The journey to buying an LMS and developing custom content is an interesting one. The trickiest part is convincing your finance people to pay up. Unfortunately, the budget they agree to often doesn’t include follow-up expenses. Upgrades only cost a few dollars at a time, but they eventually add up, both in cash and man-hours. Fortunately, there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to lower costs. So let’s look at 7 tips to minimize online training maintenance.
7 Insider Tips To Simplify L&D Upkeep
1. Think Twice About ‘Free’ Options
One of the most obvious cost-saving options is to get an open source LMS platform. However, they often require more hands-on coding and customization. While lack of licensing and broad structure offer flexibility, they also need time. You’ll need specialist techies to work with it, and they earn a premium. Even if you use your existing team, it will take their time away from their regular work activities. So, while an open source LMS lowers your initial cost, it’s more labor-intensive in the long run. Thus, you may want to minimize online training maintenance by considering pre-packaged online training courses that have their own external maintenance agreements.
2. Anticipate Changes
Even with a packaged online training course, it’s important to plan ahead. Audit your online training course from day one – whether you are an eLearning developer or a customer. Make notes on the online training course, listing the areas that are likely to change over time. It could be online training content upgrades to match industry advances. Or it could be an adjustment to maintain compatibility with an upgraded operating system. Sometimes, nationwide and/or global changes in economy, politics, or social factors can affect your online training course. Keep an eye both on socio-cultural and technical matters. Every time something happens that could influence your online training course, keep a log. Start making upgrade plans, so you don’t get caught off guard.
3. Make A Schedule
Overplanning can be an asset when it comes to online training. Right at the moment of design or purchase, make contingency plans. Now that you’ve listed potential changes in the online training course, draft a selection of ‘change-makers’. This should include the skill set required for upgrades. For example, do you need a PHP specialist, or is it a mobile thing? Will you need to alter your source code or is it a thing restricted to the CRM? Once you know which areas will need tweaking in the future, you can prepare a maintenance timetable. You can set slots aside for it periodically. This way, it doesn’t interfere with your tech team’s daily tasks. Better still, create a calendar in your eLearning Project Management platform to ensure that everyone’s on the same page and there aren’t any redundancies. It will help a great deal to minimize online training maintenance.
4. Build An Adjustable eLearning Template
Along the same lines, get your eLearning course design right from the beginning using an eLearning template. In the design world, Photoshop visuals are designed in layers. This makes it feasible for later changes because you can work one layer at a time. It also prevents unwanted interference because you need all layers before you can shift anything. Take the same approach to your online training course. Program it in a way that you can access the specific areas. It enables you to do targeted updates without messing with the rest of the online training course. This allows you to streamline both the cost and duration of activities, aiming to minimize online training maintenance.
5. Apply Analytics
Almost every online training course has inbuilt metrics. They collect all kinds of data, and users don’t always know the extent of the tools they have access to. As a developer, draft a summary – in plain language – of all the available tools. As a user admin, get familiar with those tools and their benefits in terms of enabling you to minimize online training maintenance. Monitor the data collected by your course analytics. They’ll indicate which materials corporate learners access most frequently and can, therefore, highlight areas that need attention.
6. Give Everyone A Job
Every member of the team should know their role in the process to minimize online training maintenance. Even if it’s something as simple as verifying that LMS reports are being scheduled and delivered to the appropriate people. Everyone should also know what their tasks entail and have ongoing support. For example, the LMS admin may need to watch tutorials that refresh their memory on how to revise online training content. Or personalize the dashboard to pin important items.
7. Choose An LMS That Offers Automatic Updates
It’s not just in-house maintenance you need to think about, such as updating your online training content. The LMS should also offer tech updates to improve functionality and ensure that you stay on the cutting edge. Meet with the LMS vendor to see how often they upgrade/update the system and how much it will set you back. Is it included in the package or monthly subscription fee? Or will you have to pay extra? Another thing to consider is tool compatibility. For instance, if you do choose to expand your software suite with a new eLearning authoring tool or CRM platform, will they mesh? If not, this makes the integration more difficult.
Online training saves time and money while ensuring your team keeps their skills up to date. But if the online training course itself is ‘expired’, then it’s of no use to your corporate learners. Don’t rush for ‘free’ outsourced systems, because they may require hands-on updates. Think ahead to expected changes and make a plan to stay on top of things. Develop an eLearning template right from the start, that’s easier to adjust. If it’s coded with future changes in mind, then upgrades take less time and effort. Use course analytics to identify components that need updates. It will make it easier, faster, and cheaper to minimize online training maintenance.
Does your current LMS pass the test, or is it time to look for a new system that can deliver a better User Experience? Are you in search of an LMS that offers the best LMS User Experience at a price you can afford? Download our free eBook The Complete Guide For Choosing A User-Friendly LMS That Fulfills Your Business Needs to discover how to find a new, user-friendly LMS that works seamlessly with what you already have, how to tell the difference between LMS User Experience and LMS usability, how to ensure that the UI is user-friendly during an LMS free trial, and how to make your online learners embrace your new LMS and actively participate in the implementation process.