Talent Management

Your Learning Management Platform: Optimize Your Existing System or Invest in a New LMS

making the decision to invest in lms

Jonathan Heath

Jonathan Heath is a Sales Manager at Educe focused on building relationships with organizations implementing the Cornerstone or Saba…

Have you been thinking about replacing your current Learning Management Platform?

When talent management software is no longer meeting the needs of a business, replacement is often the first thought. However, it is prudent to examine how you are using your current system and what you hope to gain by making a switch, before determining if a new learning management system is your best option.

In this post, we’ll discuss the factors to consider to help you make the right decision for your business.

 

SIGNS YOU SHOULD OPTIMIZE YOUR EXISTING LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

1. You Don’t Have a Clearly Articulated Learning & Development Strategy
A learning and development strategy provides a baseline to evaluate the progress of your L&D efforts. It should:

  • Set out the workforce capabilities, skills, and competencies needed by your organization
  • Be aligned to your overall organizational and people strategies
  • Define how learning should be delivered to meet the goals of the strategy, (e.g., themes of personalization, mobile-friendly, and modes of learning – online vs in-person)

Define your strategy and the outcomes you would like to achieve as an L&D organization first. Then focus on how technology can support your efforts. You may find that with a few tweaks, your existing system is sufficient.

2. Your Existing System Was Launched and Never Invested in Again
Launching a new LMS without change management, governance, and an adoption plan is all too common. If your organization has never invested in improving the adoption of the current platform, here are three key questions to think about:

  • Have you aligned your current business processes to the latest features of the platform?
    Businesses change continuously, which means that your processes today may be very different from what they were when the platform was implemented. Healthy platforms release new features and enhancements regularly. Reviewing releases and evaluating new features ensures that you are getting the most from the platform and enabling your changing business needs.
  • Are you operating a streamlined and modern user experience?
    Your learners may be struggling to navigate your existing learning management platform because the interface hasn’t been tailored. You may be able to eliminate many issues, such as finding content and not knowing what actions to take, by investing in user experience improvements.
  • Does your system administration team have the time and resources to continuously improve the platform AND execute important initiatives for the business?
    Regardless of whether you use an internal team or external consultants, the capacity to deliver new initiatives through the platform, on top of effectively managing day-to-day administration and continuous improvement, is essential. Without this capacity, you will likely see increasing frustration of both the business and administration teams. This is a very common issue and often interpreted as a system issue rather than an organizational issue.

3. You’ve Never Audited Your Content

Is your content engaging your learners? Content is the fuel for your Learning Management Platform. If you uploaded content during implementation and have forgotten about it, it is likely not engaging your learners properly. Likewise, your content may be hard to find if your catalogue is curated. Engage with your learning content providers about the latest trends and topics available that are aligned to your L&D strategy. And ensure you are helping learners navigate to the right content based on their role, skills, and interests by using the most up-to-date features in your system.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you should consider optimizing your existing system before embarking on a new Learning Management Platform implementation. These issues won’t disappear with a new system. At best, you will be in the same position you are now shortly after your new system launches. However, if you’ve done the activities listed above and are still finding that your current system leaves more to be desired, you may be better served investing in a new Learning Management Platform.

 

SIGNS YOU SHOULD INVEST IN A NEW LEARNING MANAGEMENT PLATFORM

The decision to replace a key system like a Learning Management Platform should not be taken lightly. It can be costly and disruptive to normal operations. However, it is a legitimate strategy when the following are true:

  • Your platform cannot deliver your Learning Strategy outcomes
  • Adoption and usage by users are low despite changes and improvements such as aligning and simplifying business processes configured in the system and improving user experience to help your users find what they need
  • You cannot present the right content to your users, even after updating and curating your catalogue due to system constraints or limitations

In addition, modern Learning Management Systems offer key features essential to successfully delivering Learning outcomes such as:

  • Mobile-first and mobile responsive: The ability for learners to consume content on any device at any time.
  • Personalization: Admins’ ability to personalize the content and experience for learners based on skills, interests, and aspirations.
  • Reporting and Analytics: The significant amount of data available through Learning Management Platforms can drive business insights and actions.
  • Integration: Learning solutions exist within an ecosystem and integrate to share information, extend processes, and simplify processes across systems.
  • User Experience (UX): Configurable admin and user experiences allow prioritization of focus and improve efficiencies and effectiveness of the platform.

Now that you’ve determined investing in a new Learning Management Platform is the correct strategy for your organization, what do you do next? Follow the checklist below:

  • Document what is not working with your current platform and why. This will help you articulate requirements and priorities.
  • Update your L&D strategy and link your requirements to it. This will ensure that you are clear on what it is you need versus what you think you need.
  • Determine your budget. Consider your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) budget for monthly/annual license costs, content, and annual platform investment costs (user experience and configuration updates). Other costs to consider in your TCO equation include:
    • Procurement and Legal process time
    • Implementation costs: Depending on the LMS product you select, you most likely will need to hire a third-party implementation partner.
    • Training: The new system will require admin and user training before, during, or after implementation.
    • Change Management: Critical to ensuring adoption, having a proper change management plan in place cannot be understated. Developing this plan may require external consulting support.
    • Recruitment: If you don’t have the skills internally to manage your new system, you may need to recruit new employees to administer your platform. Outsourcing this role is another option.
  • Define your migration strategy by identifying the data you are going to move to the new platform, how easy it is to export from your existing solution, and what data you are going to archive for compliance purposes.
  • Develop a Change Management Plan to map the journey of switching to a new system. Transitioning to a new system is disruptive so think through each step with your stakeholders both inside and outside of L&D.

Whether you ultimately decide to optimize your existing system or implement a new Learning Management platform, taking the time to evaluate both options will increase the likelihood that you end up solving your challenges and delivering the successful outcomes of your learning strategy.

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