You Need to Know
FREE RESOURCE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LMS CUSTOMIZATION
1. Introduction to LMS Customization
Simply having an LMS is not always enough for the growth of the employee performance and in turn, the organisation. While out-of-the-box options work for some, it is important to be able to customize the LMS to match the company’s values and fit the employees’ needs and requirements. LMS Customization allows you to personalize the online training experience for your employees and thus, provide better learning experiences.
A personalised LMS works wonders to build your brand identity and give your employees a truly effective learning experience. It can readily tailor most functionalities to suit your needs as an organization as well as your learners’.
With personalised elements, your learners can resonate with the program better, thereby, learning better. This is bound to give a good leverage to the overall productivity and performance, proving absolutely advantageous not just for the learners but also for the organization as a whole.
Your brand identity and the way your company appears to the outside world is also an important aspect to consider. It is what shapes your organization’s future and success, thereby, maintaining consistency and identity.
Now, every aspect of a company is responsible for forming this brand image, including the LMS that it inculcates into its corporate learning program. That is exactly why customization plays a substantial role here too.
It is important that your LMS is customized with the latest features in order to accommodate all the training and learning requirements. These personalized elements create a strong and peculiar brand image that speak of the vision and values of an organization.
Moreover, they only elevate the learning process and experience, rendering tenfold benefits. This is one driving force for the learners to get on board in the right direction and with the right approach. Your digital learning program ought to mirror the values of your organization, so that it resonates with your employees.
Having said that, introducing custom courses to your employees isn’t enough. Your LMS too plays a vital role in the success of your learning program. Which is why you should consider customizing it.
1.1 Advantages of a Customized LMS
Most organizations and industries require an LMS to help train employees, hone their skills and keep the human resource updated with the upcoming software and technology. To choose an apt learning management system, companies look for key features that they absolutely need in their LMS that can be customized, as it not only helps the companies in the long run but also employees and administrators.
LMS Customization helps the companies showcase their branding on all their platforms while also selecting the features that are important for running a successful learning program. Listed below are a few important advantages of selecting a customized Learning Management System.
- Build a connection with learners
Learners are more engaged when they feel like the company understands their needs and pays attention to their wants. Having the right functionalities in the LMS will help you mold the learning program according to the learners’ unique needs and build a connection with your learners so that they better understand what they’re learning and retain that knowledge longer.
You are more likely to use and understand something when it feels more relatable and solves a problem that you’re facing. Customizing the user’s learning paths can help you understand the pace at which each employee learns and schedule the right amount and nature of learning for them.
- Make your content discoverable
By making the course personalised, you can prioritize the content you want your learners to focus on. This may not only grab their attention but also retain it. You can also adjust the user interface in order to push the most important courses and modules to the front. This way, they can take the center stage and help learners filter out the less important while focusing on the important content when they need to.
With this customization, employees can also find answers to their questions as and when they need it. Moreover, the whole process of learning becomes relatively smoother for them.
- Offer flexibility to employees in their learning journey
Not everyone learns at the same pace, neither do they react to all the content in the same manner, which is why flexibility in terms of topics, learning paths when to learn and different ways to learn should be well inculcated.
Some employees might prefer learning via videos and presentations while some might like referring to articles and lectures rendered by eminent personalities.
Customize your LMS to get rid of any restrictions on your employees when it comes to selecting the right course for their needs. Companies can monitor what content works best for their employees and make sure that it is being sent out the most.
- Foster a robust community for exchanging ideas, knowledge, and insights
In this age of digital learning, social interaction plays a big role in effectively delivering knowledge. To make employees feel at ease with new concepts and ideas, it is important to make sure that you give rise to a community within your organization where employees can connect with one another and discuss their problems or queries on a common platform.
Having support from peers helps one push their limits and learn new skills and techniques that are set to benefit the company as a whole. To achieve this, you need to customize your LMS to include social platforms. This way, your content will get a boost as it informally circulates among your employees.
- Leverage Advanced User Data Tracking
Tracking employee learning activity helps deduce what content should be put out and how it is performing in terms of interest and engagement.
