When you purchase an LMS (Learning Management System), you may find it difficult to get user buy-in – especially if your organization has never done eLearning before.
Whether you’re already using your platform to its utmost potential, using every available feature your platform has to offer, and are looking for tips on how to use those features or you’re brand new to the learning space and are looking for new ideas to just accomplish your organization’s basic training goals, welcome to “Making the Most Out of your LMS,” a blog series in which I’ll offer some tips and strategies for squeezing out every bit of value from your learning platform.
Part II: Making it Your Own
In Part I, we talked all about perhaps the biggest obstacle in any learning environment, which is how to make learning fun and engaging. Which really goes hand in hand, with make your LMS your own. Because, when you start to really own your LMS and mold it in your organization’s image, you may start to realize that in doing that, you’ve already made the experience that much more appealing and enjoyable, just by adding your own personal touch.
Brand it Your Way
The more seamless the transition from their normal, everyday job functions to your LMS, the easier it’s going to be to get your users to take training and recognize it as a part of their everyday job. Sometimes this just seems like a logistical question: how do I get users from Site A (say your organization’s intranet page) to Site B (your LMS)? You think to yourself “oh, well we need to make sure that we shorten the navigation so that instead of taking 5 clicks to get from our intranet page to the LMS, let’s make sure they only have 2 clicks” – and while that’s important, what’s perhaps just as important is Jedi mind-tricking them into thinking they never left their site.
One of the easiest ways to build a seamless transition is to implement Single Sign-On (SSO), if your LMS platform supports it. It allows your users to automatically sign onto your LMS platform once they've logged into their workplace network (i.e., their Windows login and password). The result is that they navigate to the LMS and they’re all logged in already – and to the end user it’s like the LMS is a part of your intranet site, a part of their site, and a part of their day-to-day tasks.
Of course, you may say “Sean, our LMS looks nothing like our intranet site,” and that may be true, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to stay that way. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the software industry is that it never hurts to inquire about changing the look and feel of your user experience – sometimes those cosmetic changes that you want to make just to match your organization’s site are just that: cosmetic. But a user interface is anything but superficial. It’s incredible how things can change and how user attitudes can be shift about learning just by seeing their company’s logo or site background or mascot on a piece of software. It communicates to them that this is where they should be, and this is an included in their daily functions as an employee.
Once They’re In, Never Let Them Go
Perhaps more importantly than getting your users to sign in, is ensuring they have nowhere else to go. I’m not exactly talking about the tractor beam on the Death Star here but once your users have committed to using your LMS for learning, there should never be any question for them about where to go for training – just like there was never a question what was going to happen to our Star Wars protagonists once they were caught in the tractor beam. Your LMS should be the one-stop shop for any and all learning.
It may sound simple, but allowing your users to access all the training they need in one place is one of the keys to achieving buy-in at every level of your organization. The challenge is getting all of your learning content to work with your LMS, which can sometimes feel like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Having a flexible LMS is the solution to such a challenge as you only need to tweak your LMS in order to deliver your content all in one place. An easy concrete example is your licensed, third-party content (be it eLearning content, videos, a virtual meeting, etc.). Most of the time you must access the content through their third-party site, instead of your LMS. The strength of any good LMS is the ability to deliver your users to that other site and bring them back to your own LMS, while still making it an easy experience AND ensuring that you can keep track of if/when the training was completed. Integrating these optional (or required) third party trainings into your platform, even if they technically don’t live in your LMS – can instill confidence in your LMS amongst your users because they see that any and all training, whether it technically lives in your LMS, still starts in your LMS.
Ultimately, you’re not just creating learning content – you’re creating a learning experience, and your users’ experience is vital to their opinion of your system and will drive confidence and acceptance of your learning platform within your organization. Achieving confidence in the look and usability of your learning platform is at the absolute core of creating an effective learning culture organization and can never be overlooked.
Stay tuned for the third part of this series, where I’ll discuss ways to set goals and keep track of your training!