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Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Promote a culture of continuous learning with corporate learning management systems.

  • Organizations with departmentalized and siloed learning management systems have little visibility into the breadth and effectiveness of their training programs.
  • Administering, tracking, and reporting training are often conducted manually, creating a cumbersome process for HR.
  • In most cases, organizations treat their learning management systems as just another point solution in their HR landscape and fail to integrate learning into the talent lifecycle.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Right-size your LMS solution. Avoid under-investing or overbuying from the start. LMSs come in all shapes and sizes; don’t buy functions you don’t need. Identify your LMS use case from the start to focus your strategy and filter your needs.
  • A disjointed and departmentalized approach to learning will inevitably fail. Ensure your LMS strategy is holistic through the necessary convergence of people, process, technology, and content.

Impact and Result

  • Take a step back and create a business model that considers the learning needs of HR, IT, and the business. Strive for a holistic strategy and avoid compartmentalized efforts.
  • Understand your use case. Identify your organization’s goals and L&D objectives to choose the LMS use case that is most aligned with your learning needs.
  • Identify your solution alternatives across people, processes, technology, and content. Create a comprehensive roadmap, prioritizing initiatives and identifying dependencies.
  • Devise a plan for implementation. Effectively communicate changes and put mechanisms in place to ensure effective LMS governance.

Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should create an LMS strategy, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Visualize the project

Understand your current learning challenges as well as benefits and opportunities for LMS, then align your corporate objectives and L&D objectives with your LMS strategy.

2. Right-size the solution

Assess the current state and choose appropriate solutions across the four pillars of learning: content, people, technology, and process.

3. Finalize the strategy

Prioritize initiatives, create an actionable roadmap, and appropriately govern to the strategy.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

8.5/10


Overall Impact

$7,559


Average $ Saved

4


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

National Restaurant Association

Guided Implementation

8/10

N/A

N/A

GSW Manufacturing

Guided Implementation

9/10

$7,559

4

Apex Companies LLC

Guided Implementation

9/10

$21,699

2

Propel Insurance

Guided Implementation

9/10

$100K

20

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety | Centre canadien d'hygiиne et de sйcuritй au travail

Guided Implementation

7/10

N/A

N/A

Maxim Healthcare Services

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

Yolo County

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

32

Export Development Canada

Workshop

8/10

N/A

1

Ansa McAl

Guided Implementation

8/10

$12,733

47

PSSI

Guided Implementation

10/10

$31,833

14

CNX

Guided Implementation

7/10

$12,733

10

Segal

Guided Implementation

8/10

N/A

10


Workshop: Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Visualize the Project

The Purpose

  • Understand the importance of creating an LMS strategy before selecting a software solution.
  • Develop an LMS business model that identifies the drivers for LMS, as well as the project barriers and enablers.
  • Complete a project charter to gain buy-in, build a project team, and track project success.  

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A go/no-go decision on the project appropriateness
  • An understanding of the different project drivers
  • Project stakeholders identified
  • Project team created with defined roles and responsibilities
  • Finalized project charter to gain buy-in 

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Identify LMS needs, barriers, and enablers.

  • Completed LMS business model
1.2

Align organizational goals and L&D goals with LMS objectives.

  • Strategy alignment between HR and the business
1.3

Decide on your LMS use case.

  • LMS use cases
1.4

Identify the right stakeholders for your project team.

  • Defined project roles and responsibilities

Module 2: Right-Size the Solution

The Purpose

  • Understand your current learning environment.
  • Elicit requirements from HR, IT, and the business.
  • Effectively assess solution alternatives to create a right-sized solution. 

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Requirements to strengthen the business case and inform the LMS strategy
  • A right-sized solution  

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Take inventory of learning applications and their purpose.

  • Learning application inventory
2.2

Map the current LMS process.

  • Current-state process map
2.3

Conduct a learning content inventory audit.

  • Learning content inventory
2.4

Elicit requirements from learners, administrators, the L&D team, and management.

  • High-level LMS requirements
2.5

Create an LMS content strategy.

  • A content strategy
2.6

Analyze the results from the LMS Learner Survey.

  • Specific end-user needs and requirements
2.7

Determine KPIs and guiding principles for your LMS solution.

  • LMS KPIs and guiding principles
2.8

Determine LMS integration points.

  • LMS integration map

Module 3: Finalize the Strategy

The Purpose

  • Brainstorm and prioritize short-term and long-term LMS tasks.
  • Apply the appropriate amount of governance to the LMS strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • LMS next steps
  • LMS governance considerations 

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Brainstorm solution initiatives, prioritize initiatives, and identify dependencies.

  • Completed LMS roadmap
3.2

Create a communication plan to promote transparency.

  • Completed communication plan
3.3

Build a governance plan to ensure the necessary controls are in place prior to strategy execution.

  • Governance plan

Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Build an LMS strategy based on corporate objectives and L&D goals by considering the four pillars: content, people, process, and technology.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

Not sure where to start? Take a multidisciplinary approach to LMS.

"We are seeing a fundamental shift in learning and development. Organizations are recognizing the value of L&D, and now more than ever are focusing on employee learning and engagement. This is transforming learning from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have.’ As a result, organizations are embracing technology as a way to achieve corporate and L&D objectives.

The use cases for LMS are evolving. No longer is LMS just a replacement for manual training tracking, but it is a key element of engaging employees in learning. Organizations that are seeing success with LMS are embracing a more unified approach to learn as an organization as well as individually. Integrate LMS with other technology to drive valuable insights and get ahead of the talent war.

A multidisciplinary approach is the answer. Jumpstart your LMS project now by creating a sound strategy infused with best practices."

Jenna Schroeder,

Research Manager, Enterprise Applications

Info-Tech Research Group

Framing the project

This Research Is Designed For:

  • IT and application managers that are tasked with supporting the business through the creation of an LMS strategy.
  • Human resources professionals, training and development specialists, and organizational development specialists responsible for learning mechanism design and delivery.

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • Organizations looking to develop an LMS strategy to achieve organizational goals associated with learning and development.

This Research Will Help You:

  • Make the business case for assessing the appropriateness of an LMS solution.
  • Audit the inventory of learning and estimate the current learning costs.
  • Create a business model to identify project barriers and enablers, as well as HR and IT objectives.
  • Evaluate solution alternatives in regards to people, process, technology, and content.

This Research Will Help Them:

  • Create a common LMS understanding between IT, HR, and business stakeholders.
  • Offer guidance on how to translate learning and development needs into LMS technology requirements.

Executive Summary

Situation

  • Application managers and HR professionals are tasked with leveraging a learning management solution to foster a learning culture at their organization. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, the need for more effective and flexible learning and development has become more significant. In the 2015 Mclean & Company Trends Survey, organizations ranked learning and development their number one priority.

Complication

  • Organizations often have difficulty with increasing internal course participation, measuring training effectiveness, and increasing training accessibility. Processes are often manual, resulting in wasted time, resources, and a lack of traceability and visibility between departments.

Resolution

  • A strong learning and development strategy that leverages a learning management solution will increase L&D efficiencies, develop in-house talent, thus providing a competitive advantage to organizations in today’s talent war.
  • Take a step back and create a business model that considers the learning needs of HR, IT, and the business. Strive for a holistic strategy and avoid compartmentalized efforts.
  • Understand your use case. Identify your organization’s goals and L&D objectives to choose the LMS use case that is most aligned with your learning needs.
  • Identify your solution alternatives across people, processes, technology, and content. Create a comprehensive roadmap, prioritizing initiatives and identifying dependencies.
  • Devise a plan for implementation. Effectively communicate changes to and put mechanisms in place to ensure effective LMS governance.

Info-Tech Insight

1. Right-size your LMS solution. Avoid underinvesting or overbuying from the start. LMSs come in all shapes and sizes: don’t buy functions you don’t need.

2. Identify your LMS use case from the start to focus your strategy and filter your needs.

3. A disjointed and departmentalized approach to learning will inevitably fail. Ensure you have a holistic LMS strategy through the necessary convergence of people, process, technology, and content.

Reference our frequently used acronyms

LMS Learning Management System

LCMS Learning & Content Management System

LRS Learning Record Store

L&D Learning and Development

RFP Request for Proposal

SaaS Software as a Service

HRIS Human Resource Information System

Businesses must equip themselves with the tools necessary to build their human capital potential

4 million baby boomers are leaving the workforce each year. (U.S. Federal Government)

Less than half of HR leaders are confident in finding new talent to fill positions at their companies. (Financial Post)

Organizations need new strategies and better ways to develop their existing employees.

The number of organizations that see corporate training as highly important is rapidly increasing.

However...

The number of organizations that are ready to address this pertinent problem are decreasing.

(Deloitte Human Capital Report, 2015)

Increase the effectiveness of learning and development functions by investing in HR operations and infrastructure

Learning and development functions, leadership, management, and employee development, and onboarding, comprise the top three HR priorities by area. HR operations and infrastructure rank the most effective function in contributing to overall HR effectiveness.

Organizations can increase learning and development effectiveness and respond to HR priorities by implementing supporting HR systems and processes.

Top HR Priorities by Area

  1. Leadership/Management Development
  2. Employee Development
  3. Onboarding
  4. Coaching
  5. Goal Setting
  6. Performance Appraisals
  7. Engagement Strategy & Assessments
  8. Engagement Action Plans

Most Effective Functions in Driving Overall HR Effectiveness

  1. HR Operations & Infrastructure
  2. Total Compensation
  3. Employee Engagement
  4. Talent Acquisition
  5. HR Strategy
  6. Learning & Development
  7. Performance Management
  8. Talent Management

Source: Understand Top HR Trends and Priorities for 2016.

Respond to trends in learning and development to keep at pace with your competition

Organizations are recognizing the need to engage their talent and develop their next generation of leaders. Don’t fall behind. Leverage LMS to optimize your performance support and competency development functions.

#1 emerging HR trend for 2014 and 2015 was reported to be developing the next generation of leaders.

On the list of most frequently implemented HR trends of 2014 and 2015, the incorporation of e-learning into organizational learning and development ranked #1

"Management often hesitates to invest in learning because they’re worried that after employees are trained, they’ll leave. But what they don’t think of is, even worse, what if they don’t, and they stay? Today’s best CEOs are saying, ‘I’m afraid of losing talent, so I’m going to invest in them.’" – John Roberts, Learning & Development Architect, Info-Tech Research Group

Leverage L&D as a strategic HR function to deliver on organizational priorities

Even though L&D has been at the top of projected HR priorities and spending, according to McLean & Company’s HR Trends and Priorities for 2016 survey, L&D programs often fail to deliver on their intended objectives.

28% of non-HR respondents thought that their Learning & Development function was effective.

32% of HR respondents thought that their Learning & Development function was effective.

97% of organizations reported the increased efficiency of training content and increased employee performance due to LMS.

Learning & Development programs are often piecemeal and are not created in alignment with the needs of the organization. Leverage LMS to simplify workflows, increase learning accessibility, and contribute to L&D becoming a strategic function of HR.

The LMS technology market is growing as organizations, big and small, see the urgent need to streamline employee development

The Learning & Development Market

From 2014 to 2015 the learning and development market has grown by 14%.

Learning Technology Market

From 2014 to 2015 the learning technology market grew by 27%.

Source: Deloitte Human Capital Report, 2015

4 Billion Dollar Market

The image shows a diagonal line, rising from left to right, with several bumps in the middle. At the left end of the line is the year 2010, and at the right end of the line is the year 2015.

LMS Isn’t Just for Large Organizations

80% of large organizations and 30.8% of small organizations use LMS.

Large - 80.0%

Mid - 49.1%

Small - 30.8%

Source: BizLibrary

Don’t make the common mistake of procuring an LMS before creating a strategy

When embarking on an LMS project, use Info-Tech’s approach to creating an LMS strategy to address the five critical success factors below. Gain management buy-in to secure funding, define your requirements to right-size the solution, and implement control mechanisms and a governance plan.

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS

  1. Secure Executive Sponsorship
  2. Define Clear Requirements
  3. Secure a Sufficient Budget
  4. Create a Communication Plan
  5. Implement Governance Plan

Source: Capabiliti

"A lot of organizations get an LMS and think a strategy will emerge from the tool. When they do this, the LMS strategy is delinked from the broader organization’s strategy. Organizations who are using LMS really well ask, ‘how do I link the LMS strategy to the broader objectives of the organization?’ Think about your people. Think about the learning value of the content. Think about your analytics strategy."

– John Roberts,

Learning & Development Architect,

Info-Tech Research Group

Act now to realize the benefits of a learning management system

SAVINGS

Eliminate the unnecessary training costs due to traveling.

Reduce in-class training hours and limit productivity loss.

Manage the cost of training by centralizing training efforts.

EFFICIENCY

Train multiple people at once.

Ensure consistent training throughout the organization.

Reduce manual work by automating the registration, deployment, and tracking of training.

INSIGHT

Pull reports on who has and who hasn’t completed training.

Track learning progress.

Tie training to performance and measure the impact.

FLEXIBILITY

Empower employees to learn when they want.

Empower employees to learn where they want.

Empower employees to learn what they want.

Create an LMS strategy that aligns with the business goals and objectives

Successful strategy creation is determined by the ability to support the business and drive tactical business objectives. Step one is to understand corporate and L&D objectives. Most organizations use LMS for one or a combination of the use cases below. Understand your learning vision to align your LMS strategy appropriately.

LMS Use Case

  • Performance
  • Knowledge
  • Compliance

Compliance Training

Regulatory, legal, or industry-standard compliance training, or certification renewal mandated by the government or organization.

Performance Support

Job-specific training intended to develop soft or hard skills, including management and leadership skills. Performance support training is intended to enhance existing competencies and develop new skills.

Knowledge Management

The sharing, distribution, and curation of knowledge throughout the organization. Centralizing organizational knowledge provides information and insight to help an organization learn as an organization rather than individually.

