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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.


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: lms tips, learning management





LMS — The paradox of choice

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Aug 04, 2017

An image showing a hand tapping several options superimposed over a blurred person using a computer

So you are considering a Learning Management System (LMS). Whether you are a first-time LMS user, or looking to upgrade, you know it will help you keep organized and minimize administrative overload, ultimately helping your company meet its defined goals and realize its return on investment. 

But with 500+ platforms on the market today, which one should you pick?

Sometimes the process of choosing an LMS can overwhelm you before you even begin. Do you need one that manages and tracks online courses or one that administers pre-employment tests? Do you need it to simplify the onboarding process or report on training initiatives?

This problem is not unique to the training industry. People in every market struggle to make decisions when they’re overwhelmed with choices. TVs come in a variety of displays, ports, sizes and price ranges. Smartphones are offered by multiple providers and come in a variety of colors, display options, storage sizes and qualities. While it’s good to have options, studies have shown that too many choices can prevent you from making a decision altogether. 

Overwhelming choices

One of the most famous experiments in consumer psychology, called the Jam Study proved this point in 2000. It found that consumers were 10 times more likely to purchase a jar of jam on display when the number of flavors was reduced from 24 to 6. College psychologist Barry Schwartz calls this the Paradox of Choice. He argues that paralysis is a consequence of having too many choices.

When people feel overwhelmed by a decision, they simply won’t make one at all. Schwartz further explains, “The second effect is that even if we manage to overcome the paralysis and make a choice, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.”

The best way to avoid this problem is to narrow your choices from the start (see our LMS checklist).

Envisioning your dream LMS

That’s easy to say and often hard to do — especially when you’re not sure what you need an LMS to do.

Start by envisioning your dream system.

Does it offload administrative tasks and automate messaging to users? Does it ensure customers can easily understand your offerings and access a support team? Does it automate alerts for compliance needs and track continuing certifications? These tasks fall into three general LMS functions: 

  • Liberate your time
  • Lift the burden of tracking and compliance monitoring
  • Achieve hassle-free results

Identifying your needs and dreaming up your ideal tool are the first steps toward pinpointing your unique LMS system requirements.

Determining your unique requirements

Once you’ve narrowed down your LMS selection choices by dreaming up the perfect system, it’s time to think about your specific needs. Do you lack the administrative skill level to implement, manage and integrate an LMS? Is it important to have the system be installed on your own network? Answering these questions will help you determine which is best: an out-of-the-box product that gets you up and running quickly, or a customized version that gives you exactly what you need. Here are some key differentiators:

SaaS (Software as a Service) LMS
  • Cost effective
  • External hosting
  • Maintenance and updates
  • Fast implementation
Custom LMS
  • Consistent branding
  • Additional capabilities
  • Seamless integration

While SaaS platforms have become increasingly popular, they aren’t the best fit for every organization, says Knowledge Anywhere’s Sara Johnson. Deciding which LMS solution is right for your needs comes down to budget, time frame, and IT capabilities. 

Ready to integrate

Choosing your LMS is half the battle.  People are overwhelmed by the number of options in the $2.5 billion industry, and often take up to six months to decide to place an order.

Narrowing down the number of options is key to choosing the right LMS and avoiding the paradox of choice. If you can envision your dream system and identify your unique needs, you’ll be one step closer to implementation.

Let us help you get started with our checklist: What to know before you commit to an LMS.

Topics: lms tips, lms learning





Five Reasons Your Department Needs Its Own Learning Management System

Posted by susan reuter on Tue, Mar 23, 2010
OK, your company already has an enterprise learning managementlearning management, training costs, corporate training program system. So why would you even consider a separate training software for a project rollout in your department? Believe it or not, there a several instances where using a separate LMS could save you time and money, as well as potentially increase product sales.

Intrigued? Here are five things to take into account when weighing the costs and benefits of sticking with your enterprise training management system for your specific project or using a web-based training funded by monthly costs:

1. Training-dependent launch delays: Can you afford to wait?

You're a department manager in a Fortune 1000 company - or any large organization, for that matter. You want to deploy e-learning tools, either for staff, clients or maybe even your vendors. You've defined goals, set up a project plan, and assembled relevant subject details. You've got a tight deadline.

