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Lessons Learned with Our Learning Management System – IWCO Direct

Lessons from Launching a Learning Management System

Diana Hvistendahl, PMP

Back in September, I introduced readers to our Learning Management System (LMS), a tool that helps us train new employees and empower existing ones with new skills. This system allows IWCO Direct to provide more efficient service to our clients as well as influence the long-term direction of the company through the education of our team members.

We are currently using our LMS to manage training related to the roll-out of our enhanced front-end workflow. This training includes numerous learning objectives for each department involved  and 10 groups of learners that must complete the curriculum. Each class tracks their progress through quizzes and workshops—but instead of tracking all of this manually, the LMS we implemented is taking the busywork out of our training administration with automated tracking and simplified scheduling.

What We’ve Learned About Launching a Learning Management System

Appropriately enough, even implementing the LMS at IWCO Direct has been a learning process. Most of the benefits were clear from the get-go, but there’s also a lot we’ve uncovered in the months since we launched. Here are a few of our findings:

1. Communication is Key

It’s important to keep leadership in-the-know about this new system and the emails their staff members will receive. The LMS sends an automated email to learners as trainers assign them to a course. The system also sends reminder emails when learners miss due dates. We’ve taken special care to ensure department managers know when their team will receive these messages and that they won’t be ignored. Managers are also invited to LMS demonstrations so they understand how the system works and can answer questions for their team.

2. Answer Questions Before They’re Asked

The LMS is intuitive and offers special features that make the learning experience smooth, giving each learner the ability to focus on the content of the course instead of on system issues or questions about training expectations. To ensure learners can plan and manage their time accordingly, we make sure the LMS email notifications specify:

  • How long the course is going to take to complete
  • The due date for the course or activity
  • Whom to contact with questions

We also wrote and distributed an LMS User Guide to help learners log in, navigate to their courses, self-enroll, and launch their assignments. Managers are also given step-by-step instructions on how to view their team’s training data (e.g., quiz scores, completions, etc.).

3. Use All the Features You Can

The LMS offers many features, and we are working diligently to ensure we take advantage of as many of them as possible. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Automated quizzing and scoring: Gone are the days when trainers would pore over hand-written quizzes with a red pen and track scores in a spreadsheet. The system does this for us now, giving learners immediate results and the chance to try the course and quiz again.
  • Automated email reminders: No more hounding the learners who haven’t completed their training activities. When we use the LMS to assign training activities to learners, the system automatically follows up and reminds learners of the due date.
  • Self-enrolling: When we create a course and make it available on the LMS, trainers can determine up front if the content could be interesting to people even if they are not required to complete the course as part of their job. Certain courses are general enough that people in multiple departments can learn more about our organization and gain an appreciation for a specific topic or responsibilities by self-enrolling and completing a course.
  • Dynamic reporting: Now that our trainers don’t have to do all the tracking, they are able to focus on teaching and developing courses. Managers can lean on the system to give them data about training completions. Our LMS is set up to give managers a view of their team members, filter certain data points, and see these dynamic reports in a dashboard on their screen, so there’s no need to even run a report (although that’s an option, too). Managers can automate their common data inquiries to deliver a report on a regular basis.
  • Certificates of completion: When finished with all requirements in their curriculum, learners receive a certificate of completion. It might sound like a small gesture, but learners take pride in their proof of completion—several have printed their certificates to display their achievement in their office.

Where Can the Learning Management System Take Us from Here?

Functionality isn’t the only way we assess the LMS. We also collect feedback from learners and leadership to get a solid understanding of how it’s being received at IWCO Direct. There have been very few usability concerns or questions about our LMS, a true testament to its user-friendliness. Managers are particularly impressed by how easy it is to look up learners’ status data, which helps them check in with team members about their assignments and goals.

Going forward, all eLearning courses, quizzes, and other required learning activities (e.g., workshops, meetings, instructor-led trainings, etc.) will be set up and tracked using the LMS. This gives us comprehensive data about each employee’s learning achievements.

If you’d like to learn more about our LMS, including how it integrates with the LinkedIn Learning platform, get in touch with me today.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/12/05/learning-management-system-update/
Diana Hvistendahl, PMP


Diana Hvistendahl, PMP

Director, Information & Process Services. Holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a master’s from Metropolitan State University. Has been viewing challenges as opportunities for team-building at IWCO Direct for more than five years. When not improving processes and creating new tools to increase efficiency at IWCO Direct, she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and visiting her husband’s distillery.

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