Take an educated approach to learning: consider content, people, process, and technology

Learning Management System Strategy
Governance
Content People Process Technology
Learning Management Objectives
Learning and Development Objectives
Corporate Objectives

Why this approach?

  1. Achievable & Realistic A strategy is critical for the creation of an achievable learning vision through technology. Info-Tech’s strategy will assist you in taking a holistic and educated approach to LMS.
  2. Right-Sized Solution Often organizations buy an LMS that is siloed and disconnected. Organizations fail to consider their long-term objectives, limiting the benefits of an LMS solution.
  3. Organizational Alignment For a successful LMS implementation, it is necessary to align LMS objectives with corporate and L&D goals. Achieve buy-in and ensure user adoption by aligning your LMS strategy with the business.

An organization built an LMS strategy on the pillars of content, people, process, and technology to save $5 million

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) manages and operates several organizations, including Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI). A large driver for the LMS project was cost reduction. The organization was experiencing pains with the current decentralized approach to learning. Accessibility and flexibility were two pertinent issues that created the need for LMS.

Solution

GTAA took a holistic approach to creating an LMS strategy by considering content, people, process, and technology. By assessing their current learning environment, GTAA identified the need to provide 24/7 self-service learning. GTAA delegated content development by department, and centralized process ownership and e-Learning design in HR. GTAA deployed an on-premise LMS that is housed and maintained within IT. To avoid duplication in record-keeping, GTAA strategically integrated the LMS with the HRIS.

Results

It is estimated that the LMS resulted in $5 million in savings, contributed to by reduced costs related to facilitator pay, travel time and cost, reduction of overtime employee pay, and productivity gained.

The Enterprise Information Management Initiative included the following components

Learning Management System Strategy
Governance
Content People Process Technology
Learning Management Objectives
Learning and Development Objectives
Corporate Objectives

Follow Info-Tech’s approach to develop your LMS strategy

Create the Project Vision Structure the Project Conduct a Current State Assessment Evaluate Solution Alternatives Design the LMS Roadmap Build an LMS Implementation Plan
  • Identify goals and objectives for LMS project.
  • Complete LMS business model.
  • Align corporate, L&D, and LMS objectives.

Outputs

LMS Strategy Vision

  • Define project scope.
  • Define roles & responsibilities.
  • Identify risks, and create mitigation strategies.

Outputs

LMS Strategic Alignment

  • Engage different stakeholders in soliciting requirements based on business needs.

Outputs

LMS High-Level Requirements

  • Create content strategy.
  • Sketch ideal process.
  • Map desired application ecosystem.

Outputs

LMS Technology Strategy

  • Identify and prioritize roadmap initiatives.
  • Identify enabling projects.

Outputs

LMS Initiatives Roadmap

  • Create governance and communications plans.
  • Sell LMS strategy to the business.

Outputs

LMS Implementation Plan

  • Consolidate content, people, process, and technology requirements.

Outputs

Strategic Direction

  • Prepare LMS strategy presentation to gain stakeholder commitment.

Outputs

Stakeholder Presentation

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation

“Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

LMS strategy project overview

1. Visualize the Project 2. Right-Size the Solution 3. Finalize the Strategy
Best-Practice Toolkit

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

Guided Implementations
  • Establish a vision for your LMS strategy project.
  • Structure the project. Identify your project team and create a project charter.
  • Solicit LMS requirements from the right people in your organization.
  • Use your findings to provide insight into your solution.
  • Prioritize roadmap initiatives. Identify dependencies between people, process, technology, and content tasks.
  • Create a governance plan and consider strategies for communicating changes and selling the strategy to the business.
Onsite Workshop Module 1: Visualize the Project Module 2: Right-size the Solution Module 3: Finalize the Strategy

Phase 1 Outcome:

  • Project vision and strategic alignment
  • LMS business model
  • Project charter
  • Defined roles and responsibilities

Phase 2 Outcome:

  • Content, people, process, and technology requirements
  • Future solutions identified

Phase 3 Outcome:

  • Prioritized roadmap
  • Governance and communication plan
  • Stakeholder presentation

LMS strategy workshop overview

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Workshop Day 1 Workshop Day 2 Workshop Day 3 Workshop Day 4 Workshop Day 5
Activities

Pre-work

  • Distribute the LMS strategy learners survey and consolidate results
  • Create the project team
  • Identify stakeholders for requirements gathering interviews

Create the Project Vision

  • Complete the LMS business model
  • Align organizational goals and L&D goals with LMS objectives
  • Decide on your LMS use case
  • Take inventory of learning applications.
  • Map the current LMS process

Gather Requirements

  • Conduct a learning inventory audit
  • Elicit requirements from learners, administrators, the L&D team, and management

Solution Evaluation

  • Create an LMS content strategy
  • Analyze LMS Strategy Learner Survey results
  • Identify process owners and content owners
  • Determine KPIs and guiding principles
  • Determine LMS integration points

Create a Roadmap and Implementation Plan

  • Brainstorm solution initiatives
  • Prioritize initiatives and identify dependencies
  • Create a communication plan to promote transparency and manage change
  • Build a governance plan to ensure necessary controls are in place prior to strategy execution
Deliverables
  • LMS business model
  • Current state map
  • Learning application inventory
  • Learning content inventory
  • High-level LMS requirements
  • Content strategy
  • Defined process owners, KPIs, and guiding principles
  • LMS strategy roadmap
  • Communication plan
  • Governance plan
  • Stakeholder presentation

Phase 1

Visualize the Project

Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Visualize the project

Time to Completion: 1 Week

Step 1.1: Create the Project Vision

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Establish a vision for your LMS project by understanding what your organization needs and how your organization learns.

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify how your organization learns
  • Complete the LMS business model
  • Align your corporate, L&D and LMS objectives
  • Establish a starting point by translating your organizational goals into use cases

Step 1.2: Structure the Project

Review findings with analyst:

  • Create a project charter that clearly identifies the project roles and responsibilities, as well as milestones, risks, and metrics.

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify the purpose for creating an LMS strategy
  • Define the scope of the LMS strategy
  • Create the project team
  • Build a RACI chart
  • Identify the risks and create mitigation strategies

With these tools & templates:

LMS Strategy Project Nomination Template

LMS Strategy Project Charter

Phase 1 Results & Insights:

  • Turn your organizational goals and L&D objectives into appropriate use cases. Narrow down your needs to initiate a right-sized strategy.

Build a foundation for your LMS strategy

Build a solid foundation for your LMS strategy by creating a vision that aligns your corporate, L&D, and learning management objectives. Structure your project with the goal of including stakeholders that would inform each set of objectives.

Learning Management System Strategy
Governance
Content People Process Technology
Learning Management Objectives
Learning and Development Objectives
Corporate Objectives

Step 1.1: Create the LMS Project Vision

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

ACTIVITIES:

  • Identify LMS drivers and objectives
  • Explore challenges and pain points
  • Discover benefits and opportunities
  • Align the LMS objectives with both the corporate strategy and the learning & development strategy
  • Match the objectives to the LMS use cases

OUTCOMES:

  • LMS business model
  • Strategic alignment
  • LMS use case(s)

Understand how your organization currently learns to envision the art of the possible with LMS

Evaluate and respond to how your organization learns right now. Learning is embedded into your organization’s culture, which can be difficult to change. Attempting to do so and taking on too much could mean the failure of your LMS strategy.

Understand the 70:20:10 Rule Recognize the way organizations foster each type of learning
10% FORMAL LEARNING Formal, traditional methods of learning such as in-class or self-paced lectures accompanied by written or online tests.
  • In-class lecture
  • Online, asynchronous lecture
  • Online, synchronous lecture
20% INFORMAL LEARNING Social learning that occurs through peer-to-peer interaction, coaching, mentoring, and/or collaborative learning in which employees learn from interacting with others. This type of training is not traditionally evaluated or tracked, but can be supported with LMS.
  • Peer-to-peer collaboration (e.g. online platform)
  • Knowledge sharing (e.g. knowledge database)
  • Community learning (e.g. lunch & learn)
  • Mentorship/interaction with superiors
70% EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING Hands on, on-the-job learning that allows employees to learn new skills, augment existing ones, and learn from mistakes. Experiential learning is thought to be the most effective method of learning because it encourages employees to make decisions, address challenges, and interact with influential people in the workforce setting.
  • Practical, on-the-job training
  • Learn by doing
  • Learning bursts built into daily responsibilities
  • Job nature and experience
  • Decision making

Source: Training Industry

Activity: Identify how your organization learns

1.1.1 30 minutes

Input

  • N/A

Output

  • Understanding of your organization’s learning state

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

In order to create an LMS strategy, you need to understand what type of learning organization you are. Start with a high-level discussion.

  1. As a group, discuss the following:
    • Industry learning trends
    • Learning within your organization

Industry Learning Trends

  • What are the current trends around learning?
  • What do current learning trends say about your organization’s demographic?
  • How are our competitors leveraging learning trends?

Learning within Your Organization

  • How does your organization define learning?
  • How does your organization perceive the value of learning?
  • How do individuals within the organization learn? (refer to the 70:20:10 rule)
  • How do individuals within the organization value learning?

Activity: Complete the LMS business model

1.1.2 45 minutes

Input

  • Corporate objectives
  • L&D objectives
  • LMS objectives

Output

  • Organizational alignment

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project team

Instructions

With your project team, address all the factors that are impacting your LMS strategy. Take different perspectives into consideration, and look at the drivers from an HR, IT, and organizational stand point.

  1. Discuss the factors that are impacting your LMS strategy. Brainstorm the organization’s HR needs and the organizational goals, environmental factors, and technology drivers.
  2. Identify what the barriers and enablers are for the LMS strategy.
  3. Document your findings in the LMS business model template. This can be found in the LMS Strategy Stakeholder Presentation Deck.
HR Needs
Environmental Factors Barriers Organizational Goals
LMS Strategy
Enablers
Technology Drivers

Create a business model to better understand your needs, goals, and drivers

HR Needs
Accurate Reporting Automated Processes What are your business drivers? What are current learning pains?
Environmental Factors Barriers Organizational Goals
Regulations LMS Strategy Increase profit
What are the factors impacting your strategy that are out of your control? Enablers Strive for operational efficiency
Technology Drivers
Why do you need a new system? What is the purpose for becoming an integrated organization? Cloud capabilities Obsolete system Additional functionality

Identify your corporate learning objectives before jumping into an LMS strategy

Make sure you have a corporate L&D strategy in place before you embark on creating an LMS strategy. Take the time to understand the organization’s L&D goals to ensure the two strategies are aligned to deliver on organizational goals.

If your organization does not have an L&D strategy, refer to McLean & Company’s blueprints* on L&D before taking on this project.

  • By failing to do so, you might risk overspending, misaligned strategies, and wasted time.

To effectively inform your LMS strategy, your L&D strategy should:

  • Be aligned with organizational strategic imperatives
  • Have support from the executive team
  • Identify key learning use cases
  • Reflect organizational learning and development objectives and maturity

Additional Opportunity

Refer to McLean & Company’s Formalize a Learning & Development Strategy blueprint to ensure your L&D activities are providing value and delivering on organizational goals.*

LMS Can Contribute to Achieving these Common Learning & Development Goals

Achieve Customer Service Excellence

  • Equip your workforce by developing their competencies in product knowledge and customer care to drive an unbeatable customer experience.

Increase Knowledge Transfer

  • Learn as an organization by creating a learning environment in which employees are motivated and able to share best practices and lessons learnt.

Reduce Workplace Incidents

  • Ensure employees are completing regulatory health and safety training to create an educated workforce that can contribute to creating and maintaining a safe work environment.

*If you do not have a membership to McLean & Company research, speak to your account rep to learn more.

Identify the organizational goals and objectives that an LMS strategy can support

Profitability

  • Increase Operating Profit: Achieve an operating profit of $10 million by January of next year.

Product Differentiation

  • Product Improvement: Improve our existing product by deploying two new major features by January 2015.
  • New Product Development: Launch x product by January of next year.

Risk Mitigation

  • External Compliance: Ensure that our organization is compliant with 100% of major regulations that pertain to our business by January of next year.

Cost Reduction

  • Decrease Total Cost: Reduce total costs by 5% by January 2015.
  • Decrease Specific Costs: Reduce costs of x business unit by 10% by January of next year.

Superior Operations

  • Increase Productivity: Increase productivity of manufacturing facilities by 10% by January of next year.
  • Improve Quality Control: Decrease defect rate to 0.1% by January of next year.

Revenue Generation

  • Increase Avg. Customer Value: Increase spend per customer by 10% by January of next year.
  • Increase Market Share: Increase share of Canadian telecom market to 9% by January of next year.

"Make sure the LMS project is aligned with corporate goals. One of our corporate objectives was cost reduction. By coming together with the marketing department, we were able to implement one LMS for both our internal and external customers. We estimate that this will result in $300,000 of cost savings." – Lynn DiBonaventura, Director, Global Talent Development, Teleflex Medical

Align your corporate, L&D, and LMS objectives

LMS strategy must be aligned with corporate and L&D objectives in order to succeed. In order to sell the benefits of an LMS strategy to the business, it is critical to demonstrate how LMS can support high-level objectives.

CORPORATE OBJECTIVES L&D OBJECTIVES LMS STRATEGY SUPPORTING OBJECTIVES
Increase Productivity
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Effectively foster teamwork
  • Self-service portal for real-time training
  • Provide efficient employee onboarding
Enhance Competitiveness
  • Develop untapped talent
  • Engage employees in learning
  • Deliver competency development curriculum
  • Build database of engaging and in-demand training
Better Business Performance Metrics
  • Draw meaningful workforce analytics
  • Integrate LMS with enterprise applications to draw insights
Reduce Costs
  • Decrease employee turnover
  • Reduce costs of learning
  • Replace expensive, traditional learning
  • Span synchronous learning across multiple geo-locations

Activity: Align your corporate, L&D, and LMS objectives

1.1.3 1 hour

Input

  • Corporate objectives
  • L&D objectives

Output

  • LMS objectives
  • Organizational alignment

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project team

Instructions

In order to create an LMS strategy that is aligned with organizational objectives; take the time to extract the right information from your corporate objectives and learning and development strategy.

