learning management system LMS

LMS Administrator How To Guide

Being a LMS administrator is a thankless job. They are the first person people contact when something goes bad and when something goes well, they are often forgotten.

If you are a LMS administrator, I want to personally thank you.  I know that it is a job that rarely gets the recognition it deserves.  I know that it is the first place someone goes when something goes wrong and yet, rarely appreciated when something goes right.

I feel your pain, I really do.

That said, you shouldn’t feel alone.  Forget the anguish, because at this very instance someone out there is starting their first day as a LMS administrator.  They may have been hired because of previous experience.

They may have been moved into the role from another role at the company.  Heck, they may be doing another role and been told you have to do this, because of downsizing.

Regardless, they are entering the position either having the knowledge to succeed quickly or having nearly no knowledge and expecting the same.

Hence this guide.  It won’t make you an elite expert in the field, but it will provide you with some insight to hit the LMS hard and deliver results.

Tip #1

Learn the system.  Seems simple enough, but rarely maximized to its potential.  Contact your  support person or sales person at the LMS and have them provide you with training.  Don’t just have them give you a guide, no one reads it, least of all them.

If there was a previous administrator there, tell them you are new and you need training.  Don’t back down on this. A good LMS vendor will provide it free of charge.  After all, the thing they don’t want is repeated calls to tech support, which costs them money.

Mention this is you have to – if they still won’t budge, get your director involved.   I’ve had numerous administrators including newbies and replacements, and always got the replacements free training.

Tip 2

What are the tasks you will do repeatedly?  As you learn and use the system, you will soon come to realize that there are certain tasks that you will do over and over again.  I’d love to tell you that there are systems out there that have a “favorites” or “tasks” section whereas you can save those common tasks to save time, but alas the number out there is countable on one hand.

As such, it is up to you to take charge.  You will find yourself doing certain tasks over and over again.  In fact, many administrators rarely use the entire admin section (depending on the platform), so you will find your favorites.

Here are some favorites err items administrators tend to do –over and over again

  •  Assign users to groups
  • Assign courses to users /groups, so that X sees only Y courses, and V sees a different list of courses
  • Create a learning path/curriculum path and assign users and content/courses
  • Reports – Create and run them
  • Create and setup e-mail notifications
  • Create and post events, i.e ILT or Webinars on the calendar
  • If you charge for content, assign pricing and use e-commerce
  • Reporting – Look I mentioned to again, lucky you..
  • Send reports to people who want them on a weekly basis and never read them (yes, I’m being cynical here, but how often is this true?)
  • Upload users
  • Some administrators are tasked with creating courses either within the LMS if it exists or via an authoring tool and then uploading them into the system.  Often they are provided ZERO training on how to create a course – which is really a shame!
  • And so on.. oh, did I mention reports?

Your list could be different.  You may have to repeatedly create profiles or send out passwords.  You may have to post weekly announcements.  Regardless, you will soon come to realize favorite (a kind word for it) tasks you have to do each week.

Tip 3

Remember that support person? Get their name, phone number and e-mail address.  This is your new BFF, until they ignore you then you want to call the salesperson who sold the system to your company.  So, get that person’s name, e-mail address and phone number.

Being polite is important, but if they are ignoring you or not calling back or telling you thing and doing nothing, polite has to go out the window.  Because your learners, whether they are employees, customers or both, only see the system as the company’s – i..e you, and not Vendor ABC.

As such, if something goes wrong it is your fault.  That is reality and frankly it can make any administrator cry or demand free movie tickets.

Support on the LMS side, it is worst it has ever been.  The items I mentioned above about not returning calls, having the admin repeatedly call the vendor, the vendor ignoring calls and so on – is quite common and that is too bad.

While it is true that everyone thinks their issue deserves high priority, whether it does or not, there will be times when yeah it should be #1 in the rotation to be fixed.

If the system is constantly crashing that is a high priority.  If the system goes down during prime time access, that is a high priority.  If you can’t do this or that in your system and it is something you do often,  yeah that is high priority.

So,  as a precaution to the “ignore” scenario, find out who the head of customer support/service is at the vendor. Get their number and name.  Ignore e-mail, because they may ignore you.

Then call them.  If you have to do it repeatedly, do so.  After all, there job is to ensure top support and if your system isn’t working and no one is returning your calls, then they of all people, should help you.

Tip 4

Create a administrator group.   This rarely occurs, and yet with sites such as Linkedin, having a LMS administrators group makes so much sense.  You don’t have to share proprietary information, but you could share problems, issues and difficulities.  There is nothing better than knowing someone else out there is having the same challenges.

You can also see if your LMS vendor has their own Linkedin or Forum group and join it.  Some vendors post their updates and fixes deep within their sites, making it nearly impossible to find it.  Some use a knowledge base, which rates right up in the user friendly as the person who works behind the counter at your local gas/petrol station.

I have found that sharing information is the best way to resolve and relate.  It should be universal, i.e. the LMS side of the house, but if the vendor won’t do it, then by golly (love the word), move forward and do it yourself.

Bottom Line

This guide provided only four tips. In reality, it could go on for lots of pages, heck even a mini book.  Why? Because there is so much to learn and just assuming someone can figure it out or gather what they need from the vendor is an utter farce.

You wouldn’t expect someone you just hired at your company to do whatever job to know everything there is about the job, especially the company’s culture, so why expect someone who is new to being an administrator to be instant wizards on the system.

The LMS administrator is the key to achieving success with your LMS.  It is not the vendor.  It is them.

Because they are the ones involved in the day to day operations.

And as anyone knows,

when the operations fail

so does the system.

E-Learning 24/7

please excuse fonts, colors, etc – i.e. the lack therof, this was created in the WordPress app, which is not that great.  TY.

 

 

 

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