What makes a good LMS deployment ..?

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

We’re pretty experienced at getting LMSs up and running for new customers. But what makes a good deployment?

Once we gain agreement with a new customer that they want to set up a Totara LMS site, we have to agree some basics.

Where will it be hosted?

We offer customers a choice, they can host their site in our UK based data centre, or we can host it on their local IT infrastructure; but what’s best?

Typically, we prefer to host on our UK servers. Why? Well basically its more accessible to our development team. They can do any site configuration, maintenance, updates [etc] much more quickly. We can troubleshoot your queries more easily when we have full access. When we need to perform a security update, we don’t have to work through (what can be) time consuming change processes that can delay the update by days if not weeks. There are no IG issues; we work to your local IG policy, ensure your data is secure, and only load data as required so we are not holding any data that is considered sensitive that we don’t need for day to day operations. So why? …it’s just more accessible to to our techies.

Does a hosted site cost more? Yes, a little bit but not much more. Our maintenance plan is less expensive for hosted sites, so it balances out. But if you want to host it locally, no problem!

What else?

Well, we need some clear plans. We always provide an outline project plan for deployment that we can tailor for you, with regular contact and consultancy throughout. You will know what we are doing and when, what is already done, and what’s yet to be completed. Transparent and fluid.

It all starts off with a project planning workshop.

We’ll be there, and we expect key members of your LMS team to be there as well. It will take most of the day but at the end we will have a clear project plan with agreed dates and milestones. We will know who is doing what and when. We will have agreed what legacy data to load for the initial deployment, where the staff data is coming from and how it will be loaded. Did you want single sign on? We’ll agree this at this meeting as well.

Following this workshop, you will have a copy of the plan and some templates to populate – we will help of course, but at this stage our main activity will be getting your new LMS built, the design applied and be making it all shiny for you. Part of this ‘build’ will be making the LMS look like right. We will work with you to make the colours, layout and design reflect your organisational identify and /or brand. The most successful sites look like the corporate website and /or internal systems.

Once we have the templates populated we’ll also load all your staff and and legacy data. Then we will complete some testing to make sure it’s all working as it should and your data has loaded correctly.

And of course, we will send you weekly updates and make sure we speak to you throughout this process.

It’s time for training!

When we arrive at your office to train your admin team you will be trained on a live system, ish.

It will have all your staff data loaded. Their previous course completions loaded. We may even have your compliance reports for any ‘all staff’ topics ready for you to review if we have agreed this at the planning workshop.

On this day you will learn the basics about administrating your new Totara site and stop using your legacy LMS.

We will then go home. It will have a been a long day. You will have homework(!). Your homework will have a deadline being the second training day. Yes, we come back about two weeks later to teach you the more advanced stuff.

Following the second day we then come back at agreed intervals for coaching sessions that focus on specific aspects of the system and your plans for rollout to your staff and additional functionality. You might only go live with centralised training for your core topics. But over the first year we can help you roll out self-service, design and deploy staff appraisal, create learning pathways and more. This then continues into your subsequent years.

How long does this take?

We will be publishing a case study soon about a recent deployment but as a teaser these were their milestones that we met. A typical deployment from agreement to ‘go-live’ is about 8 weeks.

Week 1 - Project Planning Workshop.

Week 4 - Access for 500 users to complete core eLearning and UX testing.

Week 8 - Access for all staff to complete their mandatory training with compliance reports.

Week 12 - Full real time compliance reporting for all core mandatory topics.

So in summary…

  • A rock solid project plan that works for both sides

  • Agreement on hosting and IG policies, data etc

  • Agreement of;

  • staff data and where /how it will be loaded

  • legacy data that will need to be loaded

  • authentication methods

  • What will your site look like;

  • overall colour scheme and design

  • mirroring local intranet /internet sites

  • what needs to be on the homepage

  • Loading your legacy and staff data

  • Setting up some key reports

  • Testing

  • Training and coaching

  • You’re live!

Implementing your new Totara LMS with Chambury Learning Solutions is quick, simple and requires minimal effort from you and your team. We do the majority of the work for you, and keep you informed. There are no surprises, and no unexpected costs. It's straightforward. You’ll be excited throughout the journey. You'll be very happy with the results.

So, if you want to get on a new LMS in the next few months, why not give us a call.

Learning Management. Solved.

Chambury Learning Solutions is a Totara Platinum Partner specialising in Learning Management systems (LMS) and eLearning content development. Get in touch.