  1. Use sticky notes to write down the corporate goals, L&D goals, and LMS objectives.
  2. When all participants have completed their list, have each team member place their sticky notes on the whiteboard.
  3. Review the outcomes of this activity. Are the corporate objectives aligned with the L&D objectives and LMS objectives?

"You have to assess the maturity of an organization before implementing LMS. It should all be driven by the company strategy, and it needs to be consistent with how the company is positioned in the marketplace and the culture within." – Anonymous, Commercial Real Estate Consulting Industry

Understand the three different LMS use cases

LMS Use Cases:

Where your LMS efforts will be focused varies from organization to organization. Your strategy efforts will be largely dictated by your specific learning goals and objectives.

1 2 3
Compliance Performance Support Knowledge Management
Definition Description: Compliance training is critical when there are mandatory certifications or training curriculums that need to be completed in order for employees to perform their jobs. Description: Performance support is job specific and provides training to enhance competencies and develop skills. Description: Knowledge management is a means of sharing, distributing, and curating shared knowledge or new information to the broader organization.
Benefits

LMS Compliance Benefits:

  • Helps simplify the audit process
  • Facilitates the delivery of consistent content
  • Reduces the risk of compliance fines
  • Decreases administrative efforts to track and manage compliance training

LMS Performance Benefits:

  • Engages employees
  • Promotes a continuous learning environment
  • Builds critical skills that will impact the bottom line

LMS Knowledge Management Benefits:

  • Creates a central location for information management
  • Shares information in a timely manner
  • Creates a sense of community within the organization
Examples
  • Health and safety training
  • Regulatory certifications
  • Technical learning programs
  • Professional qualifications
  • Management and leadership development
  • New policies and procedures
  • Annual company meetings
  • New product information

Activity: Establish a starting point by translating your organizational goals into use cases

1.1.4 45 minutes

Input

  • LMS objectives

Output

  • Use case
  • Prioritization of LMS objectives

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project team

Instructions

This activity requires you to use the list of LMS objectives from the previous activity.

  1. Take the list of LMS objectives and categorize each objective into one of the three use cases. If the objective does not fit into one of the use cases, create an “others” category.
  2. Once the LMS objectives have been classified, identify where your efforts should be focused.
    • What are the organization’s LMS priorities?
    • What objectives are best aligned with the corporate objectives?
LMS Objectives
Compliance Performance Support Knowledge Management

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

1.1.2 Build an LMS Business Model

An analyst will facilitate a discussion to address critical questions to identify what impacts your LMS strategy. These critical questions will take different perspectives into consideration and look at the drivers from an HR, IT, and organizational stand point.

1.1.4 Translate Your Organizational Goals into Use Cases

Through a discussion, an analyst will help you prioritize which use case(s) your LMS strategy should start with based on your organizational objectives.

Step 1.2: Structure the LMS Project

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

ACTIVITIES:

  • Identify purpose for LMS strategy
  • Define scope for LMS strategy
  • Build project team
  • Determine roles & responsibilities (RACI)
  • Identify risks and mitigation strategies
  • Evaluate project value

OUTCOMES:

  • LMS Strategy Project Nomination
  • LMS Strategy Project Charter
    • Purpose statement
    • Scope statement
    • Solidify project team roles and responsibilities
    • Risk mitigation plan

Understand the roles necessary to complete your LMS strategy

Understand the role of each player within your project structure. Look out for each within the Participants section of activities to determine who should be involved when.

Title Role within Project Structure
Project Nominator (PN)
  • Initiates the project in the form of a project nomination
  • Responsible for obtaining a project sponsor and is likely to become the PM or BL
Project Sponsor (PS)
  • Owns the project at the management/C-suite level
  • Responsible for breaking down barriers, and ensuring the project’s alignment with organizational strategy
Project Manager (PM)
  • Likely to have been the PN, and is the IT individual that will oversee day-to-day project operations
  • Responsible for preparing and managing the project plan and monitoring the project team’s progress
Business Lead (BL)
  • Works alongside the IT PM to ensure that the strategy is aligned with business needs
  • In this case, likely to be an L&D expert from HR
Steering Committee
  • Comprised of C-suite/management level individuals that act as the project’s decision makers
  • Responsible for validating goals and priorities, defining the project scope, enabling adequate resourcing, and managing change
Project Team
  • Comprised of individuals whose knowledge and skills are crucial to project success
  • Responsible for driving day-to-day activities, coordinating communication, and making process and design decisions

Info-Tech Insight

Do not limit project input or participation to the aforementioned roles. It is important to include subject matter experts and internal stakeholders at particular stages within the project. Such inputs can be solicited on a one-off basis, as needed. This ensures you are taking a well-educated approach to creating your LMS strategy.

Obtain project sponsorship and complete Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Nomination Template

1.2.1 LMS Strategy Project Nomination

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

Use the LMS Strategy Project Nomination Template to document your project intentions and obtain management buy-in in the form of a project sponsor. If your organization has a method of doing so already, document your project efforts in the LMS Strategy Project Charter Template.

Review the deliverable with your intended project sponsor to agree upon the project’s need, purpose, benefits, costs, and preliminary high-level scope.

Sections of the document:

  1. Obtain Sponsorship
  2. Select Project Leads & Steering Committee Members

Info-Tech Insight

The #1 determinant of project success is management buy-in. Achieve project sponsorship upfront by completing the project nomination process. Ensure that management is a project enabler, not a project barrier, by aligning your LMS strategy with overall organizational objectives.

The project nominator and project sponsor can use this deliverable to inform Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter Template.

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter Template to document, communicate, and track your project plans

1.2.2 LMS Strategy Project Charter

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

Take a fluid step-by-step approach when structuring your project to ensure you are maintaining management buy-in, talking to the right people, and staying within scope.

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter Template as a project management tool to centralize the critical information regarding the objectives, staffing, timeline, and expected outcome(s) of the project. Build consciousness around project management at the beginning and throughout the project . Prior to launch, create a clear plan that outlines the essential information and project steps.

Sections of the document:

  1. List Purpose & Objectives
  2. Define the Scope
  3. Build a Cross-Functional Project Team
  4. Identify Risks and Create Appropriate Mitigation Strategies
  5. Identify Project Metrics
  6. Outline the Timeline for Your LMS Strategy
  7. Review and Approval Process

Although there isn’t an activity for Step #6, be sure to outline the timeline for your LMS strategy to set goals and expectations for your project team.

As is indicated, populate the relevant sections of your project charter as you complete activities 1.2.1–1.2.5.

Activity: Identify the purpose for creating an LMS strategy

1.2.1 30 minutes

Input

  • Sections 1.1 & 1.2 from reviewed LMS Strategy Project Nomination

Output

  • High-level objectives
  • Purpose statement
  • LMS Strategy Project Charter, sections 1.1 & 1.2.

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project sponsor
  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Steering committee

Instructions

  1. Present sections 1.1 (Purpose & Objectives) & 1.2 (Opportunities/Costs) from your reviewed LMS strategy nomination to your business lead and steering committee.
  2. Discuss, verify, and enter decided-upon high-level objectives into Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter Template (section 1.2). Your objectives should be questions such as “what are we trying to accomplish?” and “when do we need to accomplish it by?”
  3. Create a purpose statement that incorporates and links the project purpose, objectives, and desired outcomes. Input the purpose statement into Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter (section 1.1). An example purpose statement: [Organization] is creating an LMS strategy to gather high-level requirements from the business, IT, and HR, to ensure that the selection and deployment of the LMS meets the needs of the broader organization and provides the greatest return on investment.

Understand the importance of setting project expectations with a scope statement

Be sure to understand what is in scope for an LMS strategy project to prevent trying to tackle too wide of a scope and to avoid scope creep.

In Scope

Establishing the parameters of the project in a scope statement helps define expectations, and provides a baseline for the allocation of resources and the planning of work effort. Future decisions will be based on the scope statement.

Scope Creep

Well-executed requirements gathering will help you avoid expanding project parameters, drawing on your resources, and contributing to cost overruns and project delays.

Out of Scope

Out-of-scope items should also be defined to alleviate ambiguity, reduce assumptions, and further clarify expectations for stakeholders. Out-of-scope items can be placed in a backlog for later consideration.

In Scope

  • Strategy
    • High-Level Requirements
    • Strategic Direction

Out of Scope

  • Software Selection
    • Vendor Reviews
    • Vendor Selection

Activity: Define the scope of the LMS strategy

1.2.2 30 minutes

Input

  • Section 1.3 from reviewed LMS Strategy Project Nomination

Output

  • Project scope and parameters
  • LMS Strategy Project Charter, Section 2.1.

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project sponsor
  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Steering committee

Instructions

  1. Present section 1.3 from your reviewed LMS Strategy Project Nomination to prompt participants to think about what the LMS strategy is going to cover.
  2. Formulate a scope statement. Decide which processes and functions the LMS strategy will cover. Input the scope statement into Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Project Charter (section 2.1). The scope statement will be a critical reference point when conducting Info-Tech scope checks.

Ask the following questions:

  • What are the major coverage points?
  • Who will be using the system?
  • How will different users interact with the system?
  • What are the objectives that need to be addressed?
  • Where do we start?
  • Where do we draw the line?

Identify the right stakeholders to include on your project team

Consider the core team functions when composing the project team. It is essential to ensure that all relevant perspectives (e.g. HR, IT) are taken into account to create a well-aligned and holistic LMS strategy.

PROJECT TEAM FUNCTIONS

  • Collecting all relevant inputs from the business
  • Gathering high-level requirements
  • Creating a roadmap

REQUIRED SKILLS/KNOWLEDGE

IT

  • Applications/software
  • Neutral process owner

HR

  • Process/learning experts

Other

  • Training content subject matter experts
  • Department leads
  • System stakeholders

POTENTIAL MEMBERS

IT

  • Subject matter experts
  • Change management specialist
  • Enterprise applications architect

HR

  • L&D specialist(s)
  • Administrators

Other

  • Health & safety managers
  • Learners

Info-Tech Insight

There may be an inclination towards a large project team when trying to include all relevant stakeholders. Carefully limiting the size of the project team will enable effective decision making while still including functional business units like HR and Finance, as well as IT.

Activity: Create the project team

1.2.3 45 minutes

Input

  • Section 2.1 (project scope) from LMS Strategy Project Charter Template

Output

  • LMS Strategy Project Charter, Section 3.1 & 3.2.

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead

Instructions

  1. Review your scope statement as outlined in section 2.1 in the LMS Strategy Project Charter. Through a discussion, generate a complete list of key stakeholders that are needed to achieve the scope of work. Consider the example roles indicated on the chart below.
  2. Using the list previously generated, identify a candidate for each role and determine their responsibilities and expected time commitment for the LMS strategy project.
  3. Obtain approval of the project team from the project sponsor. Enter the project team into section 3.1 of the LMS Strategy Project Charter for reference.
  4. Complete section 3.2 of the LMS Strategy Project Charter to set expectations for stakeholder commitment.

Activity: Build a RACI chart

1.2.4 30 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 1.2.3.

Output

  • Individual roles and responsibilities
  • LMS Strategy Project Charter, section 3.3.

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead

The LMS strategy will require a cross-functional team within IT, HR, and other business units. Make sure the responsibilities are clearly communicated to the project sponsor.

Example:

Project Sponsor Project Manager Business Lead Steering Committee Project Team
Assess Project Value I C A R C
Structure the Project I I A R I
Conduct a Current State Assessment I I A C R
Evaluate Solution Alternatives I C A R I
Design the LMS Roadmap R R A I I
Build a Governance Plan R A R I I
Build a Governance Plan R A R I I

Assess project-associated risk by understanding common barriers and enablers

Common Internal Risk Factors

Management Support Change Management IT Readiness
Definition The degree of understanding and acceptance towards LMS systems The degree to which employees are ready to accept change and the organization is ready to manage it The degree to which the organization’s people and processes are prepared for a new learning system or process
Assessment Questions
  • Is an LMS project recognized as a top priority?
  • Will management commit time to the project?
  • Are employees resistant to change?
  • Are employees given time to engage in learning?
  • Does the LMS strategy fit the current learning culture?
  • Who are the process and content owners?
  • Is there strong technical expertise?
  • Is there strong infrastructure?
  • What are the important integration points throughout the business?
Risk
  • Low management buy-in
  • Lack of funding
  • Lack of resources
  • Low employee motivation
  • Lack of ownership
  • Disconnected/incomplete content
  • Poor implementation
  • Reliance on consultants

Activity: Identify the risks and create mitigation strategies

1.2.5 45 minutes

Input

  • LMS Strategy Project Nomination, section 1.2.3

Output

  • Risk mitigation strategy
  • LMS Strategy Project Charter, section 4.1

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

  1. Create a list of possible risks that may impede the progress of your LMS project.
  2. Classify risks as strategy based (related to planning) or systems based (related to technology).
  3. Brainstorm mitigation strategies to overcome each risk.
  4. On a scale of 1 to 3, determine the impact of each risk on project success.
  5. On a scale of 1 to 3, determine the likelihood of each risk occurring.
  6. Document your findings in section 4.1 in the LMS Strategy Project Charter. See the table below for an example.

