Starting with Your Learning Management System

learning management system

You manage a training function and you have decided to utilize a learning management system (LMS). Great choice. Now you need to figure out where to start. Regardless of whether you are using a home-grown system made in Excel or a database, or if you are using a commercial program, the initial steps are straight forward. Thinking through those steps should help you better understand the value of the LMS. A recommended approach might be:

  • If you are using a commercial program, review the entire program and decide which features you will use at first, and which you will hold off on. This is critical because the task of populating an LMS is daunting. Start with priority. Make sure each feature you target has an owner.
  • An obvious first step is to get all company employees entered. No short cuts here. If at all possible, get the list tied to your payroll system to keep the process of updating the list easy.
  • My favorite next step is to add in all available courses. Start by reviewing old training tapes and web programs. Look for the programs you offer in house. Don’t forget job aids. It is likely you will surprise yourself with the number of programs available. Make sure you are careful in noting which programs require re-certification.
  • If at all possible, enter detail as to wages and training costs. You want to build as accurate picture as possible as to the cost of training. Senior management should know how much a training event costs inclusive of salary. Too often this step is ignored, as well intentioned training managers don’t want managers to see how expensive training is. My view is different. I think senior managers should see this so they provide the appropriate attention and resource to the training department to assure programs are excellent. The challenge is to make sure that training costs are accompanies by a description of benefit and an ROI calculation.
  • Have a manager review his or her team, and assign training programs to that person. Start with the managers who most support the LMS.
  • Once the system is up and running, review it with all parties who will access it. Get their buy in, and set a plan for stage 2.

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