Hello World!

It is me, LMS, yes, that is right, LMS and believe it or not, your lucky day is today or yesterday or sometime in the deep past. Regardless, you are there.

Breath.  You did it! All done. Time to kick off the shoes, sit back, order a beverage and let someone else do the heavy lifting for a change.

Hahahahhaa – I’m kidding.

Going live is just the next step in the process. The whole idea of if you build it they will come, isn’t true. Nor is the “we gave everyone a password and are making training mandatory and that will get them in there,” nor “our customers will love this easy access to their free or paid online learning courses.”

All of the above sound wonderful.  But this blog is about reality, not fantasy or theory.  Plenty of sites will fill your mind with the above garbage and get you to sit back and relax.

The question is how successful do you want your system and e-learning to be?  For this post, it is about the LMS. 

Clearly, there has to be courses/content involved, I mean that is a key component in any LMS, otherwise why have people use it? 

And before you hear the people go, “well an LMS is just for courses, and that is soooo yesterday,”, let me say this – if should be many things to many different folks, not just a course holding place, nor just taking courses/content, but do a lot of stuff.

And today offer lots of capabilities. That said, if you want to remove the course piece entirely, then why do you need an LMS? Plenty of social community sites out there with some analytics and cheaper than an LMS.

I’m not going to go into my diatribe about the types of courses and content that works, that gets folks in there, and has them going back again and again into the course(s).  That has been covered in other posts.

Rather this is on what you need with the Live LMS – this is after you have tested it, and it is truly live – with humans entering it or about to enter it. 

On a side note, please always Q&A your system before you launch it. Toss a course or two in there and test it out within the LMS.  You should have at least two people doing Q&A, four at the max.  No offense to any vendor, but I always did Q&A prior to signing off and saying yep, all done. 

The Name

What is it? What are you calling it? Widget LMS? 

Might as well prepare for a flop, with people asking what an LMS is. Calling it Yourcompany online?  Ewww.  Nothing says no excitement like that.  Part of getting a name will in return get folks intrigued as part of the whole announcement (covered in a bit).

Good ones include Yourname University (sounds academic and professional – hmm..).  Yourname learning community (I’m intrigued what does it include?).

Zong, Whirl – be honest, you would see what this is, especially if it came from training, L&D.  HR? Forget about it, they would be lining up on the streets – err virtually.

The point of it all, is to give it some oomph. I’d rather see YourbusinessU then our name learning system.   A benefit of giving it a name, is that you will use this name in meetings, with learners and with promoting/marketing your system, whether it is internal or external or both.

When you have LMS as part of it, or state to folks outside of your department, LMS, they often give you the deer in the headlight stare, followed by what is an LMS.  Then, you spend too much time explaining it and even then, you still may get, “can you explain that again?”

The Teaser

Teasers rock.  Oh and they work. I mean you could have the worse product, whatever out there, and if your teaser is done right, people will at least check it out once.

I guarantee you have seen one teaser in your life.  If you watch the news, you see it often. “Find out next, how one man grew a watermelon the size of a house and moved in.”  That story may not be to the end of the newscast, but you would watch and wait for it.  I mean, did he turn the seeds into some type of green energy?

Teasers show up in movie preview campaigns.  A teaser on the net that is different than the one in the movie theater preview that it is different than the one on TV.  It builds excitement and intrigue.

Teasers are just one promotional tool, but they are effective.

You will want to create a series of teasers before you go live.  And if you are live, you can still develop a teaser campaign for your next series of courses, or a course, or a new social function, etc. 

Here is an example of a solid LMS teaser campaign

  1. It’s coming. A new way to experience your learning. Fast. Simple. Fun.  Are you ready?
  2. It’s nearly here. Engagement. Learning. Fun. On the go.  
  3. The countdown has begun.  Five.. four…Learning for the 21st century.

And tada! –  See some cool words, “Fun”, “Engagement” “Learning” – you don’t want folks to think you are handing out movie tickets or selling cookies, so learning needs to be in there.   The goal is to build-up the premise.

Announcement

A few key pieces to include

  • When is it going live?  Date, time (identify time zone, if applicable).
  • What is the URL – where do I go to access it
  • Your name – uh, not your name, the LMS name you gave it
  • Benefits – Right to the Point and Short. A few sentences, go four max.  Think of selling it – you are selling the idea to your user base.  If you say, it is a way to do compliance training, I think I just heard a balloon go flat.
  • What they will be receiving soon (A cool packet of stuff or something like that – sounds better than a word document or PDF or some links.  Plus you can toss in  that as an added bonus – they will be entered into a drawing to win ABC.   OR you can start some gamification angle – take or stop by and visit blah blah and you will receive 250 points (they will wonder what is this.. then u folllow up in lots of ways. Or visit blah blah this next week and have a chance at winning XTY.
  • Your name – yes, now your name, but this is at the bottom of the announcement, and is a way for folks to contact you for more information, I’d have your admin as the POC. If they need beyond more, then you. Or you may be doing both roles, in that case, you.

