April 20, 2014

8 Signs That Your Learning Management System (LMS) Implementation is at Risk

Signs of LMS riskThere is a lot of effort required to implement a Learning Management System (LMS), such as analysing requirements, engaging a vendor and getting the LMS ‘online’. The potential for failure during the early stages of a LMS project is obvious. An often unrecognised risk to LMS projects is the sustain phase of the LMS implementation.

Here are eight (8) signs that can indicate your LMS implementation is at risk:

  1. There are no established KPI measurements: Key Performance Indicators should be agreed and established during  LMS implementation so that success against criteria can be measured and reported to the executive on a quarterly basis. KPIs can include some of the monitoring, reporting and activities listed below.
  2. There are no regular monitoring of LMS use: Run a weekly report of how many people have accessed the LMS, and compare weekly figures. Run regular communication campaigns and use LMS access figures to get a sense of what kinds of comms activities drive the greatest traffic to the LMS.
  3. There are no regular reporting and actioning of e-learning non-completions or failures: Run weekly reports, and use the ‘chain of command’ to encourage staff to complete e-learning. See my blog post Fail to Follow Up E-Learning Non-completions at your Peril.
  4. There are no regular review of e-learning courses: Content will become redundant or obsolete. Be sure the e-learn owner (often the Subject Matter Expert) conducts 3-6 monthly reviews of the content. Be sure to update content in a timely fashion, otherwise it can look to the learner that you don’t care.
  5. There are no regular review of meta-data: Meta-data includes course descriptions, links to associated courses, resources etc. Meta-data is vulnerable to becoming out of date, so be sure to conduct an annual review (at least).
  6. The LMS hasn’t been upgraded for over 2 years: This can be a big issue in relation to platform stability. It also means your users aren’t benefiting from new LMS features and functions.
  7. Technical limitations recognised at implementation haven’t been followed up: What might have been an identified issue at implementation may resolve in the fullness of time without the knowledge of the LMS administrator. Be sure to keep abreast of organisation-wide IT initiatives.
  8. There has been no further discussion on LMS strategy, such as mobile: Sometimes the effort of implementing a LMS is so large that fatigue sets in and any capitalising of effort and focus is lost. Bring together a ‘learning council’ that meets regularly to discuss learning and technology requirements and future direction.

The Bottom Line

Implementing a Learning Management System is a commitment ‘for life’. It requires ongoing maintenance. It requires the LMS team to be business savvy and forward focused. It requires the LMS administrators to do menial activities, such as regular monitoring, reporting and testing platform updates. Be sure to leverage your LMS as an ongoing strategic driver of organisational learning.

NOTE: Due to the rapid progression of technology and web-based platforms, and the rapid change of internal business and learning focus, it is my current view that a LMS has a 3 year shelf life before it requires a significant upgrade or change to a different LMS.


  1. Jeff Walter says:

    Thanks for the great article. I think your first sign, “No KPIs” is the most important and I consul all my clients to track KPIs that drive the economics of their businesses (i.e. performance of training vs. untrainined staff) rather than more training related KPIs (i.e. number of course enrollments). FYI I’ve forwarded to our over 2,500 LMS clients at http://www.latitudelearning.com.

    • Alison Bickford says:

      Hello Jeff. Thanks for your comment, clarifying KPI measurements. Thanks also for your support, forwarding my blogpost to clients. Best wishes in your endeavours. Alison

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