Likelihood

1 - High/Needs Focus

2 - Can Be Mitigated

3 - Unlikely

Impact

1 - High Risk

2 - Moderate Risk

3 - Minimal Risk

Risk Impact Likelihood Mitigation Effort
Project over budget
  • Detailed project plan
  • Pricing guarantees
Integration with additional systems
  • Develop integration plan and begin testing integration methods early in the project

Running Case Study: GTAA envisions cost savings and flexible learning for internal and external customers

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

The Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) manages and operates several organizations, including Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Fire & Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

With 1,104 direct employees, and over 40,000 other employees within GTAA communities, training initiatives were costly and inflexible. Most learning initiatives were conducted in-class during standard business hours, which was often outside of employee shifts, leading to disgruntled employees and high overtime costs.

Action

GTAA identified the need to increase organizational efficiencies for employee training.

The organizational vision was to reduce overall costs related to training, as well as create a flexible learning environment in which employees could learn on their own time and at their own pace.

GTAA employees were required to complete industry-regulated compliance training, as well as competency development training. In doing so, the goal was to save money and increase flexibility through automated training accessible 24/7/365.

Results

GTAA implemented a robust LMS that allows 24/7 flexibility in learning. For learning that requires in-class instruction, the LMS operates to schedule employees, thus alleviating some manual work around training.

The organization involved stakeholders from HR and IT to lead the project.

It is widely believed that the LMS resulted in significant savings. This was calculated by considering the reduction of facilitator pay, travel time and cost, overtime employee pay, and productivity gained.

Activity: Ask the right questions now and once the project is complete to determine the value of the project

1.2.6 15 minutes

Instructions

Indicate how much you agree or disagree with each of the following statements.

Question # Question Strongly disagree Somewhat disagree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat agree Strongly agree
1 I have everything I need to succeed. 1 2 3 4 5
2 The right people are involved in the project. 1 2 3 4 5
3 I understand my different LMS deployment alternatives. 1 2 3 4 5
4 My role in the project is clear to me. 1 2 3 4 5
5 I am clear about the vision for this project. 1 2 3 4 5
6 I am nervous about this project. 1 2 3 4 5
7 There is leadership support for the project. 1 2 3 4 5

Note: This activity will be revisited once the LMS strategy has been presented to stakeholders. Make sure you record and document the final score.

If we want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

1.2.2 Define the scope of the LMS strategy

An analyst will facilitate a discussion to address critical questions in order to understand your distinct business needs. These questions include: What are the major coverage points? Who will be using the system?

1.2.3 Create the project team and identify responsibilities

Through a discussion, an analyst will help you generate a complete list of key stakeholders and clearly communicate their responsibilities through a RACI matrix.

1.2.5 Identify risks and create mitigation strategies

An analyst will facilitate a discussion to uncover potential risks that may act as barriers to a successful LMS strategy. Mitigation strategies will be discussed accordingly.

Phase 2

Right-Size the Solution

Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Phase 2 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 2: Right-Size the Solution

Proposed Time to Completion: 1 Week

Step 2.1: Conduct a Current State Assessment

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Identify techniques to elicit LMS requirements from the right stakeholders in your organization.

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify the learning material that exists within your organization
  • Elicit requirements from learners, LMS administrators, management, and the L&D team
  • Sketch your current learning processes and identify gaps in functionality
  • Take inventory of your relevant IT systems
  • Determine your current cost of learning

With these tools & templates:

  • LMS Strategy Content Audit Template
  • LMS Strategy Learner Survey

Step 2.2: Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Review findings with analyst:

  • Use your findings from your current state assessment to provide insight into your people, content, technology, and process solution.

Then complete these activities…

  • Create an LMS content strategy
  • Analyze your LMS Strategy Learner Survey results
  • Identify process owners
  • Select project metrics and guiding principles
  • Evaluate learning applications (LCMS, LMS, LRS)
  • Create integration plan

With these tools & templates:

  • LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template
  • LMS Strategy Process Owner Assignment Guide

Phase 2 Results & Insights:

  • Take a well-rounded, educated approach that considers technology, people, process, and content. For consistency purposes, use this methodology throughout the project.

Take a holistic approach to requirements gathering and evaluating your solution alternatives

Build up from the foundation of your LMS strategy. Consider the four pillars of an LMS strategy when conducting requirements gathering, and driving your solution decisions: content, people, process, and technology.

Learning Management System Strategy
Governance
Content People Process Technology
Learning Management Objectives
Learning and Development Objectives
Corporate Objectives

Step 2.1: Conduct a Current State Assessment

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

ACTIVITIES:

  • Elicit requirements from learners, administrators, L&D team, and management
  • Audit current learning content
  • Map current processes
  • Take inventory of current IT systems relevant to learning efforts

OUTCOMES:

  • High-level requirements related to content, people, process, and technology
  • Strategic direction

Set the expectations for requirements gathering

Requirements gathering must be an iterative process. The purpose of the table below is to differentiate between requirements gathering at different stages of an LMS project. When gathering requirements for a strategy, the ultimate goal is to identify business and user needs.

STRATEGY SOFTWARE SELECTION
Description

The purpose of requirements gathering for a strategy is to elicit high-level information and create a business case.

In this phase of requirements gathering you must understand the way people interact with the system and participate in learning.

The purpose of requirements gathering for a software selection is to gather detailed, technical knowledge of existing HR systems.

In this phase of requirements gathering, you must establish and prioritize wants and needs for the future system.

Considerations

Thorough understanding of learners and learning processes:

  • What use cases does the system need to support?
  • What learning styles and preferences does the system need to accommodate?

Thorough understanding of technical requirements:

  • What architectural features do I need?
  • What are my mandatory requirements?
  • How do I want to prioritize my wants?
  • What are my functional requirements?
Output Strategic Direction RFP

Assess your learning environment by conducting a content audit

An LMS will be the central repository for the majority of your learning content. However, before that can happen, you must identify the learning content that already exists.

Conducting a content audit helps to understand the scope of the LMS project.

The Challenge

  1. Learning material is often scattered across the organization in numerous formats such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations.
  2. It is challenging for most organizations to locate their training material. Trainers may keep the most up-to-date copy on their personal network, drive or email.
  3. When there is no central location for training, it may lack consistency. There needs to be standard templates for training material.

Performing a Content Audit

Identifying the content that exists is a critical step in the creation of your LMS strategy. The audit will help the project team:

  1. Understand what type of content exists and where content is needed in the future
  2. Assess the efforts required to create new content
  3. Reveal how pervasive learning truly is within your organization

Cleanse Content

After conducting a content audit, take the opportunity to assess the relevance of the learning content. Identify what is out of date and what needs to be refreshed.

Refer to the appendix for content segregated by use case.

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool to document your learning content audit efforts

2.1.1 LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

The LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool will help you conduct your content audit, document your findings, and track the information.

Make sure this document is stored in a central place where it can be easily shared with other stakeholders.

Instructions

  1. Complete columns B–E. When auditing your content, specify the name, type, format, and topic. See below for an example of each specification. Use the drop-down lists provided, and/or customize the drop-down options available to you by manipulating the data in tab 3. Data Manipulation.
  2. Complete columns F–G. Determine which use case the content in question is relevant to. Specify if the learner in question is internal or external to the company. If internal, specify what job the content is pertinent to.

The project manager, business lead, and project team will use the results of this deliverable to assist in evaluating solution alternatives in Activity 2.1.1.

Activity: Identify the learning material that currently exists within your organization

2.1.1 1 hour

Input

  • Organizational learning material

Output

  • Inventory of existing content
  • Content use case
  • Learner profiles

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager

Instructions

Inventory your content to understand what exists and what you need. Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool to record your findings.

  1. Identify stakeholders within different departments that oversee training.
  2. Once stakeholders have been identified, have them complete Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool.
  3. Designate one member of the project team to own this activity. They would be responsible for contacting different stakeholders, ensuring the activity is filled out properly, and consolidating results.

The image is a screen capture of column G of the LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool, with sample information inputted.

By completing column G in the LMS Strategy Content Audit Tool, you will be effectively creating a list of learner profiles. This information will be used in Activity 2.1.2.

Info-Tech Insight

When in doubt, include everything. To get the best understanding of what your organization learns from, broaden your content audit to include anything that is used for learning in the organization. Document learning reinforcements such as health & safety posters, or any informal learning, such as knowledge sharing on an employee portal.

Identify relevant stakeholders to inform the LMS strategy

High-level business requirements must encompass various opinions and perspectives within the organization. Use the chart below to understand the different LMS stakeholders and the value they bring to the requirements gathering process.

Sponsor End User IT HR Business
Description An internal stakeholder who has final sign-off on the LMS strategy Front-line users of the LMS technology (including learners, facilitators, administrators, etc.) Back-end support staff who are tasked with maintaining and upgrading the system. Owners of HR processes who are invested in the daily operations of HR. Owners of HR processes who are invested in the daily operations of HR.
Example
  • CEO
  • CIO
  • CHRO
  • General employees
  • Managers
  • Subject matter experts
  • CIO
  • Applications manager
  • Vendor relationship manager(s)
  • CHRO
  • HR director
  • L&D team
  • CFO
  • Controller
Value

Customer buy-in and support is essential to the success of the project.

Often, the customer controls funding and resource allocation.

End users determine the success of the system through user adoption.

If the end user does not adopt the system, the system is deemed useless and benefits realization is poor.

IT is likely to be responsible for more in-depth requirements gathering.

IT possesses critical knowledge around system compatibility, integration, and data.

The workflows of HR and L&D are most affected by LMS.

The HR department feels all the pain points resulting from suboptimal systems and thus has much to gain from an LMS strategy.

Involving business stakeholders in the requirements gathering will ensure alignment between HR and organizational objectives.

Select the elicitation method that will optimize the response from each stakeholder

Consider the size and geographic distribution of your population when selecting an elicitation method.

Focus Group

  • Sessions held between a small group (typically ten individuals or fewer)
  • Requires an experienced facilitator to lead the conversation in a productive direction

Considerations

  • Highly effective for initial requirements brainstorming
  • Groupthink could spoil the reliability of respondents’ responses

Recommendations

  • Ideal for HR and IT personnel with similar pain points

Survey/Questionnaire

  • Close ended: Fixed responses for each answer
  • Open ended: Respondents are free to populate fields in their own words

Considerations

  • In a close-ended survey, a Likert scale can be used to have respondents prioritize possible requirements
  • Easy for users to complete and doesn’t require a high investment of time

Recommendations:

  • Ideal for collecting a large representation of perspectives from end users

One-on-One Interview

  • Structured: Create a list of questions to ask the stakeholder and follow up where necessary
  • Unstructured: Allow for a free-form flow to the conversation.

Considerations

  • Unstructured one-on-one interviews are effective for initial brainstorming
  • Structured interviews provide the opportunity to focus on areas of concern that were identified in earlier sessions

Recommendations:

  • Ideal for stakeholders that may impact the opinions of others in a focus group

Devise a requirements gathering strategy as appropriate to key contributors

LMS Stakeholders

Learner: The end user who will be interacting with the LMS for learning purposes

Considerations:

  • Level of engagement
  • Level of motivation
  • Learning preferences
  • Technical proficiency

Management: C-suite executives and mid-management who will leverage LMS to achieve strategic objectives

Considerations:

  • Reporting capabilities
  • Future state of applications (e.g. retirement/procurement)
  • Organizational objectives

Learning and Development Team: Team of L&D professionals in charge of content creation/ curation and defining organizational learning objectives

Considerations:

  • Use cases
  • Pain points
  • Resources & capabilities

Administrators: System owners who will benefit from LMS functions

Considerations:

  • Back-end functionality
  • Access and provisioning
  • System integration
  • Reporting and analysis

Categorize your learners to gain insights into their learning needs

When categorizing your learners, don’t limit yourself to functional roles within the organization (e.g. sales associate, sales manager, etc.). Identify unique learning profiles across the organization in order to come up with an exhaustive list of learners.

PROFILE EXAMPLES POSSIBLE LEARNING IMPLICATIONS
FUNCTIONAL LEARNER PROFILES Learning needs indicated by skills or compliance requirements needed to perform job successfully
Employee (e.g. Sales, Finance)
  • Employee may require training to develop basic skills related to functional responsibilities
Manager (e.g. Sales, Finance)
  • Manager may require training to develop leadership skills or advanced skills related to work functions
DEFINED LEARNER PROFILES Learning needs indicated by defining characteristics of the employee
The New Guy
  • New employees within the organization may need company and department onboarding
The High Potential
  • High-potential employees within the organization may be targeted for unique learning and engagement opportunities
The Blue Collar
  • If technology proficiency is low, “blue collar” employees in your organization may need training before learning with an LMS

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide to gather requirements related to learner needs

2.1.2 LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

It is important to survey your end users to be able to gauge their motivation to learn and their engagement with learning initiatives. Doing so will give you a good indication of what level of user adoption to expect, and what you can incorporate in your LMS strategy to increase uptake.

Sections of the LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide:

  1. Categorize the learner
  2. Evaluate the learner’s learning uses
  3. Evaluate the learner’s motivation to learn
  4. Evaluate the learner’s engagement with learning
  5. Evaluate the learner’s learning preferences
  6. Evaluate the learner’s technical proficiency

The project manager, business lead, and project team will use the results of this deliverable to assist in evaluating solution alternatives in Activity 2.2.2.

Info-Tech Insight

Surveying your learners yields more benefits than just gathering learner technology requirements. Involving employees early builds awareness around your LMS project and is likely to increase engagement with learning and user adoption when your LMS is rolled out.

Activity: Survey your learners using Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide

2.1.2 1 hour

Input

  • N/A

Output

  • Learner LMS requirements

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

Using Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide, survey your learners to gather requirements. Aggregate the responses to prepare for analysis during your solution evaluation.

  1. To determine who should be surveyed, categorize employees into the distinct learner profiles that you have identified in Activity 2.1.1.
  2. Distribute your LMS Strategy Learner Survey to all individuals (or a representative sample of individuals) that fit each learner profile.
  3. Collect the responses via paper or email, and record the aggregated responses.