By understanding what content suits the employees’ needs and what grabs their interest, it is easier to manage different courses and schedule out learning strategies. This is why these data tracking & data mining parameters need to be customized according to your learning program.
2. Why do you need a Customized LMS?
2.1 Reasons to choose a Custom LMS
Every organization is different. And different organizations have different visions, values & needs. Sometimes, all of these needs cannot be met by an out-of-the-box LMS.
Your organization’s requirements from an LMS that go along with your workflows for the delivery of online learning can’t be compromised on in their quality. They need to be reflective of the organization and hence, need to be tailor-made.
All these qualities may not be available in the standard LMS, which is why custom LMSes are needed. The organization’s necessities and workflows for the delivery of online learning need to be tailor-made and very few LMSes can meet everything you wish off the shelf.
When you use the term ‘online learning’, it simply suggests the act of learning on an online platform and an LMS offers that.
However, if your organization needs more(which most of them do), for example, a say in the way the content is developed and displayed, a talent management system, an LXP and a billing system, with everything smoothly integrating with each other, then a standard LMS may not be able to render all of this for you.
To sum this up, your organization needs more than just online learning; it needs to be able to implement a platform that covers a comprehensive learning experience that is fulfilling in every way.
Whether you’re developing custom e-learning courses to coach your workforce, clients or learners, it’s just as crucial to convey your brand in a harmonious & consistent way. It is important for your learning portal to match your visual identity and general branding, down to the tone of your communications.
It is important for these e-learning courses to be evocative of your company, its values, and its ideologies. In a way, you can say that they almost represent your brand to the learners.
Seeing your company’s branding on the LMS as well as the online courses will reinforce it in your learners’ minds and inculcate a sense of belonging in them.
3. How can a Customized LMS help both, the Organization & it’s learners?
Organizations need to provide their learners with a solid Learning Management System to help hone their skills and educate them on certain concepts. This, in turn, poses as a positive investment for employees’ performance and eventually, the company’s ROI.
On the other hand, learners want to concentrate on their personal path of knowledge while also building and growing in their professional niche to make their work easier and faster with better accuracy. LMS Customization helps achieve both these goals while also adapting to the companies needs, roles and work culture along with giving the learner enough flexibility to learn at their pace.
Here are a few reasons that prove why a customized learning management system is beneficial for everyone, an organization, its administrators and the learners.
Learners get the advantage of LMS Customization –
1. Make Internal Communication Better
Learners need a common platform where discussions around doubts and queries can take place with their peers. It can be a place where they can ask questions, help each other learn, resolve certain complexities regarding the course content and build a personal connection through social communication.
LMS Customization allows better social communication with live chats and social media interactions, which in turn make the learners feel supported and help them understand certain topics better.
An employee in the process of learning should not feel left out or alone but instead, should feel motivated due to their support system developed by these custom features.
Gamification elements & social media integration give the users a push in the right direction by introducing healthy competition with peers and the opportunity to share those achievements and titles with other learners and friends on social media.
2. Personalize Learning for your Employees/Students
Visual dashboards that are a part of the LMS interface are immensely beneficial when it comes to conveying relevant information such as scheduled courses, important announcements, polls and training schedules.
This information helps the learner understand how far they have come and how much progress they have made over time, while also letting them know about the future path they need to take for their learning journey. All the information is aligned in an organized manner to make it easier for learners to keep track of their progress.
With LMS Customization, one can reduce their dependency on desktop learning and have access to learning resources anywhere, anytime. This allows the users to learn at their own pace with convenience and ease.
The administrators of the LMS gain:
1. Customized Reports
LMSes have the ability to generate reports such as learner progress reports, course completion reports, etc, which help administrators understand and improve the overall learning strategy and monitor progress.
The software can be configured to generate custom reports, based on specific requirements of the organization.
2. Customized Emails
With LMS, one has the ability to send customized emails. If your organization has 500 users added on the software, the ability to send bulk emails to all the users helps save the admin effort to send individual emails to each user.
Moreover, admins can easily send automated emails in cases where a learner has enrolled for a course or similar situations.
3. Customized Notifications
The admins can send custom notifications based on the users, the courses and the progress level of each. They can also be modified as per the roles of the profiles and content.
