Home > Absorb LMS, Best Practices, Features > A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 2)

A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 2)


The first post in this series discussed the importance of a structured approach to setting up a learning management system. We also started the process by identifying the learner groups we will be serving. In this instalment, we’ll identify and organize the content we’ll be providing to these learners.

STEP 2: Perform a Content Inventory Audit

One of the greatest strengths of a LMS is that it acts as a central repository for much of the formal content you’ll make available to learners. This content can be in many formats to support different learning modalities, including:

  • Self-paced SCORM courses
  • Videos
  • Exams
  • Documents
  • Instructor-led events
  • Etc.

Getting a sense of what you have by performing a content inventory audit will make creating learning paths and enrollment rules much easier later on.

Existing contentInventory photo

If you’re migrating from a learning management system to a new system, you likely have existing content you’ll be importing into your new LMS. Just as it’s a good idea to do a major purge of stuff you don’t need before moving into a new home, a content inventory can be a useful way to get a global view of your content. Such an inventory will likely uncover content that may be out-of-date and in need of updating or no longer relevant. Uncovering stale content in an inventory review will save you valuable time later on since you’ll have that much less content to import into your new LMS.

New content

If this is your first LMS, you may not yet have content. You should nevertheless map out what you plan to provide your learners. Your content inventory document will act as a content road map.

Your content inventory is best created using a spreadsheet or some type of database application. The beauty of using such tools is that you’ll easily be able to sort the data by various columns, making it a breeze to see all content types or topics grouped together.

If you have a way to share this document with other stakeholders so that many people can contribute simultaneously, the time required to complete the audit will be reduced significantly.

Here’s a potential structure that might make sense for a unilingual learning initiative. (Multilingual implementations should, of course, have a column added to specify language.)

This inventory document isn’t only for planning the launch of your LMS. Rather, it should be maintained and continually updated as your learning initiatives evolve.

(Again, I know you’re dying to start clicking on things in your new LMS. Please hang in there. It won’t be much longer.)

  1. May 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for this Richard. It’s so easy to jump the gun, but not very productive when we do.

  2. Richard Nantel
    May 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Urszula: thanks for your comment. Jumping right in and playing with software is a great way to learn. This works fine for desktop-based applications. Unfortunately, when you’re setting up an enterprise application that many people will be using, it’s best to have some structure and perhaps supporting documentation in place, If a system admin then leaves the organization, it will be easy for someone else to step in and manage the application.

  3. Al P.
    May 10, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Baby steps…crawl, walk, run. This is always best accomplished with a detailed project plan and with a certified PM at the wheel to get up and live successfully.

  4. Rajesh
    October 2, 2012 at 7:30 am

    HI Richard. Great article. Where can i find Part 2 & 3?

  5. Stefanie
    November 5, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Doing my homework right now! 🙂

  1. May 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm
  2. May 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm
  3. May 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm
  4. May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm
  5. May 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm
  6. June 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm
  7. June 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm
  8. June 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm
  9. June 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

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