Info-Tech Insight

Your organization’s L&D team may have already conducted a TNA (training needs analysis) or PMDS (performance management and development system) for your end users. If so, allow these analyses to inform your strategy about your end-user needs.

Speak the same language as your L&D team and administrators to effectively evaluate their needs and wants

Depending on your L&D or administrator team’s goals for evaluation, your LMS may require different functions. Don’t neglect to effectively communicate with your HR team to ensure your LMS strategy meets their needs and enables them to strategically contribute to the business.

Kirkpatrick Model

  1. Reaction Evaluate how your trainees felt about the training. This type of measurement might involve a simple survey or tracking paper responses after training.
  2. Learning Evaluate how much your trainees have learned and retained. Learning evaluation may require more advanced LMS functions, such as quizzes.
  3. Behavior Measure whether or not your trainees’ behavior has changed because of the training provided. Measuring behavior changes may indicate the need for more advanced reporting and tracking functions.
  4. Results Measure whether or not your trainees’ changed behavior is contributing to organizational results. This might require more advanced reporting functions, and/or multiple integration points with other enterprise applications.

Source: KirkpatrickPartners.com

"LMS used to just be a way to count activities. Now, LMS is increasingly being used to measure value." – John Roberts, Learning & Development Architect, Info-Tech Research Group

Activity: Solicit requirements from your LMS administrators, management, and L&D team

2.1.3 1 hour per stakeholder

Input

  • N/A

Output

  • Administrative, L&D team, and management LMS requirements

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

Conduct requirements gathering by addressing the considerations relevant to each LMS stakeholder.

  1. Compile a list of interview questions that address the considerations listed here for each of the remaining LMS stakeholders below.
  2. Using the most appropriate elicitation method, survey the population for each stakeholder.
  3. Aggregate the responses received, and analyze which requirements indicate which high-level technical requirement.

LMS STAKEHOLDERS

Learner

Administrators

Management

L&D Team

"Get a handle on your requirements and prioritize them in terms of scope and scalability. Be realistic about your requirements and think about what you really need." – Anonymous, Health Care Industry

Activity: Sketch your current learning processes and identify gaps in functionality

2.1.4 45 minutes

Input

  • Process steps

Output

  • Sketch of current learning process

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

Work with process owners (if available) to map your learning process end to end. Map your process(es) in enough detail to capture all relevant activities and system touchpoints.

  1. Record all of the major process steps on sticky notes. Arrange the sticky notes in sequential order.
  2. On a set of different colored sticky notes, record all of the systems that enable the process. Map these system touchpoints to the process steps.
  3. Draw arrows in between the steps to represent manual entry or automation.
  4. Identify effectiveness in existing process and gaps in existing processes to determine process technology requirements.

Ask the following questions:

  • How do people enroll in courses?
  • Who tracks participation?

The image shows a legend. A rectangle with rounded corners is labelled Input/Output; a rectangle is labelled Process Activity; a dark rectangular shape with a curved bottom is labelled Document; a diamond is labelled Decision Point; an arrow is labelled Automation; and the final image is an arrow with a dotted line, labelled Manual Entry.

Sketch your current learning processes and identify gaps in functionality

The image shows a sample map of learning processes, with the same legend from the previous section repeated at the bottom.

Activity: Take inventory of your relevant IT systems

2.1.5 30 minutes

Input

  • N/A

Output

  • Inventory of IT systems relevant to the learning management ecosystem

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

After completing your learning and development process map, you should have a better understanding of the current systems that are relevant to learning.

  1. Make a list of the current systems that come into contact with the learning process.
    • Where are learning materials currently stored?
  2. What does your HR application landscape look like?
    • Do you have a full HRIS suite?
    • If so, which modules do you have?
    • Are you leveraging strategic HRIS functionality (e.g. succession planning)
System Description
SharePoint Store and edit policies, procedures, manuals
WebEx Remote training
Excel spreadsheet WHMIS completion tracking

Case Study: Teleflex Medical quantifies the benefits of LMS to achieve stakeholder buy-in

CASE STUDY

Industry Medical

Source Info-Tech Research Interview

Situation

Teleflex Medical is a global healthcare provider of medical devices that partners with hospitals, clinicians, and patients. With 12,000 employees and thousands of external customers that require learning, Teleflex has a geographically diverse global audience.

The Learning & Development and Marketing teams at Teleflex have partnered to optimize an LMS for internal and external users.

Challenge

The largest expenditure related to training for Teleflex is the cost of facilitation itself; the amount of capital spent on paying the 55 individuals to take the time to train employees across multiple global locations.

Teleflex completed a cost-benefit analysis and ROI analysis to sell their LMS strategy to the business. The goal was to satisfy multiple stakeholders by jointly (L&D and Marketing) contributing to the bottom line.

Result

Teleflex expects to save $300,000 in savings in facilitation costs alone by purchasing an LMS that allows facilitators to deliver training to a wider, global audience.

This estimation does not include the amount that will be saved on facilitator travel, or other indirect gains (such as increased revenue) by enabling Teleflex talent to be more effective and productive.

Activity: Determine your current cost of learning

2.1.6 45 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.1.4.

Output

  • Benchmark costs for organizational learning

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

This activity can be conducted one of two ways. You can calculate the costs of training associated with a specific process OR the costs of training associated with a specific departments.

  1. Choose a process or department.
    • Processes:
      • Onboarding
      • Performance appraisal training
      • Health & safety training
    • Departments:
      • Marketing
      • Sales
      • Finance
  2. As a group, brainstorm the different costs associated with training and provide a cost estimation. Consider the opportunity costs, travel costs, overtime costs, etc. Record the different costs on sticky notes and place them on the whiteboard.
  3. Calculate the total cost.
  4. Estimate how much could be saved if training was automated and distributed through an LMS.

"Most organizations don’t have a good idea of what they’re spending on L&D, all in. They have very fractured training environments. They might have outsourced training, send people to colleges, or bring consultants in. No one really knows how much this costs. When you’re searching for an LMS, you want to look for a solution that helps you control costs and is easy to manage in terms of cost." – Matt Whitehead, Training Consultant, Online Learning Enterprises

Company ABC calculates the cost of onboarding training

Background: Company ABC is a professional services firm that is currently experiencing radical growth. There are 1,000 employees that occupy their four North America offices and they continue to hire 30 junior employees a year. To ensure Company ABC develops the best talent; they put each new employee through a rigorous training program.

Action: Company ABC performs a cost analysis of their onboarding training program. ABC has factored in the opportunity cost of their facilitators and new employees, as well as the costs for meals, entertainment, travel, and accommodations.

Analysis
Onboarding trainers opportunity cost 2 trainers x $70,000 salary x 3/52= $8,077
New employee opportunity cost 30 x $40,000 Salary x 3/52= $69,230
Meals and entertainment $5,000
Travel and accommodations $20,000
Learning material $2,000
Cost of content creation $1,500
Total $105,807

Company ABC spends a total of $105,807 on onboarding training alone.

ABC has the opportunity to streamline their onboarding process and reduce cost by implementing an LMS.

Running Case Study: GTAA balances learner needs with corporate objectives, and delegates content development

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

The Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) was experiencing a costly and inflexible learning and training environment.

GTAA needed to make a change to their learning environment to reflect organizational goals and meet learner needs. The project team recognized the organizational goal of cost savings and the learner need for flexible learning. These two guiding principles heavily influenced their LMS strategy.

Part of GTAA’s LMS strategy was their content strategy. GTAA needed to decide who would own content development, and if content needed to be curated from a third party.

Action

GTAA gathered requirements by taking into consideration facilitators, learning audiences, management, and other key stakeholders.

Online, self-service learning enabled employees to complete training at provided kiosks during off-peak scheduled time. Contributing to this was a reduction in the length of training.

GTAA distributed content ownership across the organization as deemed appropriate by expertise. Some content, such as industry-regulated compliance training, was procured from a third-party provider.

Results

GTAA reported significant savings from training-related costs, enabled by their LMS. This was done by increasing flexibility in the geographical location, scheduled time, and size of the audience for training.

Employees reported increased satisfaction with corporate learning because they were able to complete it during their free time on the job, as well as on their own time.

The decentralization of content prevented overwhelming HR, and ensured the high quality of training content, as it was being written by subject matter experts.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

2.1.3 Map out the current state of learning

Through facilitation with the project team and HR process owners, an analyst will guide you through compiling a portfolio of your learning processes, identifying points of integration, and identifying opportunities for process automation.

2.1.4 Conduct stakeholder interviews

An analyst will assist you in facilitating requirements gathering interviews and workshops to extract the information you need.

Step 2.2: Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

Activities

  • Create LMS content strategy
  • Create LMS people strategy
  • Create LMS process strategy
    • Select process owners
    • Select project metrics and guiding principles
  • Create LMS technology strategy
    • Map your learning application environment
    • Map your learning management ecosystem

Outcomes

  • LMS content strategy
  • LMS process strategy
    • Project metrics
    • Guiding principles
  • LMS technology strategy

Factor consumption, creation, and curation into your content strategy

When evaluating your existing content and options for adding new content, take a holistic approach by considering content consumption, creation, and curation.

What do you need to consider?

CONSUMPTION

  • What delivery method will optimize learning?
  • How does the delivery method affect content format?
  • Are the objectives for learning content to:
    • Be quick and easy to complete?
    • Motivate learning to engage employees?
    • Make it easy to access, update, and export?

CREATION

  • Where is the existing content?
  • Is the existing content compliant? (e.g. SCORM)
  • Is it feasible (e.g. resources, time) to create content in-house well enough to meet consumption needs?
  • Do you have subject matter experts to author content?

CURATION

  • Does your LMS have a content catalogue?
  • Are the objectives for content curation to:
    • Be consistent with state/federal legislation?
    • Have an unlimited number of users?
    • Customize content to organizational branding?

"The creation of our learning content is largely decentralized and is done by subject matter experts across the organization. However, we’ve centralized the review and delivery of our content in HR. This has resulted in the higher quality and consistency across our organizations training content." – Leah Craig, Manager, Learning and Development, Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA)

Use a blend of in-house and third-party content for the most cost-effective content strategy

Over the past decade the catalog content market has grown significantly, becoming a billion dollar industry.

As organizations realize the need for effective training and good content, training costs per employee will increase.

In-House Content Creation

  • Creating content in-house allows for the creation of content that is company specific, personalized, and industry specific.
  • Example:
    • On-boarding material
    • Company policies
    • Product training

Third-Party Content Curation

  • Third-party content is best suited for generic training.
  • Example:
    • Specific compliance training
    • Technology training
    • Skill development (e.g. requirements gathering, rejection handling, ITIL certifications)
  • Note that most third-party content providers do not allow you to edit or alter purchased content.

Third-Party Content Providers

  • OpenSesame
  • Skillsoft
  • NetG
  • Biz Library
  • Digital Think

*This is not an exhaustive list of content providers

Info-Tech Insight

Creating your own content doesn’t have to be expensive. It is possible to use something as simple as PowerPoint for basic slideshow presentations, or something more complex like Lectors for comprehensive training content.

Understand the different ways you can create content and the different sources to curate content from

Right-size your content strategy to your LMS strategy to achieve a cost-effective solution.

In-House Content Creation

Ownership of content creation does not necessarily need to lie in HR or at the management level within departments. Leveraging knowledgeable talent within the organization is a cost-effective and creative alternative that will yield quality content while engaging your top employees in learning.

Third-Party Content Curation

Third-party content doesn’t always have to be less for more. There is plenty of affordable alternatives that will achieve economies of scale in your content strategy. Explore your options.

The image shows a pyramid with the title The Learning Content Pyramid. Along the right side, there is an arrow pointing to the top of the pyramid, labelled Contextual Relevance. On the left side, there is an arrow pointing downwards, labelled Volume & Cost. Several examples of In-house and Third-Party content are included inside the pyramid.

Source: Donald H. Taylor, “The learning content pyramid

Activity: Create an LMS content strategy

2.2.1 45 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.1.1.

Output

  • LMS content strategy

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

As a group, evaluate your current content strategy and decide what is the most cost-effective content strategy going forward.

  1. As a group, identify the pros and cons of creating content in-house as well as purchasing content through a third-party provider.
  2. Next, identify the type of content that you would create in-house and the type of content that you would want to purchase. Consider the content you already have, the resources you have in-house, and the type of content you need. Is the content mandatory? Does it need to be engaging?
  3. Brainstorm the costs associated with both options. Is your content strategy cost effective?

In-House

  • Instructional designers
  • Content authoring tool
  • Interactive designers
  • Subject matter experts
  • Integration

Third Party

  • Upload fee
  • Cost per user

Build comprehensive learner profiles to direct decision making

Don’t try to fit the learner to the technology; fit the technology to the learner. Considering how users currently learn instead of aiming to change how they learn will increase the likelihood of user adoption.

Who are your learners?

Identifying high-level learner profiles will allow you to narrow in on their needs instead of generalizing what you think the organization needs for learning to all users.

What do they need?

Identifying your learners’ needs in terms of use case, learning motivation, learning style, and technical proficiency will help you identify LMS requirements.

Example

Learner: Manufacturing employee

Use case: Compliance training

Motivation: Medium. Without completion of mandatory training/certification renewal, employees are unable to work. However, employees are often not held accountable for incomplete courses/expired certifications.

Engagement: Low. Training is not directly correlated with self-benefit or advancement.

Learning style: Mixed. In-class. Few-clicks self-paced.

Technical proficiency: Low. Most learners do not interact with technology on a day-to-day basis, inside or outside the job.

Info-Tech Insight

Don’t pigeon-hole your employees and assume their needs. Although many things about your workforce may be generalizable, one characteristic of your learner can change what they need in an LMS. For example, manufacturing employees are likely to have low interaction with technology on the job, and are often assumed to be of an older generation. However, if a manufacturing workforce is young, the likelihood of technology proficiency outside the job is higher. The result is that there may be less need for an extremely simple system, and more opportunity to engage employees with the technology.

