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A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 5)

May 17, 2012 5 comments

We’re now approaching the mid-point in this series. So far, we’ve examined the following:

STEP 5: Create Learner Groups and Placeholders for Identifiers

The day you tackle this step, you’ll be going home from work feeling smug and productive. Even if you have a large number of user groups, creating departments or groups for them in your LMS should be fairly fast and straightforward. Once again, you’re benefiting from the planning you did outside of the LMS in Step 1 and Step 3. Your learner groups are already identified and named. You just need to make this a reality within the system. So go ahead and create the learner groups you’ll need.Learner groups

Just one thing, though:

In `STEP 3: Establish Who Needs What Content,’ you identified which learners will have access to what content. If your spreadsheet or database indicates that only some people within certain groups will have access to that content:

  • You’ll need to make sure their learner data contains those differentiating characteristics
  • You’ll need to have a way to capture those characteristics in the LMS.

For instance, if you have a course that is intended for only the managers in your sales department, you’ll need to ensure that there’s a way in the system to differentiate sales managers from non-managers.

So at this point, you’ll need to consider:

  • How learner accounts will be created in the system
    • Imported into the LMS through an integration with an HR system or other enterprise application
    • Created through learner self-registration
    • Imported into the LMS from data contained in spreadsheets
    • Through the creation of individual learner accounts, almost always a bad idea due to the time and effort required
  • Whether the source of these accounts contains the differentiating characteristics that will allow you to provide these learners with the correct content
  • How to capture those characteristics in the LMS

Your LMS may provide you with a way to add additional learner record fields for these unique differentiating characteristics:

Regardless of how it’s done in your system, you’ll possibly need to establish how to differentiate your learners beyond groups before you import their records into the LMS. You’ll of course need to ensure that the source data for the learner records contains the required differentiating data. You’ll never be able to provide specific learning content to sales managers if you can’t identify who your sales managers are in the system.


A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Learning Management System (Part 4)

May 15, 2012 6 comments

We’re now 30 per cent of the way through this series. So far, we’ve examined the following:

STEP 4: Define Administrator Roles and Create Admin Accounts

Chances are you won’t be alone logging into the administrative control panel of your LMS. Others may require access as well. These people might include:

  • System administrators
  • Course authors/managers
  • Instructors
  • Course graders
  • Exam Proctors
  • HR managers

Apart from these standard roles, there may also be people who require some type of personalized access to the system once your new LMS is live. If you provide training to people outside of your organization, for instance, you may need to give access to an external manager to track the progress of her learners. You’ll want to ensure that this individual can only see progress reports related to her organization’s learners. The privacy of other learners must be respected so access rights need to be limited.

There are three things you need to accomplish in this stage:

  1. Define who gets access to the administrative area of the LMS
  2. Establish what they can do
  3. Decide where these administrators can perform their tasks, across the entire LMS or in only a sub-section such as a learner group

Not everyone involved in setting up the system needs to be a high-level system administrator. Course authors, for instance, can be provided with access rights limited to the tasks for which they are responsible: creating, importing, configuring, and testing content. Some learning management systems allow you to create custom roles that might better reflect your organization’s specific needs. If so, go ahead and create those custom roles as required.

You’re still a few steps away from going live with your new LMS. So, you may want to hold off on creating admin accounts for external managers or team leaders, instructors, and anyone else not directly involved in setting up the LMS. The system doesn’t really contain anything of interest to them yet. Create those accounts when you’re closer to going live.

You’ve been immensely patient throughout this series, resisting our natural desire get into the system and tinker. At long last, the time has come! Log into your new LMS and create administrative accounts for your team members. In creating their accounts, specify their roles. This may look something like this:

TIP: In some learning management systems, there’s one highest-level, super administrator account that allows someone to make significant changes, such as turning features on or off, to the system. The login for this account needs to be recorded somewhere secure and should not be used for day-to-day activities.