Did you just purchase a learning management system (LMS)? Congrats. Your customers, employees and partners will thank you. But making room in the budget for an LMS is only the beginning.
Now that you’ve bought the technology, what are the next steps? For newer teams without a ton — or any — experience, figuring out where to dedicate initial resources can be challenging. In reality, starting your journey anywhere is a good start, but you’ll find the most straightforward path to success if you start with goal setting, team building and content creation.
Set Your Goals/KPIsBy this point, I’m sure you’ve already thought about the overriding goal of your LMS. Maybe it’s to decrease time-to-value or improve your channel partner training. It could be about bringing your Sales, Marketing and Services team together via an LMS and CRM integration, too.
But now that you’ve bought an LMS and are gearing up for implementation, it’s time to dive a layer deeper by setting specific goals, commonly referred to as key performance indicators or KPIs. Once your LMS is off the ground, these KPIs will gauge the efficacy of the technology while also providing you with proof points to maintain leadership buy-in.
When setting your initial KPIs, narrow your focus as much as possible (i.e., don’t get crazy and set a ton of goals that attempt to solve multiple problems). For the foreseeable future, your best bet is to identify one challenge and solve that. So, if you’re looking to improve your onboarding process, time-to-value would be a good KPI. If you’re working on an LMS and CRM integration, inbound leads will make sense. You can always switch up your success proxies down the road, but at the onset, when you’re likely strapped for resources, focusing all of your time and energy on a singular goal will maximize your resources and give you (and the LMS) the best chance to succeed.
Appoint a LeaderThe Marketing team has a Chief Marketing Officer or Director of Marketing. The Sales team has a Chief Revenue Officer or Director of Sales. But what about an L&D team? Who’s supposed to lead that team?
Just like your LMS and online learning initiative should look to solve one business challenge (i.e., onboarding time and inbound leads), you should appoint just one person to steer the ship. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t build out a cross-functional team with people from different departments, but the old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” certainly applies here. Too many people grabbing for the ship’s wheel will cause some problems.
So, who should take the lead?
Ideally, the leader should be tied directly to the KPIs. Said another way, if the LMS’ goal is to decrease time-to-value, it’d be best for someone on the Customer Success or Implementation team to take charge. If you’re using the LMS to increase inbound leads, it’d be someone from the Sales team. Of course, this is far from a requirement; it’s merely a way to ensure the person leading the charge is wholly committed to the success of the LMS since its success directly impacts that of their team. That said, anyone passionate about online learning will do the trick.
Create Your ContentEvery step before, during and after implementation is essential, but it’s hard to argue against the idea that content creation doesn’t stand alone at the top. I mean, without content, even the most advanced LMSs will be essentially useless. To that end, creating content must be one of the first things you do.
When you’re ready to do this, you’ll likely find yourself in one of three boats:
1. You have plenty of content available.
2. You have content available, but it’s not optimized for an LMS.
3. You have nothing. Nada. Nilch.
If you fall into the first boat, this step will be a breeze. All you really need to do is import the content into your LMS and hit publish. TADA!
If you’re in the second boat, you have a little more work to do insofar as you’ll have to get existing content — often from traditional knowledge bases — ready for the LMS and the demands of online learning. This will likely mean investing in microlearning (i.e., breaking up longer-form content into bite-sized chunks), creating videos and bringing visuals to the forefront. Working with an instructional designer (if available) will be incredibly helpful here.
If you’re starting from scratch, you have some work to do, but don’t let that stop you. If you’re strapped for resources or feel like you have a mountain to climb, identify a few “gains” you can make right now and invest in those. Ask other internal teams if they have resources you could borrow. Write one blog post or create one thirty-second video. Do anything to get the ball rolling. Getting one or two pieces of content live is far more beneficial than pushing the launch back until you create everything you think you need.
Starting Off on the Right Foot With Your LMS
Buying an LMS and launching an online learning initiative is incredibly exciting and will serve you well as the world continues to transition into a world in which customers, employees and channel partners put a premium on online learning. Despite the excitement, however, diving into an LMS can seem overwhelming as you attempt to come to terms with everything you have to do to make it successful. I get it. While any start is a good one, if you’re looking to get off on solid ground, focus your sights at the beginning of your journey on KPIs, your team and content creation. From there, it’ll be smooth sailing.