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template to establish requirements related to learner needs

2.2.1 LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

It is important to survey your end uses to be able to gauge their motivation to learn and engagement with learning initiatives. Doing so will give you a good indication of what level of user adoption to expect, and what you can incorporate in your LMS strategy to increase uptake.

  1. Complete Part A of the LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template using general knowledge of each learner profile.
  2. Complete Part B using the aggregate results of your LMS Strategy Learner Survey.
  3. Complete Part C in Activity 2.2.2.

Sections of the document:

A. General Information

B. Learner Profile

C. LMS Requirements – Needs & Wants

The project manager, business lead, and project team will use the results of this deliverable to assist in analyzing the LMS Strategy Learner Survey in Activity 2.2.2.

Info-Tech Insight

Learners may report learning needs that require highly robust functionality. Learners may also have very diverse needs, indicating the need for a wide variety of functions. Be realistic. Remember to stay within the scope of the project and the organization’s resources. Try to cater to the most learners possible without losing sight of the scope.

Activity: Analyze your LMS Strategy Learner Survey results

2.2.2 1 hour

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.1.2.

Output

  • Learner technology requirements

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Project manager
  • Business lead
  • Project team

Instructions

Use the aggregated data collected using Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Survey Guide to inform and complete Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template.

  1. Complete Part A and Part B of the LMS Strategy Learner Profile Template using general knowledge, and the survey results for each learner profile surveyed.
  2. Break the project team out into groups and distribute the partially completed learner profiles to each group so that no group has one same learner profile.
  3. Have the breakout groups complete Part C of the LMS Strategy Learner Profile Templates.
  4. Come back together as a group and discuss the results. Record the consensus on each learner profile as your learner requirements.

"People learn at different paces and in different ways. When you’re trying to train 300 people, you can’t necessarily use the same training technique on the same 300 people. You have to consider how people learn to ensure learning retention and engagement, and ultimately the success of the program." – Anonymous, Commercial Real Estate Consulting Industry

Running Case Study: GTAA balances learner needs with corporate objectives and delegates content development

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

The Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) was experiencing a costly and inflexible learning and training environment.

Part of GTAA’s LMS strategy was its content strategy. GTAA needed to decide who would own content development, and if content needed to be curated from a third party.

Action

GTAA distributed content ownership across the organization based on subject matter expertise. Some content, such as industry-regulated compliance training, was procured from a third-party provider.

Due to the large cost savings enabled by implementing an LMS, GTAA was also able to hire an in-house learning designer to contribute to content development and regulation across the company.

Results

The decentralization of content prevented overwhelming HR, and ensured the high quality of training content, as it was being written by subject matter experts.

The hiring an of an in-house learning designer maintained consistency of content quality and contributed to employee satisfaction with the LMS. Although they were resistant to losing the in-person touch of in-class instruction, they were satisfied by the improved quality of training.

Identify process owners and content owners within your organization

Once the LMS has been installed and deployed, it will undergo a series of changes. The content will expand, the number of users will increase, administrators may change, and functionality could become obsolete. Make sure you have the right roles in place to avoid duplicate users, inefficient processes, and poor course quality.

PROCESS OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES

Process ownership ensures support, accountability, and governance for your LMS. Process owners must be able to negotiate with business users and other key stakeholders to drive efficiencies within their own process. The process owner must execute tactical process changes and continually optimize the process.

Responsibilities include the following:

  • Introduce KPIs and metrics
  • Monitor the success of the process
  • Present process findings to key stakeholders within the organization
  • Develop policies and procedures for the process
  • Implement new methods to manage the process

CONTENT OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES

A content owner ensures the quality and consumption of learning content. The content owner needs to communicate with department heads to confirm the content being created meets end-user needs. A content owner should be assigned for all learning programs.

Responsibilities include the following:

  • Ensures the course is relevant for the intended audience
  • Verifies the course content is up to date and accurate
  • Answers inquiries on course content
  • Tracks course content satisfaction
  • Develops content metadata

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Process Owner Assignment Guide to help choose the right process owners

2.2.3 LMS Strategy Process Owner Assignment

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

The LMS Strategy Process Owner Assignment Guide will ensure you are taking the appropriate steps to not only fill the position, but to create the right position.

The steps in the document will help with important considerations, such as key requirements and responsibilities.

Sections of the document:

  1. Define responsibilities and level of commitment
  2. Define job requirements
  3. Receive referrals
  4. Hold formal interviews
  5. Determine performance metrics

Activity: Identify process owners

2.2.3 30 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.1.4.

Output

  • LMS strategy process owners

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

Assign process owners for each process within the scope of the LMS project.

  1. With the LMS project team, address the following questions:
    • What is the level of commitment expected from each process owner?
    • How will the process owner role be tied to a formal performance appraisal?
    • What metrics can be assigned?
    • How much work will be required to train process owners?
    • Is there support staff available to assist process owners?
LMS Process Commitment Responsibilities Comments Candidate
Scheduling
Content development
Content updates

Use learning KPIs as process metrics

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable measures that demonstrate the effectiveness of a process and its ability to meet business objectives.

Questions to Ask

  1. What outputs of the process can be used to measure success?
  2. How do you measure process efficiency and effectiveness?

Creating KPIs

Specific

Measureable

Achievable

Realistic

Time-bound

Follow the SMART methodology when developing KPIs for each process.

Adhering to this methodology is a key component of the lean management methodology. This framework will help you avoid establishing general metrics that aren’t relevant.

"For each module you implement, take a step back or pause to fully identify and understand the benefits. Link modules to metrics. For example: Will your attrition rate improve? Will your accident rates and the cost associated decrease?" – Debbie Elliot, Principal Consultant, Elliot D & Associates

Decide which metrics are most effective at communicating process success based on your use case(s)

Metrics are important to be able to evaluate and communicate the success of your LMS project to the business. Speak the same language as the business and choose metrics that relate to organizational goals.

Metric Example
Compliance Training Completion rates
  • X% increase in completion rates
Cost savings
  • $X saved in regulation fines
  • X time saved in audit process
Incident rates
  • X decrease in LTIs/OSHA recordable incidents per month/year
Competency Development Engagement
  • X% increase in frequency of daily/weekly/ monthly learning experiences
Turnover
  • X% improvement in employee satisfaction
Quality/Efficiency
  • X% increase in daily/weekly/monthly production outputs
  • X% increase in customer satisfaction
Knowledge Management Employee requests
  • X time saved due to X% decrease in employee requests for info from HR
Adherence rates
  • X% of total employees adhering to company policy/code of conduct
Information accessibility
  • Increase in communication efficiency

Determine guiding principles

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Guiding principles are high-level rules of engagement that help to align stakeholders from the outset. Determine guiding principles to shape the scope and ensure stakeholders have the same vision.

Creating Guiding Principles

Guiding principles should be constructed as full sentences. These statements should be able to guide decisions.

EXAMPLES

  • Level of customization required in solution should be minimal
  • Make learning flexible, accessible, and convenient for the end user
  • Encourage transparency into learning initiatives through analytics to allow HR and the business to learn as a whole.

Questions to Ask the Project Team

  1. What is a strong statement that will help guide decision making throughout the life of the LMS project?
  2. What are your high-level requirements for the process?
  3. What do you ultimately want to achieve?
  4. What is a statement that will ensure all stakeholders are on the same page for the project?

Identify the LMS interfaces within the broader organization to refrain from only considering the central role of learning

Learning Management Ecosystem

  • Learning Applications
    • Authoring Tools
    • LCMS
    • LRS
    • LMS
  • Enterprise Applications
    • HRIS
    • ERP
    • CRM
    • CMS
  • Workforce Tools
    • Analytics
    • Data Stores
    • Employee Profiles
    • Social Networks
    • Email
    • Calendar

Info-Tech Insight

LMS integrates with much more than just core HRIS.

Understanding points of integration is important to identify the amounts of effort and cost of the system. IT and HR must realize the benefits of integration and then work together to create a strategy for a more integrated LMS ecosystem.

Assess which learning applications will yield the most value in your learning management ecosystem

Many vendor offerings have blurred the line between LMS and LCMS. Ensure you procure the system that correctly suits your needs, including its supporting systems and tools.

LMS LCMS LRS

Authoring Tools

Definition
  • Simple learning platform used to plan, deliver, and access e-learning
  • Can include interactive features to enhance the learner experience
  • Can house but cannot create content within
  • More complex platform used to create, develop, and manage content intended for e-learning
  • Can exist independently of and integrate with an LMS or take the place of an LMS
  • Central repository for storing learning records/data that can be retrieved and read by an LMS, LCMS, or reporting tools
  • Can exist independently of or exist within an LMS
  • Tools independent of an LMS or LCMS that allows a course author to create and develop content for an LMS or LCMS
  • Enables the author to create SCORM/AICC compliant content
Use Case
  • CMS needs augmenting to add learning features
  • Hosts content that is off-the-shelf or procured from third party
  • Content is created in-house and an LMS does not exist or existing LMS does not have capability to create content within
  • Existing LMS does not have built-in LRS functionality and needs to communicate learning data to/from multiple sources and LMS
  • Content is created in-house and is too complex to be created within an LCMS with ease
Example Vendors Skillsoft; Cornerstone; Success Factors; Absorb; Infor Grovo; Kenexa; Bridge; Absorb; Litmos; Skillsoft Saltbox; SCORM Cloud; Learning Locker; Watershed Udutu; Adobe; Composica; Zenler

Activity: Evaluate which learning applications are necessary to form your micro learning application environment

2.2.4 45 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.2.1 and Activity 2.2.2.

Output

  • High-level idea of learning application environment

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager

Instructions

  1. At the micro level, start to form your learning management ecosystem by evaluating the distinguishing features of each learning environment.
  2. Consider and discuss the questions below to establish which application (or combination of applications) would suit your content and integration needs within your learning application environment.

Example:

Learning Application Environment

  • LMS
  • Authoring Tool

Ask the following questions:

  • What existing learning content do we have?
  • Is our existing content in a CMS?
  • Is our existing content SCORM/AICC/xAPI compliant?
  • Do we need additional learning content?
  • Does our content need to be continually edited/updated?
  • Do we have an existing authoring tool?
  • Do we have the expertise, time, resources to create content in-house?
  • Do we need to curate content from a third party?
  • Can we get the content we need from an LMS’s content catalogue?
  • Does my LMS have an embedded LRS for API integration?

Integrate LMS with enterprise applications to drive the value of learning within your organization

CRM Integration

The CRM is the system of record for all customer and partner information. Integrating LMS and CRM will provide:

  • A learning history of customers and partners
  • Streamline the training process for customers and prospects
  • Inform decisions on upselling, cross-selling, and competitive positioning

ERP Integration

The ERP is the system of record for all financial information.

  • Integration with financial systems can help identify patterns such as training and productivity.

If training is being sold to customers, partners, or charged to internal departments, financial information needs to be tracked.

HRIS Integration

The HRIS is the system of record for all employee-related information. By integrating the two systems, HR can become a more strategic department and help support the business with key decisions.

Benefits:

  • Saves time on manually entering completed courses and pertinent training information
  • Enhances the efficiency of the onboarding process
  • Provides the organization with the capabilities for succession planning
  • Integration with talent management allows employees to take courses that will advance their careers
  • Managers will have the ability to locate the right skills for internal jobs and fill the gaps in workforce skills

Can identify patterns, such as:

  • Training and turnover
  • Training and promotion
  • Training and contentment

Info-Tech Insight

Often, smaller organizations with less technical capabilities will create a simple batch integration. However, as organizations increase their maturity they realize the need for synchronized, automated processes.

Identify the workforce tools that must integrate with your LMS

Organizations are making the shift from procuring an LMS for cost-cutting and efficiencies purposes, to really leveraging LMS to support performance. When this transition occurs, it is important to understand how LMS integrated into a broad range of workforce and collaboration tools.

Tool Description
Content Repositories (SharePoint) Integration with a content repository will enable your organization to create, collaborate, share, edit, organize, and manage learning content within the LMS. For example, content in SharePoint can be imported and edited within the LMS platform. Make sure the chosen LMS solution supports the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) that allows content repositories to integrate seamlessly.
Calendar With LMS–calendar integration, calendars can be automatically updated when training information changes (e.g. date, time, location).
Email When LMS is tied into corporate email, all participants will receive automatic notifications and alerts around the completion of training.
WebEx, GoToWebinar, Adobe Connect, Lync When LMS is tied into corporate email, all participants will receive automatic notifications and alerts around the completion of training.

Info-Tech Insight

Workforce collaboration integration creates communication channels that allow knowledge osmosis throughout the organization. Increase knowledge transfer by learning not only as individuals, but as an organization.

"It’s important to think about how the LMS will integrate with other systems, and to have a good understanding of where your technology is going within the organization." – Alec Ballantyne, Manager, Total Rewards & HR Analytics, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)

Activity: Sketch a macro view of all the IT systems that interface with your future learning management ecosystem

2.2.5 45 minutes

Input

  • Output of Activity 2.2.4.

Output

  • Map of integrated learning management ecosystem

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

  1. Consider the inventory list you created in Activity 2.2.4.
  2. Consider and discuss the questions below to establish which applications should be included in the learning management ecosystem.
  3. Sketch out the potential integration points between your learning applications, enterprise applications, and workforce tools.

The image is titled Example. It is an example of the type of map described in the instructions, with Learning Management Ecosystem in the centre in a circle, with other circles connected to it with the names of applications within them. Some o these applications are connected to one another with dotted lines.

Ask the following questions:

  • Does my LMS have an embedded LRS that will allow integration of external enterprise applications and workforce tools?
  • Do my trainees have access to email/calendar functions?
  • Do I need to be able to deliver training via video conferencing technology?
  • Do I need my LMS to report data into my HRIS (e.g. compliance training completion, talent management)?
  • Do I have existing reporting dashboards that I would like training data reported to?
  • Do I want LMS to pull data from social platforms?
  • Do I want to integrate learning into intracompany employee profiles?