That's when you hit the bottleneck. Learning departments, training departments, and even IT departments have been decimated by the layoffs of the past two years. Because these departments were probably already operating at low staffing levels, their lead times are longer - much, much longer. (Chances are, companywide workforce reductions didn't take your department's project into account.)

Since training often can't be designed until a product or software implementation is near completion, it's naturally one of the last steps on a project plan. When training gets delayed, it can delay product launches or internal cost-saving software implementations, or even risk expensive compliance issues.

2. Customer training solutions: Do you want your customers to use the same LMS as your employees?

As a product manager, you might want your customers to experience the look and feel of your specific product, rather than the look and feel of the company as a whole. You may want to have customer training data separated from employee training data, keeping each statistic pure. Further, if this is an early experiment into training customers via e-learning, your internal training systems may not have adequate security to allow non-employee access.

3. Compliance: How close are you to compliance deadlines?

Government-imposed compliance deadlines frequently underestimate deployment time lines. What are the penalties and risks of non-compliance? What are the public relations and brand implications of non-compliance?

4. Temporary, quick time-frame training needs: Is the web-based training need permanent or temporary?

Training initiatives can be implemented by e-learning at rollout to quickly train large employee groups. A web-based learning management system that allows fast deployment can be cheaper than hiring consultants to implement temporary training needs into a corporate e-learning system.

5. Customization: Does your company's enterprise LMS meet your department's needs for this project?

Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole can only lead to corporate training, elearning, learning management solutionsfrustration and delays. Working directly with the provider of your department-level LMS cuts through several levels of red tape and allows you to get exactly what you want, when you want it. And because the LMS is dedicated to a specific project, it is faster and easier to handle any upgrades or updates.

    

  

Summary

When faced with one or more of the above issues, a responsible manager may be forced to consider other alternatives to their existing corporate learning system.

What if the opportunity costs or hard costs of delay override the actual cost of the web-based training solution that could prevent the delay? What implications would this have to your project, your department, your boss, or your entire company?

If the implications of delay are large, then the ROI of an alternative training development solution can quickly become significant enough to gain top management support.

A number of vendors offer web-based learning management systems that can be used as a stand-alone LMS, and can eventually interface with an enterprise solution if necessary, when learning and IT staff become available.

A stand-alone, easy to access, web-based LMS supported by a monthly subscription may not only be cost-effective, it may also provide the custom solution for your particular need.

Has anyone out there gone this route? We'd like to hear about your experiences.


Topics: lms tips, lms resources, elearning, learning management system, enterprise





Ziiva LMS Favorite Reads

Posted by susan reuter on Fri, Feb 19, 2010

Here at Ziiva, we're constantly scouring the web looking for great articles about LMS and eLearning. Here are some of our most recent favorites.

1. Learning Tools Directory 2010

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies collected and organized a list of websites and tools to help you, your employees and your clients better and easier ways to learn.

2. 10 Ways to Learn in 2010

The eLearning Coach understands that in this day and age there are a slew of new and exciting ways to learn through searching Web sites and social networking sites to get right to the content that you want without having to shovel through search results that aren't relevant to you.

3. Learning Discovery - The Art of Defining Work Context

A recent post on Living in Learning's blog stresses the importance of learning and training and that it should not be crammed into such a small time frame of someone's work time.

4. Social Learning in the Enterprise in Four Minutes

The Internet Time Alliance produced a great 4 minute video about the ways that work, learning and collaboration have evolved dating back to the times of Socrates and Plato to today.

5. Get Your Audience Pumped: 30 Ways to Motivate Adult Learners

The eLearning Coach has another great article, this one about how to motivate adult learners. Sitting in a classroom or an elearning session can be both intimidating and draining so educators need to make their lessons relevant, interesting and fun.

Topics: lms tips, links, lms resources, elearning