I want to be the first in a long line of folks to congratulate on getting that new LMS. If you haven’t selected one yet, don’t worry – feel free to re-read my above congratulatory statement once you do.
Because in just a few hours those high fives can easily disappear unless you remembered about “training”.
Whoa, you say. Training? I thought this was online learning? Yes, yes it is, but you still need to be trained on how to use the LMS. I’m talking to you – no, not you – the other person – the administrator and the person who is either running the division/dept/area, etc. for training/L&D/e-learning or whatever.
I know you are saying to yourself, well they are a LMS vendor in e-learning so they must rock on training. I’d respond, please you are making me laugh too much. Stop it. No, stop it. : )
Seriously though, training is a major component when it comes to a LMS and its live date. Before I jump into the approaches, vendors use, it makes sense to provide a brief list of jargon, I will be using from a time saver standpoint.
Any vendor will allow the person running the whole thing or even a committee be on the walkthrough call along with the administrator. Personally, I would try to stay with whoever is your main administrator for the LMS and if you want – you also on the call. Too many people on a walkthrough call or sometimes referred to as a webinar or series of webinars is a nightmare.
When it comes to training we all have ideas on what is good and what is bad, but as with anything it is easy to assume that the people providing the training to you, your team, administrators, etc. are going to be exceptional at what they do – because, uh you know, its e-learning.
I’d love to tell you, yes..you are so right. But, then I would also be selling a bridge to you for $3..it’s in Brooklyn.
The reality is that training on your new LMS can be thrilling and also irritating if the person or persons who provide the training are not really trainers – and surprisingly many are not.
The ILT Way
If you are receiving your training via ILT (F2F) then this section will be extremely crucial for you, since on site training is not as simple as walking into a room and starting to train on the system.
Questions to ask your LMS vendor about their training
I know from first hand experience that having a LMS vendor provided training under the assumption they really know how to train is an exercise you do not want to live through. Back in 2002, I saw it up front and personal and trust me after that, I said no more – actually I said something else, but hey its a PG blog here.
So to eliminate any future awful scenarios, here are a list of questions you want to ask your LMS vendor regarding training. Make sure to write them on something and send it to them, rather than ask via the phone. As you know, sometimes the “uh, I never said that”, can zing you – so stop it before it rears its ugly head.
a. How many trainers will be in the session? If one – then the room at max should be eight people. If two, 8-12 people per session – remember this is using a computer/laptop
b. Are they actual trainers with training experience or sales folks/IT folks – this makes a huge difference.
c. Do they include real life scenarios and exercises for the administrators Or is it just following a manual/guide?
d. What do they use as an evaluation form? i.e. Likert five point or seven point, with one point being N/A or Don’t Know. A Likert scale uses statements not questions.
Also when they offer a 5 or 7 point do they define each number? i.e. is it 1-5 with one being poor and five being excellent and then the attendee has to guess what 2,3, 4 mean?
Or are they defined already?
e. Do they include a QRC or help sheets for an attendee to take back with them?
Bonus: if a QRC whether it be tabbed or not, can it be attached to the attendee’s monitor?
f. Do they actually have a training dept with someone who runs training or not? You want the former, even if it is a department within IT.
g. Who has created the materials? Someone with knowledge of say ADDIE or Gagne? Basically, an ID person – which btw can be the person who is running the training department/division.
h. When the attendee leaves what are they provided? Do they get the trainer’s biz card with their e-mail address and phone number?
Can they contact this person to ask training questions without any having you (the client) pay for it?
i. How many days is the training? Do you provide enough information that the administrator or whomever is attending the training could train others?
j. Do you include a sandbox/lab server so that the administrators/whomever is in the training can practice out of the office or at times they are allowed to do during company times? If yes, when do you refresh the server?
k. What is your approach when you do the training? Do you list the objectives on the board or somewhere that is visible to the attendees at all time? Do you include an agenda – that is visible to attendees or is it something that is just handed to them?
When do you take breaks? Example: you train for 50 minutes then break for 10. Average attention span of adult learners is 45-50 min – anything above that they zone out.
l. How many years of experience does the trainer have?
m. After the training is complete, do you offer online walkthroughs for a refresher?
n. Once training is complete, what is your post evaluation methodology? Do you check back at 3 months, and then 9 months? Or 3 mths and then 6 mths? Is this included in the pricing?
o. Lastly, how is the training setup? i.e. beginner sessions, intermediate and then advanced sessions OR is it a combination of beginner, intermediate and advanced?
Rules of the Road
My preference was online, it saved costs – typically it is included at part of your setup, so no additional cost was needed, it included myself (if I wanted to listen in) and my administrator and that was it.
If you want to have multiple people on the call – best way to do it – is just have them in one conference room, but only have the administrator/or you are a combo ask questions. When a vendor tells you that up to X can be trained online and you have have more than that and they know it because everyone is asking questions – that will go over as well as a ton of bricks on your laptop.
After your training is wrapped up whether it is F2F or online, have a strategy in place on how you plan to train the rest of your company. Some folks like the extension of more ILT via departments, but my preference even in all sectors including B2B, B2C, employee, education and even association was to have a step by step demo online for them – it is easy to setup and create and will save you some pain.
I also loved using a tabbed mini guide attached to the monitors of learners. Even if they were customers – clients they got some of them. Employees loved them. Think about it, your desk has stuff all over the place, how are you going to remember where that cheat sheet or guide is located?
My mini tab guide, typically had five tabs, each tab color coded to represent something, lets say navigation and then when the flipped to that tab it had three things or four to remember – one item per line. I prefer three – easy to remember and retained. I also liked having icons – you know a light bulb – for “idea”, etc. Once you get the guides you simply have them attach to the monitor. There are plenty of great companies out there they can create these guides at a nice savings for you.
The worst thing you can do is assume people will go online and use some manual or something you posted on there – to read. It is not going to happen.
I also had a QRC – cheat sheet online with icons and some screen captures. In addition to it being online, I included direct links to downloading Adobe Reader (or whatever you use) for PDF, access to latest Flash download if needed, a helpful print button (you would be surprised how many ppl have no idea on how to print a page on the net), access links to the latest versions of the browsers and a few other items.
Basically you don’t want to leave anything open for interpretation. To be on the safe side, I always sent out an e-mail with the info as well, inc. the links on where to go. So when the person says I never saw it – you can say – yeah you did. If you use Gmail take a look at online software that tracks when a person opens up the e-mail and what links they click. I know they also have something like it for Outlook.
Training can enable you to achieve success or set you up for immediate failure.
But don’t worry, when it goes bad – your learners won’t be calling the vendor.
They will be calling you.
And who has time for that?
Note: I am in Milan, Italy this week speaking at DConf. Next week, I’m on vacation so there will be no blog – week of the July 4th. The next blog will be on July 8th. Also please note this is written on the WordPress app so some of the text might be squished.