Before we dive into content, systems integration and testing, let’s review some of the first steps of implementation so far. If you recall our last post, we talked about planning and organization - hopefully you’ve had a chance to think about that a little further. You might already know what organizational roles you will create for the LMS and what types of permissions each role will have. You can tweak these along the way but it’s best to plan it ahead. Along with roles and permissions, you may have already thought about what type of data and information you will need to track and how reporting should work.
At this point in the process, you may be seeing a trend – and if it isn’t already your “go to move”, you’ll soon agree that successful implementation of an LMS is all about understanding your processes well enough to design your systems in advance. If you feel like you’re missing some detail here, take time to meet with the stakeholders for each process, and map it out.
In order for your LMS (and system design) to be effective, you’ll need two key things – content and users. Creating users is usually easy, but assigning roles and permissions at the same time, and doing it in one upload-file requires some planning. Lean on your LMS implementation expert for how to best do this. Once you have created the users, you’ll import these users into the LMS and test to make sure that the import process worked. Spot check a few groups of people, comparing group lists in your LMS to a group in the upload file. If you have more than 100 users, you’ll probably want to make sure you have single-sign-on set up, to save any manual importing/exporting of users.
Testing Before Go-Live
Once you’re confident about your users set up, test to see if the users can interact with the content as intended. This means you’ll need to have some content created. Luckily, your helpful sales person or implementation specialist should be there to guide you every step of the way and they can even provide some test content if you need it. Assign some volunteers to put the LMS through its paces!
Naming Conventions for Content
This next piece of implementation is one you’ll want to give proper attention to avoid extreme future frustration. The types of content (learning objects) that you will be sharing with your company can sometimes vary greatly. Content can include courses, quizzes, videos, pictures, checklists, etc., and each of those needs to be named. Can you imagine the poor LMS admin trying to find a quiz that needs to be updated and searching through a list where everything is called courseXYZ, with little indication of what’s actually inside? They’d struggle to find much. When developing your naming structure here are some things to keep in mind:
- Does your company have required and/or voluntary training?
- Does your company offer training that only applies to certain groups such as New Hires and mandatory HR training?
- Does your company segment training by department or role?
These are just a few things to think about when creating naming conventions. It is much easier to hash this out now than to decide a year from now when your LMS has hundreds, if not thousands of pieces of content and someone has to go in and change all the names. I’ve been there and done that…not fun! So, how do you name the content? Your implementation specialist can share some best practices with you or you can create a simple structure that works for you. One that has worked for me looks something like this: Course Code_Course Number_CourseName_CourseType. Here’s what that looks like: NH_101_Welcome to the Company_ILT.
Let’s break it down:
- NH – course code for New Hire Training
- 101 – Assigned course number – 100 level courses are for newer folks or new in role higher numbers may be advanced skills or management only
- Welcome to the Company – that’s the actual course title
- ILT – you may want to separate courses that are instructor lead, blended, or entirely online
Creating your naming conventions will help you build out your course catalog and determine how courses are distributed and who has access. Don’t forget to create a naming structure for your activities, too. The key is consistency. That will make it easier for everyone involved in the backend of the LMS operation and takes the stress away when trainers or managers need to assign training to their team members, too. Once you have your naming system figured out the rest is easy (well perhaps for the implementation team, your course developers may have something else to say about that).
At this point, you’ll be halfway through the implementation process. Even if you aren’t quite ready to implement a new LMS, the exercise can help you find possible gaps in your current system and prepare you for the next step in your journey.
Next up we’ll talk about the remaining parts of implementation, special requests and requirements, customizations, and reporting.