Questions to ask before selecting a training provider for your LMS
If you are about to implement a new LMS in your organisation, it is likely that at least some of your people will need some training, whether this is learning administrators, managers or your L&D team, to ensure that you are making the most of the platform. To do this, you will need to find a skilled LMS trainer to help everyone maximise the benefit of the system in the way they will use it. This article presents some key considerations to help you find the right LMS training provider and get everyone up and running quickly.
One of the biggest contributors to delivering a successful training event is preparation. In software, training preparation isn’t just about designing a comprehensive and well-constructed delivery plan, but ensuring logins and access rights for trainers and trainees are set up on an available instance of the system. How will the learning management system (LMS) installation be configured to allow use and access? What version of the software will it be? Will it contain example users, content, and data for generating example reports?
In advance of the training sessions, do the participants need to complete any pre-reading or pre-activities? When training on an LMS, providers can take advantage of the system itself and use a flipped learning model and use an online quiz to determine prior knowledge and any skill gaps of attendees.
A day or two of training on a new system is an intense learning experience for anyone, and it’s inevitable some areas will be better understood than others. Reinforcing the session with some online content or activities for practice can be done using the learning management system itself. Will there be any follow-up training or activities? How can trainees practice their new skills?
What sort of training environment will be provided? Will you need to use your own site? There are advantages to both approaches. A dedicated training environment will likely have demo users and sample content, but trainees will retain access to their training output and have a familiar experience within your organisation’s site. It is vital that, whichever approach is taken, training output is secure, confidential and not affect any live learners.
When will training be held on the project timeline? Too early in the project and users may have forgotten some aspects of the system before they can use it in earnest; too late and they won’t have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of the LMS required to create an engaging learning environment.
If you have invested in the development of new or modified functionality for your LMS, you may wish to schedule training after these changes are deployed. This might mean training can’t be held until towards the end of the implementation project. Can you have a shorter, dedicated follow-up training session covering customisations?
Will the trainer provide any training documentation or user manuals? Where printed documentation is provided for a training session, attendees can be distracted by the material or lose focus - assuming they can rely on the manual after the session. Where printed documentation is not provided, attendees may feel they are being under-resourced even if comprehensive help documentation is available online.
How much will the training cost? Pricing for training will vary across providers - with costs based on the method and medium of delivery, the number of hours or days of training and the experience and expertise of the trainer. This can make it difficult to compare prices side-by-side, so remember to consider all the factors in determining the best deal.
When considering costs, remember to include travel expenses, and accommodation for any onsite trainers and out-of-town attendees. What are the travel and expense policies of your provider? Agree on reasonable budgets and travel policies such as traveling on off-peak public transport services where possible and staying at moderate (3 or 4 stars) accommodation. If you have a corporate deal with a nearby hotel that you know is reasonably priced and decent quality, you may save money by booking accommodation yourself.
Who will be your trainer for the scheduled sessions? Understanding their experience and expertise will help you to anticipate the quality of the training and corresponding pricing. You might choose to ask for a short bio or a LinkedIn profile of the trainer(s) in advance of the training.
On or off-site training?
Will the training be delivered onsite at your offices or at an external training space? There are advantages and disadvantages of training in either of these locations. When training is delivered onsite, trainees will probably have access to local networks, and therefore, example content and will be comfortable with the location. It will though, have distractions like access to email inboxes or attendees being called out of the training session to attend meetings.
Offsite, trainees get away from their desks, away from distractions and can often be more focused on a training space. Travel time and travel expenses will be higher for an external location, however. What are the best public transport options? Will there be parking available?
In-person or offline?
Will the training be delivered in-person, online, or a combination of the two as a blended programme? Again, there are advantages and disadvantages of each approach with the best choice for your organisation depending on factors such as geographical distribution of trainees, the timing of the project, existing skills and expertise within your organisation, levels of motivation of the learners, and whether your LMS has been customised in any way.
How many sessions are offered as part of the training, and how long are the sessions? Is there any flexibility on agenda items? Will the agenda be sent in advance of the training for your review and edit?
What is the scope of training? Is it tailored for administrators, trainers, course managers, support, and/or end users? How is a variety of skill and experience levels catered for within the session? How many trainees can be accommodated per session? Will there be a lunch break? If so, will food be provided or available for purchase nearby?
For offsite training, will attendees need to bring laptops, cables or port/plug converters? Are there any browsers or plugins (such as Flash) that need to be installed prior to training? Do you require any particular software to be installed on the training laptops/PCs? If you are running the training onsite, what equipment will the trainer require?
By ensuring everything is ready to go before training kicks off, valuable and costly time won’t be wasted in getting everyone up and running in order for the session to begin.
Assessment and achievement
Is there a certificate, Open Badge or certified award offered as part of the training? How is a passing grade assessed? How is a passing grade shared?
Awarding and rewarding training attendees for their time and effort in learning how to use your new LMS will go a long way to encourage not only further learning but for others to undertake similar training.
Ultimately, the success of any training will come down to managing expectations. What are you expecting from the training, and what does the trainer expect to be delivering? By working through the above questions, you can come to a shared understanding with your training provider.
This article originally appeared on the eLearning Industry website.