Becoming an LMS Administrator

Hello. I recently learned from my supervisor that we will be getting a new LMS (not sure which one, but currently have Canvas). Our current LMS administrator also just announced that they're leaving the company. I'm going to be filling in in that role.

I've built online courses and have some HTML/CSS/JavaScript knowledge, not a lot, and I'd like to hear from all of you about what LMS administrators need to know and how best to go about learning it. I know a lot will be on-the-job, but I'd like to get up to speed quickly and the admin who is leaving has made clear they won't be much help during the transition.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you heroes!

6 Replies
Julia Koller

Hi Brian, that's a challenging position to be in, but don't be intimidated. You'll do fine. I went through a similar transition about 6 years ago. If it helps, think about it as if you are administering your own website, only with an extra layer of APIs to talk to courses and store student information. Based on my experience, I've listed what I felt the key items have been in my roles, in order of importance: 

  1. Where possible, and when necessary, don't shy away from reading as much LMS documentation as you can (both during the evaluation phase of the project and after an LMS has been chosen).
  2. Build a good working relationship with your LMS vendor so that you have support for learning how it works, and quickly troubleshooting inevitable issues.
  3. Also depending on the size of your business, you may need to build relationships with your IT, IT Security department, and HR IT,  to help with user management and data security.
  4. Depending on your business' needs, study up on AICC, the different versions of SCORM, Tin Can / ExperienceAPI / CMI5. For this, google searches bring up great results. Even Wikipedia is a good source of basic information there. 
  5. If you haven't already, create a free account with and then you can start exploring what the admin side of an LMS looks like. 

I hope some of this helps. Best of luck!


Karl Muller

Julia has provided some sound advice.

In our organization I'm part of the the team responsible for the design and development of our online courses,, and I'm also the LMS administrator.

Some of the things I'm responsible for:

  • Create new courses and upload SCORM packages.
  • Keep existing courses updated with most current versions of course content.
  • User management: create users, assign them to groups and classes, etc.
  • Creating reports for management.
  • Assist users to resolve access and account issues.
  • Managing and testing LMS upgrades.
  • Resolving technical issues with vendor.

We have step-by-step Standard Operating Procedures for all of these tasks. Well, we do now. There were none when I started, and the previous LMS had already left so there was no handover at all.

My best resource was an excellent user guide provided by the vendor. 

LMS Admin occupies about 25% of my time, but in large organizations it can be a full-time job.



Brian McCann

Thanks for sharing, Karl! Is your step-by-step SOP something you could share with me, or the user guide provided by the vendor? I understand not all LMS are the same, but it would be nice to see what others have put together so I can model what I create to be helpful at my organization.

Karl Muller

Hi Brian, Unfortunately I'm not able to share those documents, and they a very specific to our LMS.

Broadly speaking the SOPs are divided into these categories:

Learner Management: registering learners and assigning them to courses, etc.

Other user management: ADMINS, instructors, managers. Setting up access privileges and responsibilities. 

Course Management: Creating and setting up a new course. Importing and updating SCORM packages, version tracking, etc.

Reporting: various reports for management.