Managing an LMS (Learning Management System) can be daunting as it comes with several challenges that can hinder its effectiveness. From technical issues to budget constraints, LMS challenges can be overwhelming.
In this blog, we will discuss the top 10 LMS challenges organisations face while managing an LMS, and provide practical strategies to overcome them. Here we offer valuable insights to help you optimise your training programs, administer and manage your LMS effectively and deliver top-notch training to your learners.
Read on for more.
Understanding LMS Management Challenges
A Learning Management System provides the ability to create, host and deliver effective, engaging online training and certification programs to internal staff, channel partners, customers or students.
However, managing an LMS can be daunting, especially if you are new to the process.
Understanding common LMS challenges and developing effective strategies to overcome them can help optimise your online training programs.
Here, we will discuss typical LMS implementation challenges and provide insights on how to tackle them.
1. Role Delegation
For an LMS to function, there are crucial roles to be filled by experienced and competent people. There are general administrative duties like registering users and granting levels of access. Then there are instructor duties, which include creating and organising courses.
There should be discussions on who gets to take on which tasks, with defined task requirements and distinct boundaries for what each role covers.
From these discussions, no confusion about who is responsible for each element of running the LMS should take place. With an organisational structure decided on, there will also be accountability that pushes everyone to do their jobs correctly.
2. User Adoption and Engagement
Getting individuals to start using an LMS is a big hurdle to overcome. User onboarding is a multi-faceted challenge, from the leaders and managers who might not be the most tech-savvy to the learners with potentially little interest in engaging with a seemingly complex learning methodology. Therefore, it is crucial to account for the differing needs of each end-user.
An internal marketing-style campaign that presents the benefits of using an LMS is a great way to raise awareness and educate the rest of the organisation. Providing incentives for completing courses is another effective way of enticing learners. It also helps promote eLearning engagement with external audiences.
There is also the practical problem of having a system to add users to the LMS. Familiarity with LMS features can simplify the process.
3. Time and Resource Management
The excitement that comes from implementing an LMS can lead to underestimating the amount of time and effort needed to operate it smoothly. Course creation alone can take up significant chunks of working hours, especially if the courses are customised to fit the requirements specific to an organisation and its departments. This does not end when courses are published. Over time, they will require updating, new material will need to be introduced and older ones retired – this all requires management and resources.
Creating a schedule with reasonable delivery dates is good. Respecting these set deadlines is even more important. Every element that goes into completing tasks needs to be accounted for. It can be all too easy to overlook processes such as getting approval from upper management and gaining enough resources from IT.
4. IT Resource Management
Managing an LMS internally can be very demanding for a local IT department. LMS platforms are large and complex tools which require extensive knowledge. It places specific demands on IT departments that are often unfamiliar with such platforms.
Integration with in-house tools such as your Human Resources Information System (HRIS), server maintenance, technical support, and cybersecurity are all issues that need to be addressed by IT. Just ensuring an LMS hosted on a private server is running and accessible on a range of devices can be taxing.
There needs to be an honest assessment of IT resources to allocate efficiently without compromising on the effectiveness of the LMS. An alternative solution would be looking into IT support from the LMS vendor, which can also include hosting.
5. Content Creation and Publishing
Organisations that prefer to create their training materials should first learn how to use the course creation tools available and adopt eLearning techniques to take full advantage of the technology. Alternatively, organisations can choose to outsource this element.
Gone are the days of delivering a PowerPoint-style online course. Learners are far more media savvy and have come to expect an engaging, interactive and often media-heavy experience. This includes incorporating images, videos and audio, but might also require animations, 3D material games and interactive elements. Captivating training programs can see up to an 18% boost in employee engagement – so the benefits are clear, but the expertise required can be extensive.
Publishing content is the next step that requires familiarity with the LMS publishing tools. Using reference materials is not unusual in modern online learning environments, so third-party content integration with the LMS is another concern.
6. Measuring and Reporting Progress
The only way to know if an LMS is making an impact is to use the data it provides. Modern LMSs have built-in data tracking that records every action taken by users when interfacing with the software. From completing courses and passing tests, plenty of invaluable information is available to administrators and instructors.