The goal here is to build excitement and curiosity. The less people who know what you are up to (excluding your boss, execs and whoever else is a must know), the cooler you can do things.  

 If you are allowed to send text messaging, then just a quick – this is from blah blah, please visit this link to learn more about something new from ZTY.  Make sure to include your company name and let folks know its not spam.

Lastly, ignore the whole 20something pitch, focus on the audience as a whole.  Now this doesn’t mean, you pitch an announcement like, “Feeling tired? Wish there was a way to fall asleep fast? With XYZ learning, now you can! Find out in two weeks, how you can feel alive and awake after a good night sleep.  Brought to you by our training department.”

Spin City

To build intrigue, I sometimes called my project the  LMS prior to launch and official name, project ZBC in my teasers.

  My favorite was project Capricorn One (classic late 70’s movie and a dream to conspiracy folks regarding outer space).   Thus, with Project Capricorn, who knew what that could be.. it sounds so..so.. interesting..

Announcement is done, now keep it going:

Include some testimonials – get these from your stakeholders.  Add a couple of various level employees if this is for internal. Having the CEO tell people how awesome it is, means nothing to the front line employee. 

Honestly, if I was a manager, I couldn’t care less what my CEO told me, unless I was in a meeting with her and then I would agree wholeheartedly with a nod.

External is really simple.  A few customers is all you need.  Again, get me on edge about seeing what this is, and why I should use it.

The world is on the go, use it to your advantage.

After the announcement, on the date of going live – make it a big deal.  Cake for everyone!  Maybe that works, but give it a funtastatic experience. 

This is going to be cool. Be unique. Set the company ablaze with real world learning, whether you are in the workplace or on the road (unless hourly/union, then sorry, in workplace).   B2B/B2C equally make it a big deal. 

After all, e-learning is brand new to so many people and many who may have saw it in the past, may have a bad view of it.  Your LMS and learning is going to be waaaay different.

Create a campaign

You will need to do this and stay with it. Over the course of a year, you should have two campaigns. Then one going forward at least.    Too many, people just roll it out with an email announcement that contains lots of boring details, too long to read and too long to care.  

With a campaign you create some key points to build upon throughout it.  Propaganda techniques (which are used everyday in advertising), work really well.

  Especially Plain Folks – just like you and me, Bandwagon – everyone is doing it so should you.

In your campaign decide how to target your messages. 

Don’t just rely on one form – ie. sending out an email.  Maybe you have a video on YouTube (private access) or Vimeo (private channel).  Maybe it is a newsletter.  Perhaps something social.  What about SMS?

For customers, lots of hip ways to go about it. Send something out in the mail to each and everyone of them. 

Can’t afford a big campaign like this, no worries, email it, utilize the LMS in a new way to get folks in there and at the same time, use it as part of your campaign (this can be done for internal too).  

A campaign doesn’t have to cost a whole lot. In fact, you could do a great job for under $100, I mean you have that Walla-Whirl (your LMS name) right? 

For B2C, use social to your advantage.  Find out what works and what doesn’t.  This is trial and error. But, unless you try, you will have no idea on what works.

And speaking of which, for internal or B2B, it is a try approach too.  Some things will work, some won’t, but you will get the data back to figure it out.   

You have to think out of the box.  If training has an internal reputation of being stuffy or poor, change that with this new learning solution.  If your B2B training is under utilized, that LMS can do wonders.  I did 500K in under 9 months with my e-learning program and my LMS was the hub and star!

Survey – but give me something

I’d always do a survey, but half way down the road.  And I’d go cluster sampling for that.  If you want to blast it to everyone that is fine, but make it anonymous and state it as so.  Find out what people like and don’t like. 

Toss in some questions not related to e-learning or T&D.

What are your interests?   What food do you like? Whatever. 

The point of it all, is to delve into the mind of your learners and pinpoint some things that you can utilize for future campaigns.

If a chunk of your employees love to stare at the stars (not movie ones),  then create a mini campaign (2-3 months) around the spin of stars and star gazing.  Toss in a free pass to the local observatory or planetarium. Or a couple of movie passes to the latest Star Wars. 

Bottom Line

When I hear someone say to me their system failed to attract a sustainable user base, after digging deeper, I tend to find the issue isn’t the system, nor the effort of the L&D or training department.

The issue is with how it was pushed out to their audience and what was done or more importantly, not done afterwards.

Learning is a a two way street, and for you and your team (if applicable) this means coming up with new ways to build interest by using marketing techniques that anyone can learn.

If I can do it, I know you can too.

You just have to be willing to try.

And if that fails, move in with the guy who lives in a Watermelon.

Who knows. His next could be a project carrot.

E-Learning 24/7

No blog next week, due to vacation. Blog the following week of July 11th.