SaaS is a cost-effective LMS deployment option for most small and mid-sized businesses

Deployment Method Benefits Challenges
On-premise: Architecture and data center is housed inside the organization.
  • Data is managed by the organization.
  • Software is provided that is compatible with a broad range of platforms.
  • Full system integration is difficult.
  • Implementation can take months.
  • Costly, as there is a need to buy hardware and software.
Hosted: Architecture is located outside the organization. Technology stack is identical to on-premise deployment, but is located at a third-party data center.
  • A third party cares for the infrastructure and IT needs that would be required internally.
  • Sensitive data is being handled by a third party.
  • Bringing the solution back in-house can be time consuming.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): All aspects of the solution are hosted by the vendor and delivered via the Internet.
  • Systems can be up and running within days.
  • More predictable cost model.
  • As with hosted solutions, eliminates the need to buy hardware and software, and reduces required internal IT resources.
  • Regular updates, patches, and fixes are performed by the service provider.
  • Sensitive data is stored at the vendor’s site, raising data security and privacy concerns.
  • If you cancel your contract, it might be difficult to get your data back.

Info-Tech Insight

Though trends indicate that SaaS is the preferred delivery method, it is not for everyone! Deciding factors include number of IT staff and quantity/quality of infrastructure. Organizations with less of both will see more benefits in SaaS because it provides a quick, cost-effective way to acquire an LMS. Even if IT has a mandate to adopt cloud computing solutions, implementing SaaS may not be viable if your industry has a high privacy and compliance risk perception. Adopt on-premise LMS if that’s what the business needs.

Whether you go with SaaS or not, know that LMS cost is determined by more than just the deployment option you pick

Predictable Costs:

Features and Customization

  • Most vendors provide module-based solutions and you pay a fee for the modules you want.
  • Select modules carefully and look for a solution that fits your requirements rather than trying to fit your requirements to the software.
  • Only buy what you need. There is no point paying for a module you’ll never use.

Number of Users

  • For most solutions, particularly SaaS deployments, cost is per user where the user is whomever is logging into the program. This could include managers, HR, and employees.
  • However, the majority of the vendors approached for this LMS product evaluation would not disclose pricing information.

Training

  • All vendors offer training services.
  • Look at the options available and their relative costs. It may be more cost effective to leverage an e-learning solution rather than classroom training.

Unpredictable Costs:

Support

  • Most, if not all, vendors offer varying levels of support that will impact solution cost.
  • Decide what level of expertise the organization has internally before signing on for the deluxe support option. Are there people in-house who have previous experience with an LMS?

Time

  • Implementation takes time, and the time required is unpredictable.
  • Time needed depends on factors such as size of the solution and complexity of the organization.
  • If you need a solution yesterday, look at a SaaS solution where implementation takes a fraction of the time an on-premise deployment would take.

Running Case Study: GTAA centralizes learning processes in HR, and selects an on-premise solution to integrate with HRIS

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

The Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) was experiencing a costly and inflexible learning and training environment.

In creating an LMS strategy, GTAA needed to consider a process strategy.

In addition, GTAA needed to create a technology strategy around building an LMS ecosystem, including architecture and integration considerations.

Action

Although content ownership was decentralized, process ownership remained centralized in HR.

Due to their high security demands, GTAA decided on an on-premise solution that they were able to maintain due to their well-equipped IT team.

GTAA integrated LMS with their existing HRIS.

Results

Centralizing process ownership in HR ensured that the quality and deployment of content was consistent.

GTAA’s on-premise LMS optimized security, but proved to be fairly costly and labor-intensive to maintain. Because their LMS vendor did not have access to the system via the cloud, GTAA is responsible for facilitating vendor communications for all system updates and customizations.

By integrating LMS with HRIS, GTAA avoided duplicate record-keeping, and linked employee records with learner profiles to automate training notifications.

Case Study: Three organizations exhibit best practices in evaluating LMS solution options

CASE STUDY

Industry Various

Source Various

Respond to learning trends

The University of Central Oklahoma had been using the same LMS since 1998 and no longer met the needs of students and faculty.

Rising licensing fees drove the university to look for a full-featured replacement solution.

UCO responded to internal customer demands and selected an LMS that can be accessed from mobile devices. Furthermore, in a rapidly changing learning industry, UCO ensured that their LMS is easily integrated with other applications and is scalable for the future.

Source: University Business Magazine

Prioritize alignment and stay within scope

Marist College needed an LMS that would be customizable and scale with its growing needs.

The college wanted to be cautious about buying a robust LMS without testing its adoption. Marist College aimed to stay within project scope by aligning their LMS strategy with that of the organization.

Instead of procuring an LMS with all the bells and whistles upfront, the college purchased an open-source LMS that could be piloted in its basic form. Going forward, new functions were added and customized in response to user needs evaluated against organizational strategy.

Source: University Business Magazine

Evaluate options with #1 use case in mind

Public Health Ontario (PHO) was looking for an LMS that delivered self-directed training courses to thousands of external stakeholders.

The challenge was finding a solution that was cost effective and met PHO’s extensive LMS requirements.

PHO procured an LMS that could link to its existing CMS, and an authoring tool that would allow them to create SCORM compliant content in the future. The organization was able to create a right-sized solution of learning applications that were integrated with existing enterprise applications, streamlining the learning process.

Source: Info-Tech Research Interview

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

2.2.4 Sketch a micro view of your learning application environment

The purpose of this exercise is to visualize your ideal processes. An Info-Tech analyst will engage project team members to think creatively of how they would like to improve their current learning processes.

2.2.5 Sketch a macro view of your learning application ecosystem

The purpose of this exercise is to visualize your ideal processes. An Info-Tech analyst will engage project team members to think creatively of how they would like to integrate their LMS with other enterprise applications and workforce tools.

2.2.3 Identify process owners

An analyst will facilitate an exercise to assign different stakeholders ownership of their relevant processes, to determine their responsibilities and the level of commitment expected from each.

Phase 3

Finalize the Strategy

Take an Educated Approach to Developing an LMS Strategy

Phase 3 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 3: Finalize your Strategy

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 3 weeks

Step 3.1: Design the LMS Roadmap

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Break down the tasks needed to complete the LMS strategy. Identify dependencies between people, process, technology, and content tasks.

Then complete these activities…

  • Identify initiatives to close gaps and build your LMS roadmap

With these tools & templates:

  • LMS Strategy Initiative Roadmap Tool

Step 3.2: Build an Implementation Plan

Review findings with analyst:

  • Create a governance plan to ensure the right mechanisms are in place for efficient LMS operations. Consider strategies for communicating changes and selling the strategy to the business.

Then complete these activities…

  • Create a governance plan
  • Develop a communication plan
  • Present the LMS strategy to stakeholders

With these tools & templates:

  • LMS Strategy Communication Planning Template
  • LMS Strategy Stakeholder Presentation Template

Phase 3 Results & Insights:

  • Develop the roadmap by using the four pillar approach. Have a plan to manage change and govern your LMS strategy. Don’t let LMS become a mess. Create a comprehensive governance plan that addresses concerns that may arise during and post-implementation.

Unify your strategy by creating a roadmap, communication plan, and governance plan

Top off your LMS strategy with an initiative roadmap, communication plan, and governance plan. Present the full picture to your stakeholders to achieve buy-in before launching the strategy.

Learning Management System Strategy
Governance
Content People Process Technology
Learning Management Objectives
Learning and Development Objectives
Corporate Objectives

Step 3.1: Design the LMS Roadmap

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

ACTIVITIES:

  • Identify initiatives needed to complete your LMS strategy
  • Prioritize initiatives
  • Recognize dependencies between initiatives

OUTCOMES:

  • Completed LMS roadmap

An LMS strategy roadmap will enable smooth and timely implementation of your initiatives

Creating a roadmap reduces the risk of rework, misallocation of resources, and project delays or abandonment.

People

Timeline

Processes

Tasks

Technology

Budget

The image shows an example strategy roadmap.

Benefits of a Roadmap

  1. Prioritize execution of initiatives in alignment with business, IT, and HR needs.
  2. Create clearly defined roles and responsibilities for IT, HR, and business stakeholders.
  3. Establish timelines for roll out of initiatives.
  4. Highlight dependencies between people, processes, technology, and content initiatives.
  5. Reduce the risk of rework due to poor execution.

Activity: Identify initiatives to close gaps and build your roadmap

3.1.1 1 hour

Input

  • Strategic initiatives

Output

  • LMS strategic roadmap

Materials

  • Pens
  • Cue cards
  • Table top
  • Masking tape

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

As a group, brainstorm initiatives for your LMS strategy.

  1. Consider initiatives in the four solution categories: Content, Technology, Process, and People. Make sure these initiatives are recorded on different coloured cue cards.
  2. Using masking tape, create Content, Technology, People, and Process swim lanes on a table top.
  3. Place the cue cards in their appropriate swim lanes in the order in which they need to occur, taking dependencies into consideration.
  4. Discuss appropriate timelines for each initiative.
  5. Assign owners to each roadmap initiative.

Activity example: Identify initiatives to close gaps and build your roadmap

3.1.1

Time 0 1 Year Long Term
People Assess end-user needs Hire interactive designers
Process Gather learning requirements Sketch current learning process Assign content process owners Develop success metrics
Technology Identify learning applications Evaluate content authoring tools Create LMS RFP
Content Identify training stakeholders Conduct a content audit Create compliance content Evaluate third-party content providers

Use Info-Tech’s Initiative Roadmap Tool to track your progress

3.1.1 Initiative Roadmap Tool

Info-Tech’s Initiative Roadmap Tool can be used as a project monitoring tool to identify owners, assign timelines, and set milestones.

Input your initiatives and assigned owners, identified in Activity 3.1.1, into the tool to design a comprehensive LMS implementation plan. Be sure to specify any dependencies between tasks.

Use the progress report dashboard to monitor your progress.

Consider using a pilot project to model the deployment of your LMS

Select a pilot process that is small enough to be manageable, but is substantial enough that its results are relevant and representative of real organizational objectives.

Choose a pilot based on real objectives

Example Objective Suggested Pilot Example Pilot Results
Audit cost cutting Compliance Training ↓Costs and time
Employee engagement Competency Development Employee feedback
Resource accessibility Knowledge Management ↓Manual HR work

Understand the benefits of a pilot

  • Makes for an easier sell of LMS if the first implementation is successful and actually provides business value
  • May be reusable across other core business processes in the organization, giving other initiatives a head start on implementation
  • Use it as a baseline to compare iterative improvements over time
  • Create awareness and enthusiasm around the initiative for end users and management
  • Gain lessons learnt from any pitfalls in the pilot project to apply to the larger implementation

Info-Tech Insight

Using iterative methods to implement LMS technology can provide early wins in process monitoring alone. Implementing a high-level process to simply gain visibility into activity durations can be more cost effective than filling out activity sheets and analyzing system data to manually monitor the process.

"A test pilot is very necessary because you figure things out that you never thought you would." – Anonymous, Government Industry

Case Study: A pilot project allowed this organization to exhibit the value of LMS and refine the strategy before implementation

CASE STUDY

Industry Government

Source Info-Tech Research Interview

Challenge

A municipal government in Texas, USA, was hindered by the manual process by which training was coordinated and delivered.

Challenges:

  • Registration was done manually via email every step of the way
  • Disparate communication arose from different people owning different steps throughout the process
  • With approximately 3,000 internal employees, and thousands more external employees, the process was taking away from other employee responsibilities
  • A robust solution was needed to deliver the three LMS modules, coordinate training, and have the capacity to house and edit curriculum

Solution

Instead of trying to implement a complete LMS all at once, the organization used a pilot project to test the value of the LMS.

The organization evaluated piloting options from multiple vendors, including Cornerstone, Skillsoft, Lynda, and Infor. In the end, OpenSesame was chosen for their inclusive piloting licenses to the LMS and its content.

The organization decided to focus on compliance training in their pilot project, as both administration and users were very familiar with compliance training.

OpenSesame provided the organization with 25 licenses.

Results

The organization realized the value of the LMS, and discovered unexpected implications of their LMS strategy.

By focusing on what the organization was familiar with – compliance training – the pilot project was used to focus on the value of the LMS as a technology rather than content development.

The participation rate for testing OpenSesame was high enough to warrant a waitlist, which affirmed the end users’ willingness to adopt the system, and validated the need for an LMS strategy.

Although the level of interest was high, it wasn’t as high as the organization expected. This indicated to the organization that it should scale back on the robustness of the LMS.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

3.1.1 Create your LMS Roadmap

With the help of an analyst, the project team will brainstorm a list of short-term and long-term initiatives, determine the importance of each, and identify dependencies.

Step 3.2: Build an Implementation Plan

Phase 1

1.1 Create the Project Vision

1.2 Structure the Project

Phase 2

2.1 Conduct a Current State Assessment

2.2 Evaluate Solution Alternatives

Phase 3

3.1 Design the LMS Roadmap

3.2 Build an Implementation Plan

ACTIVITIES:

  • Build a governance plan to ensure the proper controls are in place to successfully execute the strategy
  • Develop a communication plan to inform stakeholders and manage change
  • Complete the stakeholder presentation guide to gain buy-in and secure LMS investment

OUTCOMES:

  • Governance plan
  • Communication plan
  • Stakeholder presentation

Understand the four critical elements of an LMS governance plan

Create a governance plan that incorporates the following four elements to protect your investment and enforce reliable operations.

  1. Standards
  2. Taxonomy and Metadata
  3. Housekeeping
  4. Configuration Management

Info-Tech Insight

An LMS implementation is no small investment, and once it is deployed, you want the right mechanisms in place to ensure it is running efficiently.