For instance, users taking a common course need a reminder on a similar course that they can take, and with custom notifications, they can be notified on the same. Similarly, administrators monitoring the LMS who need to be informed on the inactivity on a course/set of users can be informed on that using custom notifications.
4. Customized User Roles
As an admin you are not confined to the default user roles and can create and assign your own roles to control the learning activities based on your position and requirements.
You can control the types of activities users have permission to perform. For instance, custom roles like LMS admin, assistant, learner, trainer, training manager, etc. can all be created with your own custom access.
As an example, let’s say a company is divided into various departments according to a hierarchical structure. Here, the LMS admin will need to allot similar courses to individual departments. They can clearly split & assign roles that allows them to manage users within the company & different departments easily and accurately.
5. Bulk Uploads
You may have thousands of users that you need to allot to hundreds of courses based on the different departments in your company.
Now, imagine the effort you have to put in for all of this. It can also be customized to provide the administrators with an option to upload bulk users and their respective courses with minimal effort. This is a tedious job, but it can be easily solved using a customized LMS.
The admin can simply import the courses in bulk using a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file authored in either SCORM, Tin Can xAPI, or AICC format.
Say there are 100 such courses to be hosted on the LMS, a single CSV file will allow you to upload all the 100 SCORM-based courses at a go, this will save you valuable time.
An LMS truly provides a 360-degree approach in training from administering and publishing courses to tracking and reporting learners’ progress and LMS Customization only makes it better.
You must make sure that you select an LMS that not only accommodates your current requirements but also has the flexibility for any further customization depending on future needs.
The organizations benefit by-
1. LMS as a Powerful Evaluation Tool
Today, almost all large organizations have a highly developed LMS in place and due to the changing times, people employed in these organizations perpetually need to retouch and revamp their skills through proper and timely training, in order to stay in the race till the end.
The R&D teams make sure to infuse developmental training into the organizations with the help of an LMS.
An LMS is a powerful tool when used right. The employees have access to a visual dashboard that enables them to track their progress by viewing reports generated by the system, but the organizations are benefited by having necessary data that helps them analyze what content is suiting the employees’ needs and what isn’t.
A good dependable LMS that is customized to the organization’s needs and roles allows you to make decisions regarding every step, from what content needs to be added to it, to how long a course should last for.
2. Reduce Costs on Training Administration and Delivery
A customized Learning Management System is one of the quickest and most cost-efficient ways of imparting organization-wide training.
Having one centralized platform that stores and delivers training material to learners irrespective of the geographical location, is a huge plus for companies in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Administrative exertion is cut down by allocating training resources, thereby allowing organizations to save hugely on the administrative and delivery costs.
Traditional training would include heavy costs such as venue costs, trainer fees, and travelling costs but after the advent of the LMS, these costs have become non-existent as training is possible from anywhere, at any time, to anyone through the platform and the internet. It is also highly efficient as people can be given training multiple times without incurring any additional costs.
Training which is repetitive in nature and which is common to most departments in an organization also benefits largely from an LMS. Fresh training can be easily deployed from time to time.
4. Types of LMS Customization Companies look for
Login Page & Dashboard Customization
Customizations to your login page set the tone for what is to come ahead for the learners. Moreover, it is an extension of your organization and its identity. Ideally, it should be in line with the rest of the LMS and the company as a whole.
Usually, a brand logo and/or some content specific to the company and the course makes for an effective login page that is guaranteed to grasp the attention and interest of the learner.
The dashboard is where the learners land after they log into the LMS. This page usually consists of the information about assigned tasks and courses, and with customization, one can add more to this as per their preference and requirements.
One can include graphics or charts that visually present where the learners are in their learning process, what they’ve completed, what’s next for them and what’s required or optional.
A dashboard page designed to fit the organization’s aesthetics and values help provide further details about the company and of course, the learning program they are about to pursue.
82% say that reporting analytics is an important platform feature in LMS programs to improve their digital approach to business learning. (FinancesOnline)
LMS Reports are used by Mid-Senior level officers who need to analyze how much of an impact their L&D strategy has made — they are essential in measuring the learning ROI. It is important to know if the learning program is even garnering the results in the employees that it was intended to.
