How do you approach training someone to use an LMS?

Jan 05, 2015

Hi there! I'm new to this community, and have spent the last three weeks or so following along. This is an amazing group of people, and invaluable resource! I'm sorry if this has been discussed before, I searched around a little bit and didn't find much.

At my company we are rolling out an LMS this month - until now, all training has been done in classroom. It's not the most intuitive systems to use and navigate (an issue I see across many LMS), so we're working out how to teach people to at least do the basics -- how have you all handled this before? Any suggestions? 

8 Replies
Cody Salinas

Hi, Sara.

I went through this process in late 2013 as our company implemented the LMS and taught SMEs in each respective department how to use the tools.  

Our goal was to make it easy and fun for SMEs to easily develop content using the LMS' course authoring tools, versus using Storyline or any of the suite of tools I use. If you make a course to teach how to use the LMS or any of its tools, I recommend doing so in the native environment to demonstrate the ease of the LMS.

I started with an in-classroom session (one hour) with all my SMEs to introduce the LMS and the key concepts of why we use it. I followed that with two CBT courses, each of which was a simple as a few video modules and assignments asking each to create a course using available tools.

Shortly thereafter, I had individual sessions to teach SMEs how to use advanced course authoring or video/audio editing tools.

Ant Pugh

One way you could look at this would be to involve the people who need to learn how to use the system to help develop the courses ie. maybe each person could teach a module on the new LMS to the rest of the group.

In my experience, the best way to learn something is to teach others that information - just an idea, but maybe something that could get the participants to take more ownership?

Bob S

Hi Sara,

You might want to consider scaling back the goal a bit. Don't teach folks how to use the entire LMS.   Instead teach them to do the most basic task.... accessing and launching their first course.

Create an extremely simple first filler "course"  (as short as 1-2 screens or a single piece of media/document). While you can sell this as  Welcome course, it's truly just a practice for them to confirm they know how to log in and navigate to their learning.  Let them get the easy win first! :)

After you create this Welcome course, simply provide training on how to access that one course only. That can be a simple screenr-type video sent out in email, webinar, step by step instructions as a job aid, whatever.  Remember.... simple is the key here. You want them taking the first step and seeing quick success in order to gain traction.

Finally.... now that you have them successfully logging in and accessing content you have a choice. Create a detailed "how to" for the rest of the functions. Or make some basic assumptions and leverage what they know now to just create more of a reference tool and less step-by-step instruction. In either case, these tools can take the form of a User Guide broken down by common tasks or even an online course (on the LMS naturally) that they can pursue to learn more.

BTW - I've used this exact approach on several occasions to great effect so I can attest that it does work when part of a fully imagined launch campaign.

Good luck and hope this helps.

Cary Glenn

LMSs seem to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks in elearning. The ones I have seen have poor User Interfaces for the learners and for the developers. I agree with Bob create a screen cast, I would use the Storyline to record it. Show them and then have them practice logging on and finding a course and starting it. Some LMSs have some funky ways of testing so you may want to cover any quirks that apply to your LMS. You might be able to load it into the LMS and then have supply the staff with a link to launch the course (if the LMS allows this) or load the course on to something like GoogleDrive where people can take the LMS orientation.

I would also create a LMS cheat sheet/job aid which could be emailed and printed off showing the steps.

Tim Danner

Most of the LMS training I've led has been one on one, but I've been involved in some small group training sessions. I've also been on the other side as a trainee for a new LMS.

  1.  For me, the most important first step is to, as best as possible, assess those who I'm training. Do they have prior LMS experience? How comfortable are they using technology? What will their role and responsibilities be when using the LMS? If you have a class that contains LMS administrators, users who will just build content, and users who will just teach and manage a course, then you'll want to conduct separate training sessions with content geared toward each group and its responsibilities.
  2. If possible, avoid a large, one-size fits all information dump. Have multiple training sessions that are generally short in length (90 minutes max). In my classroom teaching experiences, full-day/half-day sessions are ineffective and most people retain very little of what they learn, in part because it's too much information at once. Also, there's the use-or-lose factor: it's often days, weeks or even months before people actually start applying what they learned. By then, they've forgotten much of what they've learned.
  3. Make the training as hands-on as possible. Those who are being trained should be working in the LMS along with you and doing what you're showing them in real time. This will greatly help with engagement and retention. However, this method could be difficult if you're training site/system administrators. Another drawback is that you'll have to manage people who stray off course (intentionally and unintentionally) and the level of the learners (those who pick it up slowly vs. those who pick it up quickly). For this reason, it's a good idea to have multiple trainers on hand to walk around and assist people who fall behind or to keep people on task.
  4. Don't over complicate the training. Just focus on what they need to know, beginning with a basic starting point and build toward more involved actions. Most importantly, the training should proceed in a logical manner. You're showing them a process, and that process should move from point A, to point B, to point C, etc. If go from A, to D, then back to B, you're going to lose people and they won't see the connections.
  5. In an ideal world, you'll be able to offer different training environments: face-to-face sessions with groups or an individual, along with online training courses available 24/7. You would also have how-to videos and written help documentation for people to use post-training.
Jennifer Valley

Introducing a "how to" guide or course with some basic navigation would definitely help.  We're facing the same issue (updating to a new LMS that is COMPLETELY different) with one difference, we let others admin! The plan is to require a course that show's how to use the software which will be required for new users and suggested for older ones.  Then offering some "get ready" ILTs/Webinars to get everyone on board.  The change is for the better so we're hoping for a great reception.

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