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At Ziiva, we offer more than a comprehensive, tailor-fit Learning Management System. We are always seeking ways to enrich your company culture and improve the online learning experience that you offer to your students, employees, customers, or users.


4 groups to contact before changing your LMS

Posted by Daniel Lynton on Fri, Oct 06, 2017

A man contacting a group to discuss changing his LMS

No LMS user works alone. Parting ways with your Learning Management System might affect your whole organization. Consulting your colleagues before making the transition to a new LMS will make the move easier, because they are going to have concerns, requirement, and many questions.

According to Brandon Hall Group, an HR consulting firm, the top three most important requirements for a new LMS are:

  1. Ease-of-use
  2. More robust reporting features/analytics
  3. Simple integration with systems

But the priorities will differ from department to department, and so will the concerns.

1. Administrators/HR/training department(s)

An administrator using her company's LMS

This team includes the heaviest users of an LMS. They’re in charge of time-intensive tasks like: 

  • Administering pre-employment tests to potential hires
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Tracking training progress and results
  • Corresponding with employees/users about progress, deadlines, etc.
  • Keeping up with certification and compliance management

Your training department will have valuable input for the LMS buying decision. If an LMS is working right, it is offloading and automating many administrative tasks, easing the burden on overwhelmed training personnel, and enabling them to be proactive rather than reactive.

HR/training will have questions like:

  • How do I create courses in the new system?
  • How long will it take me to feel comfortable using a new LMS?
  • We have some unique needs — will the new system be able to meet them?
  • What reporting features does the new LMS have?
  • How do I administer exams and track results?
  • Will I be able to change features I don’t like?
  • Is there a support team that I can ask for help?

2. IT department

An IT worker in a server room

The IT department will almost certainly be concerned by a system overhaul. They may have spent years supporting the old system, hosting courses and collecting valuable user information. Here are some issues they might raise:

  • What security issues will a new LMS introduce?
  • Will I be able to securely transfer data to a new system? How?
  • Will I be able to extract my content off this new platform? How?
  • Do I get FTP access to the new system?
  • How will I move user account information?
  • How much customization is available?
  • Will the new system integrate with our workflow (billing service, classroom portal, project management tool, marketing platform, etc.)?
  • How much maintenance and on-going administration will be necessary?
  • What’s the estimated start-up time?
  • Will the new system provide end-user tech support? 

3. Managers 

A manager with a worker

Managers typically make the final call on the breakup (is it you?). They’re looking at bottom lines, but they are also aware of how an LMS affects the working environment—both negatively and positively.

Here are some points they will be considering:

  • Will a new system help us sell our content faster and more effectively?
  • How will the new system differ from the old one? Will it be better?
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • Does it offer flexible pricing (prepaid course codes, pay-as-you-go, etc.)?
  • Will the new system collect data about users and potential customers? Will it be easy or difficult to comply with the 2018 GDPR regulations?
  • Will it meet our unique business requirements?
  • What cost/time savings will it bring us? 

4. Learners

An employee using his company's LMSDon’t forget the end users! Changing your LMS will affect the learners who depend on the system to deliver and support courses. If they won’t use the system, the system won’t work for you.

Do you consult with them regarding an impending LMS breakup? It depends on your business model—the users might even be the ones pushing hardest for a new system. Regardless, they will notice the change. You will want to prepare them for the transition and have a plan to administer to their needs during the changeover. Here are some questions that might come up:

  • Does your new LMS offer end-user tech support?
  • What is your change management plan?
  • How and when will you prepare your end users for the transition?
  • Will we need additional training to use the new system?

United in the face of change

Transitioning to a new LMS will be smoother when you have the support of everyone involved. This can, however, take some effort. The Balance, a financial empowerment firm, offers some additional tips on reducing employee resistance to change.

Pro Tip

Include your potential new LMS partner in these conversations. One sign of a strong LMS partnership is a willingness to engage with and competently speak to all levels of concerns.

Changing your LMS? 6 tips for a smooth transition

Topics: learning management, lms tips





Changing your LMS? 6 tips for a smooth transition

Posted by Daniel Lynton on Thu, Oct 05, 2017

A person thinking about leaving their LMS

Leaving your LMS is like breaking up. In the end, the decision may come down to how well your system helps you improve people’s lives and jobs by sharing the knowledge and skills they can use. If your LMS is not helping this mission, it may be time to break up.

When something has made you continually unhappy or unsatisfied with your current system, you contemplate ending the relationship and moving to something new. 

Change can be intimidating. You’ve already invested years of learning and practice in your current LMS, and wonder how a new one will compare. However, before you allow worries to cloud your vision for a new and improved LMS, consider these tips for creating a smooth transition:

1. Involve your whole team

A team working on transitioning to a new LMS

Transitioning to a new LMS will involve your whole team.

You may have made the decision to change, but now everybody needs to be cheering on the new LMS. Make a pact as a team to give your new LMS a honeymoon phase, when you appreciate its finer points while adapting to a new system. Challenge your team to fully understand how the new LMS accomplishes a task before comparing it to the old system. 