LMS Customization can help you generate custom reports, based on ad-hoc needs and requirements. It can also help them to gauge the gaps in skills and performance as compared to their learning objectives.
As an example, one can generate course completion reports based on each user and for each department. You can also generate Learner Activity/Progress Report, Course Overview Reports, and so on, and have them sent directly into your inbox.
You can also automate scheduled reports straight to your inboxes – weekly, or monthly reports for when you need them and share them via Excel, PDF.
Notifications are vastly subjective to the learning program, the courses and the users, which is why having custom notifications more or less becomes necessary.
A powerful notifications system allows you to notify your users when some specific event happens (e.g. when they have successfully registered to a course, need to retake a test, etc.). The notifications are highly customizable, letting you choose which events will trigger the notifications, who should be receiving them and the exact wording of the message sent to the users.
Around 60% of companies use some form of social learning, 2019. Social learning has a 75:1 ROI ratio compared to formal web-based formal training, 2019. (FinancesOnline)
It’s one of the most beneficial LMS Customization that companies today could use in their system. Organizations can use social media platforms to make learning a talking point and empower users to engage in conversations respective to the courses.
Businesses are witnessing increased levels of productivity thanks to internal networking via social media as employees can communicate in real-time. These social networking tools that come with an LMS can benefit them greatly in the long term.
Custom User Hierarchy:
Every user that will access the LMS belongs to a different organizational hierarchy and a different role. That makes them ideal for specific courses and actions that revolve around them, their position and skills. Now, a custom LMS lets admins assign custom roles & custom learning access to these users with ease.
For example, if a CEO of an organization needs more administrative rights over a Managerial-level employee, this can be readily done with customizations of user roles. If you need all the managerial-level employees to have access only to their teams’ data, then these rights can be defined accordingly. They can assign similar courses in individual departments. This also allows you to clearly split and designate roles that allow you to manage users within the organization and department easily and accurately.
5. eLucid Customizations for Improved Learning Experience
Want to make your learning program more appealing for learners?
Want to tailor your LMS’ look and feel as per your company’s preferences? eLucid offers several ways to accomplish that.
Humble brag warning. Here are a few instances of how eLucid has helped clients solve a prolonged problem and improved their user experience.
Problem: A client sent notifications to their learners via email but the employees’ preferred mode of communication wasn’t email and the notifications, more often than not, would go unread. They needed a way to send these notifications to learners where they would actually read and attend to them.
eLucid’s Solution: The employees use a messenger within the organization as a regular mode of internal communication. Since sending notifications via email wasn’t working for them, eLucid decided to send the required notifications over said messenger.
Problem: A client needed to follow-up with each learner personally. For example, after a training session, a feedback form is sent out to all attendees. However, some people wouldn’t complete the feedback on time and the HR would have to individually reach out to all of them. This tends to become a tedious task, particularly if the number of people to reach out to is significantly large.
eLucid’s Solution: eLucid came up with follow-up notifications and introduced it to the client. These are used to follow through with learners who haven’t responded as needed or haven’t taken an action that’s required. This tackled the said issue of the client effectively and evidently.
Problem: A client had their organization split into different departments. They needed to have different groups of users to have access to different sets of training material without much of it coinciding.
eLucid’s Solution: Each group will have defined users and each group will remain discrete from the users of other groups. For instance, Group A has been allotted a course on Anger Management, where as Group B has been assigned the course on Digital Literacy. Now, the users in Group A will not be able to access the Digital Literacy course. Similarly, the users in Group B won’t be able to see the Anger Management course.
Auto Feedback Rollout
Problem: For a face-to-face training session, attendance was taken manually during the session. After a training session, taking feedback is important to know if the session was worth the time and effort spent on it along with the determination of whether such sessions should be invested in again or not. For this, a form has to be sent out to everyone present individually. When this happens, not everyone will complete the feedback when told. Some might forget and would need reminding time and time again. All of these concerns are faced for one session. Several such sessions happen every month in an organization and the feedback rollout becomes cumbersome.
eLucid’s Solution: During the session, the trainer takes attendance online via eLucid. A feedback form is sent out to all the attendees post the session, excluding, of course, the people who signed up for it but were a no show. This is done via email and it’s based on the online attendance taken before the session. This helps avoid the incredibly tedious process the HR person has to go through, of manually keeping track of who has sent in the feedback and individually reaching out to all those who haven’t, over and over again.
