Being in the e-learning industry for over 10 years, we can vouch for the fact that nearly all learning management systems (LMSs) are bound to underperform at some point or the other.
Be it meeting your client’s requirements, having issues with the software’s compatibility, maintenance, setup, or simply not being able to achieve the ultimate e-learning goal.
Because let’s face it, no one’s really PERFECT.
And with the ever-evolving and fast online learning space, new inventions, and adaptations, avoiding system breakdown can be hard sometimes.
In fact, 67% of LMS users report failure to meet financial and performance objectives according to elearning statistics by Finances Online. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t aim for perfection.
The focus should be to set up your LMS for success by being on the lookout for new and helpful resources that can help you ensure uninterrupted and quality learning.
Recommended: Download our 8-step guide to a remarkable LMS
And that’s exactly what we’re going to cover today. So, hold tight as we present to you some of the best practices to avoid LMS platform failures.
But first, let’s understand why LMS platforms fail.
Why LMSs Fail?
Many companies, organizations, and solo LMS owners are often left dissatisfied due to either the limitations of the LMS or the inadequate services of the vendors.
This is not only distressing but can also lead to misalignment with the actual business goals, needs of your users, and overall reputation.
Here are some reasons as to why this happens:
- Lack of research before selecting an LMS platform which causes problems in the future
- Limited knowledge about the LMS features and functionalities that results in inefficient learning environment
- Complex implementation, execution, and maintenance which takes the focus away from other important aspects
- Compatibility issues with third-party software and integrations that are crucial to extend the functionality
- Current LMS is not ideal to reach the e-learning goals
- Irregular security updates, unsafe back-ups, and using outdated versions put the LMS at risk
- No clarity over the upkeep costs and other hidden expenses further adding to the frustration
- Installing too many additional plugins and add-ons, thus making the platform slow and heavy
All these factors are accountable for the fall of your LMS platform but it doesn’t mean that this can’t be fixed.
Now that we’ve understood why and how most learning management systems cause trouble, let’s look at some ways to improve!
Best Practices to avoid LMS platform failures
Take control of your LMS platform to ensure stability
For many users, a hosted LMS platform might seem like the best option. Given the fact that most of the technical aspects of your platform are taken care of, a hosted LMS may offer convenience and a ton of features but a lot of things are out of your reach.
Consider this – you design your learning programs using the tools offered by your closed sourced LMS and now that tool has been discontinued. This may result in certain areas of your LMS to not function in desired ways or missing course content.
Even if it gets fixed, you’re bound by the options that your hosted LMS can support and wait for the updates!
One of the many advantages that an open-source LMS platform (like LearnDash) provides over a closed source platform (for ex. Thinkific) is that you have more control over how your system works and the elearning content as well.
An open-source platform is compatible with unlimited third-party options. You can decide which tools you want to use and the ones you want to discard.
This will ensure that your LMS platform is not only stable and under control but also scalable and grows with your organization.
Migrate to LearnDash today! Explore our services.
Dig deep into features, trials, and demos
If you’re new at this then before finalizing the LMS platform, it’s crucial to do in-depth research!
Not just with a learning management system, but with any software, it is important to understand, explore and evaluate all features and functionalities of the platform.
You need to factor in all your requirements like setup, hosting, course building, monetization of courses, marketing sales, number of licenses, reporting, analytics, etc.
Therefore, it’s wise to try the product for at least 2 weeks to see if the platform is good for your organization.
Try to make the most of the trials and communicate any glitches that you may experience along the way. Your aim should be to see if the platform can meet all your requirements.
Recommended: Use our scoresheet to pick your ideal LMS
Think from your user’s perspective
While ensuring that the learning management system meets all your requirements, focus on the learner’s needs as well. After all, the success of your LMS depends on them too.
To make sure that the LMS does not fail your learners and their expectations, think of your platform from their perspective. Validate that the platform is easy to navigate, engaging, and responsive and offers the best experience to all the users.
One of the best ways is to develop a beta platform that your users can test. The feedback you receive from this test will help you better understand the needs of your users. The changes can then be inculcated in the final version of your platform.
Pro Tip: An open-source platform offers a lot of flexibility to custom create a feature for your LMS since the source code is open and can be easily tweaked!
Regularly update and back up to maintain the software
Using outdated versions can cause serious harm to the learning platform.
The plugins that you currently use or want to use may no longer be compatible with the current version of the LMS. That’s why all learning platforms keep rolling out newer versions and security updates.
Hence it becomes imperative to update to the latest versions and back up your system in order to mitigate any security threats, loss of precious data, and work with the newest features.
Most LMS platforms and software come with a guaranteed support period but you can also request to extend it. It’s always best to be clear about the pre-sale and post-purchase support.
Lastly, scanning your platform with malware monitoring software will help you in identifying any potential risk to your LMS.
Pro Tip: If you’re using an open-source platform, you can install additional plugins for added security, safe backup, and management capabilities.
Declutter and reorganize to simplify things
Sometimes, we tend to get too excited about all the new plugins, extensions, add-ons, and features that they bring in. There’s a plugin for nearly any functionality that you desire. What’s more, is that they are incredibly easy to integrate and use.
While there are so many integrations to add, installing a lot of them can also cause your system to slow down. This won’t only make your platform bulky and compromise with the speed but also interfere with the overall learning experience.
So it’s best to cleanse your system from time to time. Remove any extra and unnecessary add-ons that may cause damage or threat and optimize your LMS for speed.
Additionally, reorganizing all your important files like license keys, security keys, important shortcodes, zip files, media files, etc. is another great way to save time.
It will help in keeping everything organized and handy when you need them.
Take help from the community and talk to experts
To help with the setup and implementation, most learning management systems come with unlimited resources in the form of video tutorials, documentation, and FAQs to access on the go.
So if you encounter any issues with the execution, you can check the official website, leave a query in the support forums, or even ask via email.
If the problem can’t be resolved with resources available, you can always get in touch with an expert to discuss the issue at hand. One-on-one consultation can resolve all doubts and even help in brainstorming a custom e-learning solution.
Think long term to ensure the success of your LMS
Hoping for your LMS to perform as expected without any clear objectives and planning is like aiming in the dark.
While it may show results at present, to succeed you need to make sure that your LMS is not only easy to manage but also evolves with the dynamic changes happening in the industry as well your organization!
From setup to maintenance, customization, integration, and migration, it is crucial to follow the best practices to develop and deliver effective e-learning and training programs.
So I hope that this article was insightful and helps you in avoiding any pitfalls.
And, if this all sounded overwhelming, we would love to assist you in your journey!
Feel free to comment below if you have any more ideas and let others know as well.