The support of your team and its ability to embrace change will create a much smoother transition. The Balance, a financial empowerment firm, offers some additional tips on reducing employee resistance to change.

2. Promote engagement early and often

A person engaging with their LMS

Learning a new system involves more than attending a training seminar or reading a handbook. It requires engaging with the application over time. In addition to ensuring your team is trained on the LMS, emphasize that it must be used often. If you allocate time each week for your employees to work with the new system, their learning curve will be shorter and the transition smoother.

Happy employees engage with their LMS on a regular basis. They know their results depend on their effort, so they take the time to learn. 

Some businesses come to us concerned about adopting a new LMS because of retention problems—which are the greatest concern for business leaders in 2017, according to a study by Future Workplace and Kronos. They are in a cycle where turnover is high and tenure can be shorter than the time it takes to become proficient in their LMS.

In our experience, those companies are happily surprised to find that retention improves when employees are trained on an LMS that fits their needs. Getting your employees properly trained increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover. 

The vicious HR cycle can be broken, but engagement with the LMS is key to success.

 

3. Take the time you need 

At first, your new LMS may feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. You won’t know where to find that button or how to track that class. You might feel frustrated and even miss the familiarity of your old system. According to Learning Solutions Magazine, it can take from six to 12 months to get fully comfortable.

Then it happens—with time and practice, you become a power user of your new LMS. The new system meets your initial needs, and then fulfills those other, unforeseen requirements that always appear. These additional features are the main reason organizations make an LMS change, according to eLearning Industry.

Infographic from eLearning Industries

Image source: eLearning Industry

 

4. Get the support you need

When transitioning to a new LMS, questions will arise. Some of your team members will learn from the manual, others will need training sessions, and others will do best through trial and error. Your new LMS should accommodate different learning styles, and offer long-term support. 

Poor customer support is a common reason organizations change their LMS, according to Training magazine.

Reasons to change your LMS

If you dreaded picking up the phone or asking for a new functionality with your old LMS, knowing it would end in a large bill or unresolved issue, make sure such support is a requirement with your new provider. 

5. Get personal attention from the LMS provider

Make sure your LMS provider knows who you are. This will significantly shorten your transition time and increase your satisfaction with the new system. Even if you are accustomed to having to rattle off an account number or explain your problem nine times each time you call LMS support, make sure it’s a different experience this time.

You deserve a dedicated trainer, customer service representative, and account manager, who are ready to assist you.

You want them familiar with your setup and focused on your project, so that you can get straight to the point each time you call.

This familiarity also creates a smooth transition from your LMS implementation team to tech support. If six months later, you can’t remember something from training or you finally start using a feature, you’ll know whom to ask and be sure he/she will remember your case.

6. Focus on the gains 

A person contemplating changing their LMS, focusing on the gains.

Focus on what you have to gain. The return on your investment won’t be measured only in dollars, but also in a happier team, happier clients, and simpler processes.

If something is missing from your current system, changing your LMS is worth it. When your LMS fits your needs, you get

  • More free time
  • More reliable information
  • Easier reporting to management

This makes it possible for you to achieve your team's goals—making sure your learners get the knowledge and skills they need.

 

Topics: learning management, lms tips





Client profile: Abreon uses LMS as a change-management tool

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Jul 16, 2010

Change is difficult.

Change is scary.

Change is painful.

Change, done for the right reasons, can be transformative. And profitable.

Abreon is in the business of change management, helping organizations of all sizes – including some Fortune 500 companies – with technology adoption, corporate learning, organizational change and healthcare transformation.

In most cases, eLearning software plays a major role.

“Ninety-nine percent of all projects have an eLearning component,” said Fred Nolte, Abreon’s director of education practice. He noted that eLearning is a cost-effective solution for many change-management efforts.

“We customize, we do blended solutions for clients,” Nolte said. “Any time you are doing a technical change or business process change you need to educate workers and have a good education strategy.”

“We do an awful lot of eLearning for places that don’t have an LMS,” Nolte added.

The learning management system that Abreon uses to meet its wide-ranging needs is Ziiva Prosperity LMS.

Nolte has used Prosperity to customize eLearning programs for several employee training efforts, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and electronic health records (EHR) projects.

Dealing with multiple clients with multiple needs, Abreon needs an LMS platform that can be easily customized. Turn-around time is also an issue. “People wait until the last minute to think about training end users,” Nolte said. “The challenge is to have a system that can be rapidly deployed to meet their needs.”

Through a strategic partnership between Ziiva and Abreon’s parent company, Prosperity’s html-based eLearning software is used to quickly create unique, easy-to-use Web-based training sites that have the branded looked and feel of the client, including company-specific URLS. “From the standpoint of end user perspective, they see (the LMS interface) as their company,” said Nolte.

That flexibility is one of Prosperity’s best features, said Nolte. “The flexibility – how quickly we can load things and get them up and running, along with the support that Ziiva provides on the back end.”

Nolte said the partnership with Ziiva has been “very successful” for Abreon.

Although Abreon uses Prosperity for short-duration change-management projects, Nolte – who has worked with other learning management systems in the past – believes it can be a long-term solution for a business because of its ease of use and flexibility.

