What's the best way to deploy a Learning Management System (LMS) within your company ? Whether it is the first time, or the replacement of an existing LMS.

Daily usage of internet, and rapid evolution of web technologies, in particular regarding interactions between users and information systems, are global trends initiated several year ago and that changed the way digital projects are managed by companies.

Shorter lifecycles of web technologies, and consequently of web applications, combined with more and more transversal applications requiring collaboration between several departments of a company, are also strong trends with a major impact on learning management projects. 

A Learning Management System is a central application dedicated to the management of employees' training and development. This kind of software is more and more widely used by companies, and demand for interactive training materials is constantly rising.

What kind of benefit will result from the deployment of a LMS ?

First conviction: implementation of a Learning Management system has to be done in close collaboration with the internal trainers, those who ensure the employees' training, all over the world and since years. "Training manager" are key stakeholders for this kind of project. They precisely know the target audience, their expectations, their needs regarding training, etc…
A Learning Management System will never aim at replacing trainers, but rather at providing an additional tool for trainers and trainees allowing to manage, deliver and follow-up all the trainings they will be following during their professional career.
Second conviction: deploying a Learning Management System will make possible to reduce the training budget of companies:

- reduction of travel and accommodation costs

- improvement of trainers' availability thanks to the collaborative tools made available within a LMS

- diversification of training materials (interactive videos, dynamic presentations, live meetings, etc…)

- centralization of training material and user statistics (results, regularity of attendance, progress, etc…)


From these two convictions we can easily conclude that learning management platforms can address the needs of all the departments within a company, whether they are technical or administrative, and that every employee will benefit from trainings in order to improve his/her productivity, develop his/her skills, feel at ease in his/her working environment, and evolve among the company's hierarchy.
Every deployment should focus on a careful involvement and follow-up of employees. Training strategies only based on distance learning proved they are not as efficient as blended learning, and very often lead to a lack of motivation among employees. 
Flexibility as a key success factor for LMS deployment.
If the benefits and goals are pretty easy to define, the ways to achieve a successful project are not as easy to identify, and several parameters have to be considered. Improving the skills and knowledge of employees often relies on general and vague concepts, involving difficult modeling and raising a lot of questions:

- how to raise commitment among trainees?

- how to produce qualitative training materials?

- which tools are the best suited?

- etc…


So, where to start ?

If every company is training its employees, whether it is a formal or informal process, using a learning management platform is not as obvious. Companies often only offer some training materials made available on several platforms, and organize some meetings in order to present new products or services. 
The first crucial step is to draw up a precise inventory or status report of trainings among the company, and identify which departments are the most demanding ones. A first study could also make possible to identify some potential stakeholders for a deployment project.
Every deployment project should be managed in a transversal way, involving all the departments of the company so that all of them share a common agreement on the needs and expectations regarding the LMS to be deployed. These requirements will then be prioritized and shared with the IT department in order to add some technical requirements related to the IS/IT environment of the company.
The vast majority of companies, organizations, or universities having deployed a LMS over the last years carried out this initial inventory either because they had no training platform or because the one they had was little or not at all used. 
Once all the requirements have been clearly defined, as well as the technical environment, the best suited tools have to be chosen: one single tool or several ones, Open source or proprietary, etc…
This article will be followed by other ones related to the deployment of a LMS inside a company, and is based on our own experience. Our next article will be related to the scalability provided by Open Source technologies.
Our blogs aims at sharing our experience regarding e-learning among companies using Opigno LMS, a training platform based on Drupal and launched in 2013.
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