Problem: Every week, this client on-boarded new employees into their organization. They wanted to keep track of the growth of their employees, their overall experience in the company, and if they have any feedback and they needed to collect this data at timely intervals – on the zeroth day, on the 30th day & on the 90th day. Now, to keep up with which employee has completed 30 days & how many have completed 90 days and then to collect the required data from these employees individually, was a task. What is a hassle is that this process isn’t a one-time task.
eLucid’s Solution: eLucid traces the number of days a user has been using the platform. We used this data to create an automated feedback form – a 0-30-90 feedback form including all the data fields required by the client. Once an employee is on-boarded on the LMS, they will receive this form on their zeroth day, on the 30th day and then again on their 90th day in the company. This automated form saves a lot of manual work of the HR department and helps them collect information in a systematic manner without having to do much.
To make our client’s life even easier, we are working on making this solution better by adding a functionality that not only sends the feedback form but also verifies if the user has filled out the form. This also sends notifications to those who haven’t filled out the form until they do so.
Problem: A renowned client complained of this issue that the users experienced with the Moodle interface. The complexity of the interface and the interaction processes affected the students’ morale adversely and brought down their motivation in indulging in corporate learning.
eLucid’s Solution: To tackle the above issue and tune down the interaction process for the learners, we demonstrated our features to the client. They were taken with how easy it was to use the system and various content delivery techniques available that were sure to engage learners. We helped reduce the effort they would need to use on the Moodle by half. A task that would originally take around 8-9 clicks by a user was brought down to 3-4 clicks with eLucid customization and features.
Flexibility of Learning
Problem: To facilitate training and development of employees, a client arranged for a traditional classroom training format. This was adequate but not efficient. Due to the distributed nature of office locations, organizing training programs for employees the traditional way became a scheduling nightmare. It was difficult to reach out to every employee from different parts of the world and to organize and manage the training everywhere the traditional way. It was not only time-consuming but expensive.
eLucid’s Solution: The client knew they had to move to a more flexible, online training system. After understanding their unique needs, we offered them our features that covered each of their unique requirements. The one feature that really helped boost their training and what stands out for them is the possibility to create interactive content. What they needed was a flexible online training system that captured user interest and boosted interaction. With our interactive content authoring tools, they facilitated flexibility of learning, increased engagement and boosted information retention.
Improvement in Training Outcomes
Problem: This client used a conventional Learning Management System before eLucid. It was functional, secure and efficient in supporting the training content. However, the user interface seemed outdated and boring, which failed to retain the interest of the learners. The LMS couldn’t keep the employees engaged and interested, which affected the training and in turn the business.
eLucid’s Solution: eLucid with its highly engaging and elegant user interface replaced the traditional LMS. It helped them deliver interactive training content and boost learner interest. The client found the “User Management” module in eLucid the most beneficial to control various user roles in the training program. We even customized the user module to incorporate their organizational hierarchy and the workflows of different business units.
Performance and Support
Problem: A client wanted to provide smart-technology led programs for Early Childhood Development training and hired a team to source the best LMS developers and service providers for the job. Their previous LMS failed to perform well and was ill supported by its service provider.
eLucid’s Solution: Their months of research led them to eLucid. What the client ideally needed was a suitable platform that was scalable, performance optimized, and one that compiled with every standard of the education software industry. We targeted the areas they were concerned about the most in their previous LMS, with our technical capabilities and simple interface. We have helped them redesign the complete interface to make it suitable for kindergarten education. The ease of use, especially with online assignment submission, evaluation, have made eLucid the perfect fit for them.
6. Things you Need to Know Before Customizing your LMS
Here are 7 things you should know before generating that LMS Customization request.
No need to have new team members learn about the LMS through osmosis. With great documentation, a new hire is able to quickly get up to speed about the LMS, its features & functionalities, without the constant shoulder tapping – which means less training time.
