users? Create more courses on that topic to replicate the results and serve your users what they are interested in.
By following these guidelines, you’ll ensure your training software implementation runs as smoothly as possible. Different size associations may spend more time in implementation, but all associations should be able to estimate the length of that process realistically. Sidestepping some common mistakes organizations make during implementation helps keep actual time spent close to that estimate.