What is an LMS?

Successfully choosing, launching and improving an LMS

Wat is een LMS? | UP learning

Which LMS suits our training and learning management needs?

Imagine walking into a bicycle shop and the sales assistant immediately says: ‘Here is a list of parts. Just tick what you think you need and I’ll put together a new e-bike.’ Bit odd, don’t you think? Funnily enough, an LMS is often sold that way. At UP, we think that should change.

Only choose an LMS when you know what you want to use it for and who will use it.

Wish lists and choice stress

The range of learning solutions is vast. From basic systems, such as Moodle, with which you distribute e-Learning modules to complete environments, such as Totara and imc, with which you support working, learning and development in all their facets. But what suits your organisational culture, what do you want to achieve now and how do you see the near future?

The danger is that your wish list of functions will grow out of all proportion. And your stress about choosing way beyond that. Before you start your search, you should therefore ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do we organise Learning & Development now?
    • What is going well?
    • What could be better?
  • What does our organisation need to become successful?
    • What do we already have?
    • What is still missing?
  • What do the employees need to become successful?
    • What do they already have?
    • What are they still missing?

Keep these questions and your answers handy during your search for an LMS. Get a broad overview and don’t let functionality and comparison lists fool you. Having the most ticks is no guarantee of success. And ‘best in test’ does not mean that it is the best solution for your organisation.

Know what you are looking for and be alert.

What should our LMS be able to do?

Basically, an LMS is a software package that you use to offer and manage learning activities. What matters are the stakeholders. Or rather supporters.

An LMS is good if the various users are all enthusiastic. And therein lies the crux. Because every stakeholder has their own ideas and wishes.

LMS supporters

The managers. They like to keep track of employee development. They want to see a link between the development of teams, employees and their work performance. And draw up or be involved in learning plans. Managers have a business to run, so don’t bother them with unnecessary clutter. Keep the learning and development processes simple and offer bite-sized reports.

The employees. They look for, book and take compulsory and voluntary training courses. Online, classroom or blended. They usually enjoy learning together and sharing their knowledge. Often, this also produces the best learning result. In order to stimulate social learning, a Learning Experience Platform (LXP) is a good solution. If you integrate this platform with your LMS, your employees can go to a single place for all their learning activities. They will be grateful for the convenience.

The technical administrators. Depending on your choice of learning platform, you may or may not need technical administrators. If you get your LMS from the cloud and only need a browser, it’s manageable. If you manage the software yourself, you need colleagues to ensure its accessibility, speed and security. Ensuring barrier-free access, making back-ups and installing updates can also be involved. You can agree with your supplier on a division of labour.

The Learning Professionals. They are often involved in or responsible for the purchase and implementation of the LMS and have a number of tasks. For example, they have to set up, facilitate and stimulate Learning & Development, plan training courses and use reports to analyse the learning returns.

A good LMS facilitates two of these tasks:

  1. Guiding employees in their personal development. Stimulating and motivating them, and together finding a balance between voluntary and compulsory training.
  2. Accounting for investments and time expenditure to management. What does the LMS contribute to knowledge development? And what does it bring to the organisation?

An LMS stands or falls on the experience of its stakeholders. You should therefore take their wishes and ideas into account, or even better, involve them in the selection process. This increases the chances of success. And that’s smart. Very smart.

What makes an LMS a strong LMS?

When the stakeholders become supporters and you think: yes, it was a big investment, but it’s worth it. Then you have a strong LMS.

If you want to achieve good results and turn stakeholders into supporters, there are a number of things you can do:

  1. Make your LMS useful

    Open doors are often the most important doors. Whether employees and managers see the usefulness of the LMS is paramount. The learning materials you find there, the knowledge your colleagues share with you and the personal development that becomes apparent. That’s what it’s all about. Make sure that is in order.

  2. Keep your LMS inviting

    Do you log in and the first thing you see is a dashboard with a calendar, various training courses, study plans, competency structures, feedback processes, certification processes, an action list and news items? You then stare at your screen, click, scroll, look outside and before you know it, you’re putting the washing away (#working from home).

Too much can be counter productive. An LMS with too many features drastically reduces the chances of success.

A strong LMS adapts to the user, not the other way round.

A sexy LMS

An LMS can also be quite sexy from the outside, really. But what matters is the content. Learning must be the prime focus.

A good LMS ensures that the administrative side of learning runs smoothly. Like an electric motor driving your bicycle. It offers convenience and does its work quietly.

The administrative side and the content form a coherent whole. You go straight for your goal or quietly discover new knowledge and unsuspected talents. That’s instructive, exciting and fun.

How do we launch an LMS successfully?

Just like that. You type an enthusiastic e-mail, paste in the login details and click send. Everyone is enthusiastic and logs in immediately.

You already know that it doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately.

A learning campaign

You launch a new, carefully chosen LMS with a learning campaign. You prepare employees for its arrival, roll out the system and then continuously put it in the spotlight. By continuing to enthuse and stimulate employees, you keep your LMS alive.

By measuring, you will find out if a learning campaign is successful.

You measure how many employees see or read your pre-announcement; who opens the e-mail with the login details, clicks through and logs in; which route users take within the LMS, which training courses they take and whether they complete them successfully.

If you know where users drop out and where you hold their attention, you can continuously improve the LMS. That’s how you make an LMS successful.

5 tips for onboarding your learning management system

Where can I find the Selection help button?

If you want to work with an LMS, do it well. Avoid your carefully designed LMS running lifelessly on a server. Avoid disappointed employees who have no idea what to do with the LMS. And avoid spending your budget on peripheral things that don’t matter. Allow learning to be the prime focus.

Get advice from a company in which educationalists, programmers, designers, front-end developers and project leaders work closely together. An experienced company that knows what works and what doesn’t. One that can adapt the LMS to your needs, implement it in doses and helps to draw it to people’s attention and keep it alive. UP learning is just such a company.

UP removes barriers, makes learning management easy and learning fun. At UP, we find out what you need. Both in terms of the LMS and support. If you need an LMS, we offer you choices and the knowledge to make a choice you won’t regret. Does a refined version of Moodle fit, is Totara a better fit or does imc deliver the desired added value? UP learning advises, creates and launches. You choose.