How to set yourself up for a successful LMS implementation
Cody Kirby | 5 min read
Implementation is the essential first step you take with your new learning management system. It calls for collaboration, communication, and structure. It’s easy to overlook some of the straightforward pieces. Like, for instance, the fact that you have to learn the platform well enough to teach others how to use it. Cody Kirby, one of our implementation managers, walks you through a few ways to set yourself up for success.
Part of the equation is to understand the value of learning styles. Gaining a firm grasp of new skills isn’t something you can necessarily pick up in a spare 20 minutes on your lunch break. It’s important to take implementation seriously and approach the skills with an open, curious mind in a location that fosters your ability to concentrate and focus. It’s a collaborative process too, one where we check in with you throughout the process.
Settle in and check out some of the ways you can set yourself up for success when implementing a new learning platform.
Know your learning style and collaborate during implementation
When we think of learning styles, we may revert to our elementary school selves and recall teachers explaining the importance of figuring out how to make sense of something we don’t yet understand. Experts say the four main learning styles are visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic.
It never really clicks until later on in life — maybe high school, maybe college, maybe later — that if you don’t gain a feel for the intuitive way you learn, then it’s that much harder to gain knowledge.
In a professional setting, it’s easy to relax into the rhythm of day-to-day obligations and let learning muscles weaken. When implementing a new platform, however, you have to not only learn for yourself but teach others how to use that platform. If you already know how you best absorb and digest information, you have an instant leg up.
When I kick-off an LMS implementation, I start the call by asking about their learning style. It helps me feel like I know them just a bit more, and also makes them feel that they’re in an open and collaborative environment.
Business is business, yes. It can be constructive and professional, yes. Having an open door policy and making the first step a collaborative one helps make business-to-business relationships last.
Tips for creating a healthy environment to stay engaged with LMS implementation
Environment is an all-encompassing thing — it’s a part of literally everything we do. When thinking about implementation success with regards to your environment, it’s best practice to ask yourself a few questions: Are your surroundings loud? Any distractions (professional or personal) that might break your concentration? Are you trying to fit this implementation call into a quick 30 minutes during lunch? Unfortunately, these circumstances can be hard to avoid sometimes. To combat the inevitable, we’ve established a few best practices.
The common question we ask before kicking off an LMS implementation is whether you have the bandwidth. Implementing a brand-new platform is a big undertaking and carving out time for it is essential. Once you have the bandwidth and this is your main priority for your team, yay! The next step is ensuring the time you have set aside for the weekly calls are free of distraction. The environment you have the call in should be quiet and give you the freedom to focus and engage.
If you think about the times when you’ve done your best work and the outcome was like winning the lottery, ask yourself, ‘What was my process?’ and ‘What was my environment like?’
I’ve had clients tell me that when they set an extra 15 minutes aside and set up in a quiet environment that they felt more engaged with the product and receptive in our calls. This was huge for me, because I know that they’re on the road to success, and our client’s success is ultimately our success.
Why are check-ins necessary for a successful launch?
Let’s say you’re four or so weeks into your LMS implementation. You’ve been having regular calls with your implementation manager, you feel confident, the platform is coming to life and the business flywheel keeps turning. You’re learning more and more each week. But unanticipated things have come up, slowing down the pace of content creation. Now the pressure is on and you’re feeling overwhelmed.
As implementation managers, we want you to know that it’s okay. We know, changes happen in business and life. We’ve been there, and we want to help.
The best practices we’ve had at this point is checking in and letting us know where you are. Remember that open door policy? Yep, still exists! It didn’t just go away after the first few calls; if anything, the open door policy is in play now more than ever. The level of communication happening between us should be at its highest level as the implementation timeline winds down.
Usually by this time we’ve gotten past talking about the weather, and have talked about weekends and birthdays and life whilst talking about the platform, so please believe we care and want to know how you’re doing!
The biggest misconception we see is that if you tell us you need more time or want to pause that we’ll stop thinking of you as strategic partners. The answer to that is simple: we value our relationship with you and your company and checking in with us only strengthens our strategic partnership.
Success builds on success
You’ve wrapped up implementation and are about to launch: How was it? How are you feeling? I bet you feel as though you’re going on vacation and can’t remember if you packed everything. Don’t worry, we get that. But it’s important not to lose track of what you’ve accomplished. A platform was literally just built from the ground up. You did this! Please reward yourself now… no, really. Treat yourself.
In ending this multi-part implementation success, I hope you feel that while, yes, this is a business and we operate just like everyone else, we’re also people and we care about your success and wellbeing. We want to share with you, watch you grow, and ultimately your success is our success.
In following the implementation lifecycle, I think you’ll find yourself in a new place of perception and growth. Cheers!
BY CODY KIRBY
Cody is an implementation manager with Wisetail.