“It’s pretty straightforward in the way it functions,” Nolte said, noting that his clients’ needs vary. “Some customers want eLearning, some want certificates, e-mails – all that capability resides within Prosperity.”

From an end-user perspective, he’s had no complaints. In fact, one recent client is now looking at using Prosperity as its corporate LMS.

“Everybody likes it,” said Nolte.

That’s a good thing, because while change can be painful, an LMS shouldn’t make it any more difficult.

Topics: lms, employee training, corporate learning, e learning software, learning management system, learning management, web based training





eLearning and Learning Management Systems news & May Notes

Posted by susan reuter on Tue, Jun 01, 2010

Here is this month's installment of recent e-learning-related blog posts and articles that are worth a second look:

Thou shalt eLearn

Since Cath Ellis offered her Ten Commandments of eLearning about a month ago, other eLearning prophets - including Abhijit Kadle at Upside Learning and Clive Shepherd - are sharing some commandments of their own. Taken collectively, these virtual stone tablets offer a nice, basic roadmap for planning out an effective training development strategy.

New toys

HTML 5 could be one of those game-changing eLearning tools, Craig Weiss writes in his e-Learning 24/7 blog. Find out why he thinks so in "HTML5 - Let the Games Begin!"

How free is free?

Ever since the Trojans accepted that free wooden horse from the Greeks, people have gotten unpleasant surprises by expecting something for nothing. The same is true with learning management systems, as Amit Gautnam of Upside Learning points out in "The Real Cost of a Free Open Source LMS."

When to learn

 You may be ready to run an employee training session, but your staff may not be all that motivated to make the most of it. That's because, as Nemo Chu writes in a guest post on Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, "For some organizations, knowledge workers simply aren't ready to learn in the workplace. Their Energy Star brains are burning like a 100-watt light bulb and they are more interested in a nap than they are interested in formal training." Chu's solution: mobile, on-demand learning.

The state of the LMS

While Jane Hart and Harold Jarche are questioning the future usefulness of the LMS, their Internet Time Alliance co-contributor Clark Quinn looks at what an LMS system could - and should - be used for in his post, "A Case for the LMS."

Crystal ball

"Futurity is always a risky endeavour particularly where technology is concerned," writes Derek Morrison in The Auricle, a UK-based blog dealing with digital learning. Despite that caveat, Morrison goes on to provide a thoughtful, in-depth look at how technology may enhance learning by 2015. Although we agree that predicting the future - particularly in the digital realm - is far from easy, this post is still worth reading.

The buzz on corporate learning and elearning tools only gets bigger, so if you don't have time to track down all the relevant news yourself, stop on by and we'll pass along what we found. Your suggestions are always welcome, of course, so please post a comment if there's anything you want to share.

Topics: corporate learning, e learning tools, employee training, learning management, learning management system, lms, training development





What to look for in an Learning Management System

Posted by susan reuter on Mon, May 10, 2010

LMS experts, trainers agree on one thing: Usability is key

What is the most important thing to look for in a learning management system?

When we asked a dozen elearning and training professionals this question, we thought it was the kind of query that wouldn't have a simple answer. After all, while everyone has similar needs - employee development, customer education, executive training - they don't have the same needs.

We were flat-out wrong.

Yes, there are plenty of things that people want in an LMS - cost, adaptability, tracking, etc. - but the item at the top of pretty much everyone's list is even more basic: ease of use.

When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Good traininglms, training, corporate education software shouldn't have a large learning curve, or, for that matter, any learning curve. It should be practically invisible. Users should be able to hop right on and begin training without being challenged by a confusing interface. The same goes for trainers: they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to create online training modules or generate the reports and documentation they need.

The director of an elearning consultancy in the United Kingdom summed it up this way: "My life for the last 10 years seems to have been trying to work around illogical LMS functionality that simply isn't user friendly for the learner!"

Our admittedly unscientific survey of professionals on LinkedIn and current Ziiva Prosperity LMS clients was intended to develop a list of starting points for businesses thinking about purchasing an LMS system. While we found a common, overriding theme in usability, we also heard about some other important factors you may want to consider as you conduct your own search for learning management systems.

Here are some of the other key points raised by survey respondents:

  • Implementation: How fast can I deploy the system? How much support will I need?
  • Security: Does the system allow secure remote login? Does it protect proprietary corporate materials?
  • Adaptability: Can the system support various file types such as Flash, streaming video, podcasts, etc.? Can it support classroom elearning, instructor-led training and self-paced web-based training? Can the system be modified to accommodate new or revised learning modules, as well as scaled to organizational growth?
  • Cost: What are the startup costs? What are the long-term costs of service fees and licensing?
  • Data collection: Can the system retain records and monitor learners' progress at the level you need to document employee completion of safety, ethics/compliance and similar classes?

These items should provide a useful starting point for anyone looking into LMS software, but if you have any other issues you want to add to this list, please add a comment below.

Topics: lms, learning management system, learning management, executive training, learning management systems, employee development, web based training, online training