3 Ways to Increase the Likelihood of LMS Adoption
The road from identifying your training needs to successfully adopting a Learning Management System can be long and fraught with peril. No matter how good is the system you choose, it has no value if you cannot get the people in your organization to use it and fully learn from it. Luckily, there is a lot that you can do to make LMS adoption more successful and the system more likely to be used by your team. The Brandon Hall Group’s most recent LMS study: LMS Trends 2014: Installed vs. SaaS Deployment[¹] shows that poor usability, mobile incompatibility, and out-of-date appearance are the top reasons for user dissatisfaction.
Therefore, introducing a new technology is not enough. Ensuring the employees engage with it is equally important. Here, are a few tips that you may find useful when rolling out your next-gen LMS:
1. Design matters
If the LMS is unpleasant to look at and use, you will have a hard time getting people to comply with training. Design should be modern, intuitive and clean – as simple as possible. Make sure that all of the following are in place before you launch:
- Mobile-friendly interface: Responsive or other mobile-friendly design can make your employees eager to use new technology. With mobile, they can learn at their own pace, using free time that opens up during their commute or in between tasks. Since one-third of smartphone users prefer their mobile phones for surfing[²], you have the advantage of giving them the interface that they want most. The 2015 study by Pew Research Center shows that 30 percent of smartphone users take a class or access educational content from their phones.
- Clean and easy-to-use design: LMS success also depends on its design. It should be intuitive and easy. Ideally, all the options should be in front of the eyes as soon as users log in. If they spend too much time searching for modules or have trouble accessing the lessons or tests, they are likely to get frustrated. This can result in disengagement with the course material, and they may skip the courses altogether.
- Pleasing appearance: The more people enjoy interfacing with the technology, the more likely they are to use it. Customize the look and feel of the interface to improve LMS adoption. The same applies to the course content. Use interesting content to draw learners in. Illustrations, particularly of people, increase engagement substantially. Use graphs, charts and video content to break up text flow and allow people to easily grasp information.
2. It needs to be compatible with what is already in place
LMS adoption is easier when the new technology fits seamlessly with the existing one. When a new platform has elements that are familiar, the penetration is easier and deeper. It is promptly accepted by the users. Fitting with the existing, however, doesn’t mean the new platform should have been designed on the similar lines. This only means the branding should be consistent. Here are few tips to address the possible compatibility concerns:
- Standardize the language and terminology: Adopt the lingo that team members use among themselves. When people can use the vocabulary they already have to describe your business, it makes it easier for them to internalize new concepts and apply them to their daily work.
- Standardize the branding: Use familiar scenarios and, when possible, real life examples in your learning modules. This makes what you are teaching feel more immediately applicable and relatable. When people understand why it benefits them to master a new skill, they are more likely to engage and work toward this goal.
- Make sure the technology adds to the convenience and expands it reach: When you introduce new technology, ensure it delivers what existing one doesn’t. For instance, if they have asked for deeper training in your company’s Customer Relationship Management, make sure that this is something the LMS delivers. Your team members will appreciate your attention to their needs. Your employees want to learn. In fact, learning and development opportunities were recently listed among the top 10 factors in workplace satisfaction[³]. They will be more likely to learn the skills that you want when you honor their requests for the skills they want to develop, as well.
3. Effective change management is crucial
LMS adoption isn’t just a technological process. It’s also a psychological one. Acceptance of new technology depends largely on demographic and psychological characteristics of users. The new ideas or technologies spread differently in different groups of people. Some are more open to new ideas while some are less open. There’s also a category of people who are very conservative and are not at all open to the new technology. Roger’s bell curve can help you divide your audience into five categories, depending on their openness to adopt new technology.
- innovators – more risk-oriented and open to new technologies and ideas
- early adopters – open to new ideas
- early majority – conservative but open to new ideas
- late majority – fairly conservative and less open to new ideas and technologies
- laggards – very conservative
In the rapidly changing modern workplace, researchers have found that using high-quality, consistent change management procedures leads to higher worker satisfaction and better compliance with new practices. Helping users understand “WIIFM: What’s in it for me?” is a great way for successful technology adoption. Whatever changes you make will need to benefit your learners in a way that is obvious to them.
There are many change management models. One of the most effective and widely practiced is Kotter’s 8-Step Process[⁴]:
Fig: Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change
- Create a sense of urgency: Present information that shows how the LMS will enhance your learners’ professional growth and benefit the company as a whole.
- Bring together a guiding coalition: These will be the people who spearhead the learning transformation. They must be accessible to learners and willing to answer questions and give guidance.
- Develop a strategy: Think in terms of both short- and long-term milestones. Develop an adoption strategy, which works as a marketing plan for your internal audience.The plan should be detailed but also flexible to accommodate changes.
- Communicate this strategy to stakeholders: When employees are told what to expect and kept abreast of changes, they feel more secure. This makes them more comfortable with the new learning environment and taking full advantage of the materials. So, communication leads you to LMS success.
- Empower employees to make actions: Allow them to suggest learning modules, give feedback on effective techniques, and complete at least some of the learning on their own schedule. Individuals crave a sense of self-determination. They will be more eager to engage in training when they have some input into what goes on.
- Generate some short-term wins: A long slog without rewards can lead to a feeling of futility among your team members. Revisit progress on those short-term goals and make sure that team members are on their way to success. Reward people who make outstanding progress or whose suggestions for adoption are especially valuable. By making your employees feel that they are vital and effective, you can make them even more productive.
- Consolidate your gains and work toward further change: It’s important to take things in stages. Don’t drop people directly into an LMS and expect instant adoption. Set small goals and work from your success in each one.
- Anchor your new approaches in the company culture: Make digital learning a regular part of the way that you do business. Reference the courses in meetings, company newsletters, and workplace bulletin boards. Get management engaged in courses, as well, so that workers at every level see that these skill-enhancing practices are valuable to everyone in the company.
Careful attention to your design, implementation and the reactions of your team members can result into a more successful and deeper LMS adoption. By staying conscious of what everyone in your organization wants and needs, you can increase your chances of them happily choosing to use the new system to increase their skills and your enterprise’s success. Adoption becomes easier with a fully integrated, cloud-based LMS, like WizIQ.
[¹] http://go.brandonhall.com/LMS_trends_installed_saas [²] http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/ [³] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/12/15/the-top-10-factors-for-on-the-job-employee-happiness/#ea0afbc44fe8 [⁴] http://www.kotterinternational.com/the-8-step-process-for-leading-change/