Other than knowledge transfer, by documenting your processes, you ensure efficiency, consistency, and peace of mind for everyone involved. This kind of standardization ensures everyone in your organization is working the same way towards a common outcome. So, we suggest you ask for documentation for all the LMS Customization you get done.
This is generally provided by the vendors as it is expected that they train clients on how to use a functionality or feature they’ve developed. Depending on how complex the LMS Customization is, the depth of the training varies.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) & Bug Fixing:
UAT is the testing done from the client’s side to verify/accept the custom changes before moving it to the live environment. This is done by the L&D people and/or the end-users. This is important as server configurations and settings on the vendor’s side vary from the server configurations on the client’s side. So, in order to map out the product according to the client’s environment, this phase is crucial.
For instance, a notification functionality might work just fine when the vendor tests it for a few hundred users. But the same functionality may face server limitations when it’s used to send an automated notification to over a couple thousand users at the same time.
Customizations, essentially, are enhancements made to the base-system. If these enhancements are large scale and need a while to make then the vendor will need some downtime (usually of a few hours maximum). This is to make sure these new enhancements don’t hamper the existing capabilities of the LMS.
As an example, say you had 50 courses on your LMS before. During the downtime, all the courses and other resources are backed-up before making any changes to the system. Once the changes are done, these resources will be restored to the system. Now, if the system was live as the changes were made, and say you uploaded an additional 10 courses to the LMS during that time, those 10 courses will be lost because they were not backed-up.
In order to avoid these kinds of scenarios, downtime is necessary. Vendors inform you of the required time prior to scheduling the upgrade, so no worries there. Although, if the changes are small and can be done in a matter of moments, there is no downtime needed & you won’t be asked for it either.
Maintenance & Upgrades:
The maintenance & timely upgrades of the base-system as well the custom-made changes fall within the service provided by the vendor. This includes smaller rectifications like bug fixes, security patches, providing support for a new browser, e.g. Microsoft Edge or the latest version of Chrome, etc. to major releases like upgrading to the latest version of the base-software.
Implementation Time-frame & Cost:
The time required depends wholly upon the kind of LMS Customization request it is. Some customizations take weeks while some might be up and running within hours.
The cost depends on the time and effort required (including testing) for the customization and therefore, depends on how long the implementation time-frame would be.
While this cost varies from vendor to vendor, it usually falls in the range of $35 – $65 per hour. As the required time goes up, the cost per hour tends to go down.
52% report that the inability of LMS platforms to integrate with other digital systems is a barrier to satisfaction.(FinancesOnline)
There are many benefits to LMS integrations. Working with systems your users are already accustomed to raises user engagement and delivers a stronger user experience. LMS integrations save time, scale back manual tasks, as well as provide increased range and depth of reports. If you have well-integrated systems, it is simpler for individuals, departments & teams to do their jobs, collaborate and achieve their goals.
8 of the most common LMS integrations that companies ask for are:
- SSO (Single Sign-On)
- CRM(Customer Relationship Management system) integration
- Google Suite & Google Analytics
- Webinar Integrations
- API integration
- Integrating with Systems containing User Accounts and Profiles like HRMS(Human Resource Management System), MMS(Member Management System)
7. Parting Words
Before generating a request for LMS Customization, you should identify what is the problem you are trying to solve with it. Is it solving a persistent issue that you’ve been facing for a long time?
Are you going to need that functionality for a prolonged period of time or is it something that might just make your life easier for a little while and give you a false sense of relief?
Most importantly, is it worth the investment you’re about to make? LMS Customization is great but make sure that the outcome you are getting justifies the spend.
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We explore how a customised LMS is the better route to achieve learning outcomes – both from the organisation and learner’s perspective.
It is crucial that your LMS is customized with the latest features in order to accommodate all the training and learning requirements. Having custom courses is not enough, your LMS also plays an important part in the success of your learning program. Which is why you should consider customizing it as well.
While out-of-the-box options work for some, it is important that organizations are able to personalize their LMS to represent their values. But do you know which LMS customization options will help you achieve your objectives effectively? Here are 6 Customization options to look for in an LMS.