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Learn to Love Your LMS

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

You sit at your desk contemplating the news that your company wants to move to a new learning management system. As you begin to consider the scope of this project, you wonder where to start.

Every LMS has its pros and cons. The key is to do your best to avoid buyer’s remorse. Organizations can do this by creating user personas, evaluating their learning environment, and hiring the right person to manage their learning technology.

Sounds simple, right? But things can go astray during the Request For Proposals (RFP) process. Indeed, conducting an RFP can be an intimidating prospect. For some, the terminology may be confusing, the features listed may seem miles beyond where the organization needs to be, or everything seems to be a critical must-have.

You don't want to become distracted by features that do not fit your organization or ones better solutioned outside of an LMS. In fact, in my experience, your end goal is to be using 60-70 percent of all LMS features from the start, and even have room to grow into the remaining elements.


Case in point: a mobile app for an LMS is a feature that your organization may not be ready to put in place right at launch. However, when you offer leadership mobile as an option, they jump on it because there is a lot of hype at the moment. (In their defense, they understand the pressure to grow and retain employees, and that technology plays an ever-growing part in talent retention.)

Before you mark mobile a must-have feature, take a step back and remember your goal of using at least 60 percent of what you purchase in an LMS during year one. Consequently, you should first develop your organization's user personas and conduct a learning environment evaluation.

Let’s use a retail environment as an example. First, you determine that the primary user persona is a frontline hourly customer-facing employee. Next, you evaluate your learning environment by asking such questions as:

  • Do you want employees on phones or tablets on the floor?
  • If you do, is there Wi-Fi available for them to connect to network resources?
  • Will employees use their personal device or will the company provide devices for them?
  • If a company-provided device, have you planned and assessed for user accountability and shrink?
  • If an employee’s personal device, do you need to have a policy for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and cybersecurity?

As you can see, choosing an LMS isn’t a simple decision. Unfortunately, many organizations rush into purchasing and fail to consider the cultural and compliance dependencies that an LMS can create. Ultimately, they end up hating their LMS. Don’t be one of those companies.

Are you looking for resources on how to choose the best LMS for your company? Join me at ATD TechKnowledge 2018 for the session: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the LMS, which is part of the Platforms and Tools track. You will receive a free copy of the Love Your LMS Toolkit, which includes a learning environment evaluation template.

About the Author
Tracie Marie Cantu is owner of Combs Cantu Group and an HRIS trainer and administrator for Whole Foods Market. Her focus for the last 15 years has been on technical training in regards to software as a service (SAS) and risk management. She previously worked in the commercial aviation industry, as well as risk management and insurance. Her training guilty pleasures are generational training, the evolution of the workplace, and knowledge management.
1 Comment
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Great article! It's hard to see so many struggle with buyer's remorse when it comes to their LMS. Taking the time to develop personas and 'day (month, quarter, and year) in the life' scripts for those personas can help organizations select an LMS they'll love way after the honeymoon.
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