Launching Your New LMS: 6 Steps for a Successful Rollout
There’s more to consider than just the software when it comes to launching a new learning management system (LMS). In fact, the implementation process is one of the most important aspects of a successful LMS project–and one that association leaders often overlook.
Your LMS project can quickly go off the rails if it isn’t adequately planned and executed. According to the Project Management Institute, 30% of projects fail to achieve their original goals, and almost 40% exceed their budget. Neither of these is a category you want your association to fall into!
So, how can you ensure your LMS project is set up for success? With the right project management approach, you can avoid common pitfalls and launch your LMS with minimal disruption.
Without further ado, here are 6 simple steps to help you get started:
1. Establish Your Goals and Objectives
Before you even start looking at LMS software, it’s essential to take a step back and define your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve with your new LMS? How will it benefit your association and its members? Answering these questions will help you choose the right software and set realistic expectations.
Make a list of your objectives and turn them into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. Once you’ve decided on your objectives, you can map a timeline to reach your targets. Make sure to use an iterative, Agile approach; as your project progresses, you may need to adjust your goals and objectives.
2. Choose Your Vendor
Not all LMS vendors are created equal! When evaluating potential providers, it’s important to consider more than just the software itself. You’ll also want to look at the vendor’s reputation, customer service performance history, and implementation process. Make sure you choose a vendor that’s a good fit your organization and has a proven track record you can verify with their existing clients.
As you research different vendors, it’s important to make sure that they specialize in learning management systems for associations. University and corporate learning management systems are not a good fit for associations because they do not include built-in e-commerce functionality and they’re not designed to be compliant with continuing education regulations.
3. Promote Your New LMS Early and Often
When you’re launching your new LMS, make sure to give your members a heads up! Educate them on the benefits of the new learning management system, how easy it will be to use, and how technical support will be readily available. Then, continue promoting your platform even after launch to ensure that your members (and the public) know about it.
There are a few cost-effective marketing and promotion tools that can help your association do more with less.
Jasper AI (Artificial Intelligence Marketing): Jasper is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) writing assistant that can generate an array of different works, including persuasive blog posts, marketing emails, landing pages, and more! If you find yourself having trouble coming up with advertising copy, you may find Jasper a great help. You can find Jasper AI here.
Canva for Nonprofits: Canva is a website that hosts graphic design templates that can be tailored to fit your association’s needs. If you tend to require a plethora of custom graphics, check it out! You can find Canva for Nonprofits here.
4. Test, Test, Test!
You want to make sure everything functions properly on your new system. Run through each course several times, checking as many different variables as possible. You want to find all the bugs you can before you launch. Whatever you can think of, test it! Quality assurance is a vital step in the process, so give it the attention it deserves.
5. Train (and Test—Again)
Your vendor should teach your staff how to use the new system. This will act as an internal soft launch for the platform, where your staff can experiment with the LMS.
This step also doubles as another round of testing, so make sure to listen to any feedback your staff offers during this time; try to incorporate it before going live.
6. Launch! (and Provide Ongoing Support)
After testing the LMS and training your staff, it is time to launch your new LMS officially–but the work doesn’t end here! You (or your vendor) will need to provide ongoing support for your LMS. This may include providing technical support for your members and staff, uploading new courses, and preventing cyberattacks from hackers.
Technology is constantly changing, and your LMS will need to change with it. LMS vendors typically offer a subscription model (software as a service, or “SAAS”) that includes regular updates. Make sure to understand the terms of your agreement so you can budget for LMS support on an ongoing basis.
Launching your new LMS can seem like a daunting task, but by following these 6 simple steps, you’ll be able to avoid common pitfalls and ensure a successful launch. Keep in mind that proper planning and execution are key, so make sure to allocate the necessary time and resources upfront.
With careful preparation and a focus on detail, you’ll be able to confidently launch your new LMS and reap the benefits in no time!