Create content standards to contribute to the consistency of learning across the organization

1. Standards

Policies

There are several different policies to consider when implementing an LMS:

  1. Content Inclusion Policy – Sets parameters for what type of content and learning material should be in the system.
  2. Content Ownership Policy – Outlines the roles and responsibilities of a content owner.
  3. Content Lifecycle Policy – Sets criteria for:
    • Content removal
    • Information access
    • Information sharing
  4. Information Retention Policy – Sets criteria for how long employee information on course training must be retained.

Procedures

Document the procedure for learning requests and tasks.

Consider the following:

  1. Requesting a new training course
  2. The procedure for setting up admin rights for a new user
  3. Requesting a report from the LMS
  4. Failing a course

Additional References

Create a sensible taxonomy for your end users and administrators

2. Taxonomy and Metadata

The Criticality of a Taxonomy

Creating a taxonomy will help users browse and navigate the learning system. Consider creating metadata to assist in tagging, filtering, and searching content. Metadata should always include the topic of the learning content and the language.

Information Taxonomy Essentials

There are three key pillars at the heart of every information taxonomy: business context, user personas, and the content itself. The components of an information hierarchy include: a classification scheme, a controlled vocabulary, and a hierarchical structure.

According to Richard Saul Wurman, there are only five ways to organize information: location, alphabetic, time, category, and on a continuum/hierarchy.

Additional Reference

Establish housekeeping rules to ensure the integrity and longevity of your LMS

3. Housekeeping

Every House Needs Housekeeping Rules – Think of LMS as Your House

Content within the LMS can grow rapidly. Rapid growth of data poses the risk of duplicate, invalid, incomplete, stale, conflicting, and incorrect data. Make sure there are data quality rules in place.

Data Cleansing

An annual data cleanse should identify the following:

  • Outdated courses
  • Duplicate users
  • Incomplete data

Rules and Responsibilities

The LMS owner should be responsible for setting the ground rules around data quality efforts.

Consider the following:

  • The frequency data audits
  • The frequency of clean-up efforts
  • The clean-up team

Additional Resources

Document configuration information to enable good decisions making

4. Configuration Management

Configuration Management – Problem

What happens when you need to know how the system works and realize the person who configured the system is no longer at the company and there is no documentation? It becomes difficult.

When there are system upgrades or new systems are introduced to the learning ecosystem, configuration management documentation will help you plan accordingly.

Configuration Management – The Solution

Create a repository of configuration records. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as an integrated database that is populated through multiple auto-discovery tools.

Document:

  • Access and authentication
  • Data feeds
  • Role-based permissions
  • Notifications
  • Settings

Additional Reference

Activity: Create your LMS Governance Plan

3.2.1 1 hour

Input

  • Governance considerations

Output

  • LMS governance plan

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Markers
  • Sticky notes

Participants

  • Business lead
  • Project manager
  • Project team

Instructions

Create a governance plan that incorporates standards, taxonomy, housekeeping (data quality), and configuration management.

  1. Split up into four groups. Each group will get one of the four topics: standards, taxonomy, housekeeping, and configuration management. Each group is responsible for answering the following questions that pertain to their topic.

Standards

What type of policies do you need?

Where will these policies be stored?

Who will be responsible for the LMS policies?

Configuration Management

Is there a standard template to document configuration information?

Who will own the configuration management template?

Where will this information be stored?

Taxonomy

Does the L&D strategy currently have a learning taxonomy?

Who should be involved in the creation of the LMS taxonomy?

What would be the categories in a high-level LMS taxonomy?

Housekeeping

How often will data clean-ups be conducted?

Who will be responsible for data clean-up efforts?

Communicate the change an LMS strategy will impose

A communication plan is necessary because not everyone will react positively to change. Therefore, you must be prepared to explain the rationale behind any initiatives that are being rolled out. Clearly convey the benefits of the strategy to minimize resistance.

Project Goals

Why is your organization embarking on an LMS project?

“Streamline processes and achieve operational efficiency.”

Communication Goals

What do you want employees to know about the project?

“We will focus on mapping and gathering requirements for (X) mega-processes.”

Change Support

How are you going to support your employees through change?

“We will provide help-functions in the form of supporting documentation and a human touchpoint.”

Required Resources

What resources are going to be utilized throughout the LMS strategy?

“We will be hiring process owners for each mega-process.”

Communication Channels

How will your project team communicate project updates to the employees?

“You will be kept up to date about the project progress via email and intranet. Please feel free to contact the project owner if you have any questions.”

"Our LMS is intended to provide employees with both an interactive and intuitive way to understand what L&D opportunities are available to them. Because a large segment of our demographic is new to employee self-service, we intend to have a high-touch rollout to help them with their learning curve." – Anonymous, CPG Industry

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Communication Planning Template to track communications regarding LMS initiatives

3.2.2 LMS Strategy Communication Planning

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Communication Planning Template to help your organization make LMS initiatives visible and create stakeholder awareness.

Use the communication plan template to track communication methods needed to convey information regarding LMS initiatives. Communicate how a specific initiative will impact the way employees work and the work they do.

  1. List the types of communication events and documents you will need to produce and distribute.
  2. Indicate the purpose of the event or document, who the audience is, and who is responsible for the communication.
  3. Identify who will be responsible for the development and delivery of the communication plan.

Use tab 2 on the LMS Strategy Communication Planning Template to document initiatives that must be communicated.

Use Info-Tech’s LMS Strategy Stakeholder Presentation Template to sell your LMS strategy to the business

3.2.3 LMS Strategy Stakeholder Presentation

INFO-TECH DELIVERABLE

Tailor the presentation to suit your organization.

Info-Tech has designed the LMS Strategy Stakeholder Presentation Template to capture the most critical aspects of the LMS strategy. You are encouraged to customize it to the degree you see fit to best convey your message to the project stakeholders.

The presentation should take no longer than one hour. However, additional slides can be added at the discretion of the presenter. Make sure there is adequate time for a question and answer period.

After the presentation, email the deliverable to stakeholders to ensure they have it available for their own reference.

Activity: Determine the value you received from developing an LMS strategy with Info-Tech

3.2.4 15 minutes

Instructions

After you have presented your LMS strategy to your stakeholders, repeat Activity 1.2.6. Compare to your original results.

Before (N =) After (N=)
Question # Question Average Score Average Score Change (5)
1. I have everything I need to succeed.
2. The right people are involved in the project.
3. I understand my different LMS deployment alternatives.
4. My role in the project is clear to me.
5. I am clear about the vision for this project.
6. I am nervous about this project.
7. I am nervous about this project.

Engage Info-Tech to help with your planning and controls for project execution

Risk Management

  • Track risks associated with your LMS project.
  • Assign owners and create plans for resolving open risks.
  • Identify risks associated with related projects.
  • Create a plan for effectively communicating project risks.

Change Management

  • Brainstorm a high-level training plan for various users of the LMS.
  • Create a communication plan to notify stakeholders and impacted users about the tool and how it will alter their workday and performance of role activities.
  • Establish a formal change management process that is flexible enough to meet the demands for change.

Project Management

  • Conduct a post-mortem to evaluate the completion of the LMS strategy.
  • Design the project management process to be adaptive in nature.
  • Communication is key to project success, whether it is to external stakeholders or internal project team members.
  • Review the project’s performance against metrics and expectations.

INFO-TECH OPPORTUNITIES

Optimize the Change Management Process

You need to design a process that is flexible enough to meet demand for change and strict enough to protect the live environment from change-related incidents.

Create Project Management Success

Investing time upfront to plan the project and implementing best practices during project execution, to ensure the project is delivered with the planned outcome and quality, is critical to project success.

Running Case Study: GTAA continuously optimizes its LMS technology and processes to meet employee needs

CASE STUDY

Industry Air Transport

Source Info-Tech External Research Interview

Situation

The Greater Toronto Airport Association (GTAA) was experiencing a costly and inflexible learning and training environment.

GTAA created an LMS strategy that considered people, content, process, and technology.

GTAA met some resistance to the change, largely driven by the dissatisfaction in losing the in-person experience that in-class training provided employees.

The LMS is yet to be optimized to its full capacity for the end user.

Action

GTAA has designated a learning champion for each team that will act as the human touch point that was lost with the loss of in-class training.

The learning champion is to assist team members with using the LMS and with on-the-job training.

GTAA’s IT team, partnering with the LMS vendor, has the skills and capacity in-house to optimize the LMS.

Results

Five years post-implementation, GTAA employees have realized the value of the LMS, largely due to the increase in quality of the content and training delivery.

GTAA’s learning champions continue to assist teams through phases of change with the LMS.

GTAA is continuously optimizing the LMS for the end user in-house and through communications with their LMS vendor.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with out Info-Tech analysts:

3.2.2 Create a Communication Plan

An analyst will walk the project team through the creation of a communication plan. For a variety of LMS initiatives, track how the change will be communicated and to whom. Determine the employees who will be impacted by the change.

3.2.1 Build your LMS Governance Plan

An analyst will break up the workshop participants into four groups to work on the components of the governance plan. The purpose of the governance plan is to protect the LMS investment and enforce reliable operations. Once the groups are done completing their assigned components of the governance plan, they will present to the rest of the group.

Works Cited

“5 Critical Success Factors for your LMS Project.” Capabiliti LMS. Oct 28, 2014. Nov 2015. http://www.capabiliti.com.au/5-critical-success-factor-lms-project/

Foreman, Steve. “LMS Operations and Governance: Taming the Beast.” Learning Solutions Magazine. Sep 9, 2013. Nov 2015.

http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/1244/lms-operation-and-governance-taming-the-beast

“Learning Management Systems: Small & Mid-Sized Organizations.” BizLibrary. 2015. Nov. 2015.

http://www.bizlibrary.com/resources/infographics/infographic-lms-usage.aspx#.Vl4NaWeFOM8

McLean & Company. Understand Top HR Trends and Priorities for 2016, Dec. 4, 2015. http://hr.mcleanco.com/research/ss/understand-top-hr-trends-and-priorities-for-2016

Schatsky. Schwartz et al. “ Global Human Capital Trends 2015.” Deloitte. Feb. 2015. Nov. 2015. .

Taylor, Donald H. “The Learning Content Pyramid.” Infor. 2015. Dec 8, 2015.

“The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development.” Training Industry. 2015. Nov 2015. http://www.trainingindustry.com/wiki/entries/the-702010-model-for-learning-and-development.aspx

“The Kirkpatrick Model.” Kirkpatrick Partners. 2015. Nov. 2015. http://www.kirkpatrickpartners.com/OurPhilosophy/TheKirkpatrickModel

Insight breakdown

Right-size your LMS solution.

Avoid under-investing or overbuying from the start. LMSs come in all shapes and sizes: don’t buy functions you don’t need. Identify your LMS use case from the start to focus your strategy and filter your needs.

It’s about the people.

Without employees, there would be no one to train. Without administration, there would be no one to train. Make sure you consider all users of the LMS to ensure success of the system through high user adoption.

Have a content strategy.

An LMS is useless without the content it stores and/or delivers. Include a content strategy that will reflect your prioritized use case(s), streamline L&D processes, and engage users.

Summary of accomplishment

Knowledge Gained

  • Trends and use cases for the LMS market
  • How to align corporate, L&D, and LMS objectives
  • Thorough understanding of the current state of LMS applications and processes
  • Benefits of creating content in-house and outsourcing
  • Pros and cons of different deployment options for LMS
  • How to properly govern your LMS strategy

Processes Optimized

  • Strengthened relationship and communication between IT, HR, and the business
  • Identified inefficiencies in current learning and development process
  • Created sound plan for governing the LMS strategy post-implementation

Deliverables Completed

  • A project charter that clearly outlines the project purpose, objectives, and roles and responsibilities
  • An LMS business model that identifies HR, IT, and business learning needs, barriers, and enablers
  • High-level requirements for content, people, process, and technology
  • A technology strategy that includes a learning application environment and integrated learning ecosystem
  • A roadmap that touches on LMS content, people, process, and technology initiatives
  • A project implementation plan that includes a communication plan, governance plan, and stakeholder presentation

Research Contributors and Experts

Name Organization
Alec Ballantyne Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
Leah Craig Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
Jim Tom, Cathy Chae Public Health Ontario (PHO)
Matt Whitehead Online Learning Enterprises
Lyndsay Massey-Groe Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games
Lynn DiBonaventura Teleflex Medical Canada
Nigel Fortlage GHY International, CIO Association of Canada (Manitoba Chapter)
Vivian Yap Ontario College of Teachers
Anonymous Government Industry
Anonymous CPG Industry
Anonymous Commercial Real Estate Consulting Industry
Anonymous Information Technology Industry

About Info-Tech

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We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation #1 - Visualize the project
  • Call #1 - Establish a vision for your LMS strategy project.
  • Call #2 - Structure the project. Identify your project team and create a project charter.

Guided Implementation #2 - Right-size the solution
  • Call #1 - Solicit LMS requirements from the right people in your organization.
  • Call #2 - Use your findings to provide insight into your solution.

Guided Implementation #3 - Finalize the strategy
  • Call #1 - Prioritize roadmap initiatives. Identify dependencies between people, process, technology, and content tasks.
  • Call #2 - Create a governance plan and consider strategies for communicating changes and selling the strategy to the business.

Authors

Suanne McGrath-Kelly

Jenna Schroeder

Jessica Jenkins

Contributors

  • Alec Ballantyne, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
  • Leah Craig, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
  • Jim Tom, Cathy Chae, Public Health Ontario (PHO)
  • Matt Whitehead, Online Learning Enterprises
  • Lyndsay Massey-Groe, Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games
  • Lynn DiBonaventura, Teleflex Medical Canada
  • Nigel Fortlage, GHY International, CIO Association of Canada (Manitoba Chapter)
  • Vivian Yap, Ontario College of Teachers
  • Four additional contributors who wished to remain anonymous
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