The challenge lies in analysing and interpreting the data to produce reports that give an accurate representation. A feature-rich LMS can make this easier by presenting data in graphs and charts.
With reliable reports, an organisation can make informed decisions to focus on strengths and improve weaknesses.
Every organisation has a different set of training goals that can’t be addressed with a one-size-fits-all approach which is why an LMS needs a suite of customisation options. With a degree of flexibility available, the users, administrators and course creators can tailor the LMS design to fit the needs of the organisation and learners alike.
How much control users have over customisation depends on the LMS. An open-source LMS gives free rein to users to change broad aspects of the application, from its aesthetic to its interface (as long as they have coding/programming knowledge), but this can be complex and requires specialist skills. Organisations will likely have to work with customisation restrictions with a paid LMS, which can be limiting, but requires far less technical know-how.
8. End-User Support
Some LMS users will inevitably face problems or have questions about how certain features work. The inability to answer such queries can make the experience of using an LMS frustrating. If the LMS has yet to be fully adopted, there is a good chance adoption will be low if users find it a hassle to use.
End-user support extends to providing training on how to use the more advanced features of an LMS. Organisations that choose to sell their training also need additional support requirements (e.g. payment handling).
A lack of support limits the potential of an LMS to truly innovate learning for learners. Resources must then be devoted to creating and updating guides and having a dedicated support staff who can offer an effective and efficient support experience. This might require dedicated staff to provide email, chat and phone support.
Dedicated experts need to be on hand to resolve complex issues and, as LMSs offer 24/7 access, your support team may need to be on hand round-the-clock too.
9. Data Privacy Compliance
Since 25 May 2018, businesses in the EU that process data have been required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a law protecting personal data. Such data may be collected with the use of an LMS. Organisations that use an LMS must take strict measures to achieve and maintain GDPR compliance.
Security processes must be set to safeguard user privacy, and the organisation must be educated on these processes. Having a data protection officer within the IT department or getting a consultant from a cybersecurity agency is the best way to disseminate such information. A course delivered through the LMS that covers GDPR compliance can also be an effective supplemental teaching material.
10. Integration with Other Systems
Integration with other systems is crucial to operating efficiently and remaining competitive in the digital age. It streamlines operations, reduces friction and improves data accuracy. It also facilitates real-time data exchange and collaboration with partners, suppliers, and customers.
Despite the benefits of integration, it poses several challenges. The most common challenges include compatibility issues due to different technologies and data formats, data security risks, performance issues, high costs, and a lack of expertise.
Using standardised technologies and data formats can reduce compatibility issues whilst implementing data security measures can protect sensitive data throughout the integration process. Conducting performance testing can also help to identify and resolve performance issues beforehand. If available, leveraging APIs can simplify integration by providing a standard way for systems to communicate.
To avoid any issues, training delivery experts can ensure a smooth integration process, especially when specialised knowledge and skills are required.
Overcoming LMS Challenges with a Managed LMS
Considering the number of serious challenges associated with managing an LMS, it can feel overwhelming to attempt to do it all internally. Fortunately, there are some expert LMS vendors out there offering management services along with their products.
A managed LMS offloads all the heavy-duty work of setting up, running and administering an LMS. Instead of relying on a limited private server or in-house office computers that may have outdated hardware and software, the high-tech infrastructure that some LMS vendors have will be more dependable in delivering peak performance at virtually all times, no matter the location. Their access to top-shelf data centres and cloud-computing platforms also ensures high levels of security, much more than a locally hosted server.
LMS vendors know their products better than their customers. They are better suited to optimally configure their LMS with their customer’s demands in mind and provide the exact answers for any troubleshooting concern. With the vendor’s assistance, course organisation and deployment are easier, especially when they already have pre-made content or partnerships with third-party training vendors.
If the difficulties of self-managing an LMS seem too much, opting for the convenience a managed LMS brings is a sensible business decision.
Don’t let the challenges of LMS management hold you back – learn how to succeed with our expert guidance. To ensure your program runs smoothly, we highly recommend reading our blog ‘How to Manage Your Training Program Successfully‘.