It would seem by now that almost everyone has encountered e-learning, whether in passing, as part of your induction when starting a new job, or you’ve been responsible for administering and updating learning content for your organisation. It’s fair to say, e-learning is a household name and continues to grow in popularity.
When it comes to getting started in e-learning or switching providers, taking your first steps can be a minefield. This article explains some of the ways In2itive helps clients find the right e-learning solution. You can also read about the benefits of e-learning here.
Over the years, we’ve handled all kinds of projects from enterprises looking to train a couple of hundred employees for auditing and on-boarding purposes, all the way up to commercial training providers selling content to hundreds of thousands of users. No matter how big or small the project, we’ll take you through the process from where you are right now to having your very own LMS.
1. Handling the initial e-learning enquiry
There are usually three scenarios at the initial enquiry stage:
- You already have an LMS and are looking to change your current provider
- You want an LMS and have an idea of what you’re looking for
- You are at the early stages and you just want to explore more about an LMS
Whatever your situation, finding the right help can be difficult. This is especially true if you are not completely clear about what you need from an LMS or what you might want it to deliver in the future.
At in2itive our process is designed to put the needs of our clients first. Our consultative approach to e-learning means we work with you to deliver the ideal solution for your organisation.
Anyone who contacts In2itive will first speak to Sue. Sue is our Marketing and Social Media Executive who handles all incoming enquiries and filters them appropriately through the business. Sue’s enthusiasm and customer centric approach are at the heart of everything we do. Sue passed this enquiry on to Jake in our sales team.
Jake is the Account Manager at In2itive. He immediately focused on listening in order to find the right solution. On this occasion, he was speaking to the owner of a business which provides regulatory e-learning training courses to organisations across the UK.
When they asked their existing providers for support and discussed the potential development work needed to achieve their needs they had been told they were too small.
After a lengthy conversation about his business, Jake agreed a demonstration of the In2itive LMS via the In2itive virtual classroom for the next day. Upon seeing the system, the reaction was very positive. The existing In2itive system was already 95% of the way to having everything the potential client needed. However, during the demonstration, Jake found out some things which were quite concerning.
2. Planning the LMS delivery
This part of the project journey illustrates how In2itive operate as a people to people business. We are flexible and make allowances to help create a commercially viable e-learning solution that fulfils all your technical requirements wherever possible.
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Jake spoke to Darren. As Managing Director, Darren oversees all aspects of In2itive. After hearing Jake’s concerns he arranged an emergency internal review with Adrian (Customer Operations Manager), Gary (Technical Director) and Pete (Senior Software Developer).
From Jake’s information gathering during the client demonstration, the following key issues were highlighted.
- The potential client's contract with their existing LMS provider expired at the end of the month and they would like to switch by then. That was less than 3 weeks away!
- To deal with compliance within their industry, their business model required the tracking of course completions, something which was not currently transferable between the two LMS systems
- There were several other areas of development required, specifically regarding administration reports.
During the internal project review, Gary, our Technical Director and hub of all our software and IT infrastructure, agreed he and our technical team could build the system and complete the necessary development of new reports and scheduling tools within the timeframe. Gary also assured us Pete, our Senior Software Developer, would find a way to import the users and data required for the potential client to change LMS provider seamlessly and within the timeframe (although we weren’t sure exactly how at the time of the review).
Adrian is our Customer Operations Manager and the centre of all customer based activity. He agreed he would be able to design the system to the customer’s specifications within the timeframe. We also agreed that to speed up the project timeline we would combine the In2itive LMS training day (an inclusive part of the package of services we offer) with the loading of users and courses.
All things considered, Darren agreed that if we have a signed contract in place by the end of the week we would commit a go live date of the end of the month. He also agreed a commercial deal specifically based on the client's’ existing contract, not around our usual pricing methods.
And so Jake called the potential client and explained we could fulfil their requirements provided we have an agreement in place by the end of the week. Darren sent over the contract the following morning and it was returned in the afternoon. We were ready to go.
3. Mobilisation of the new LMS
For a project to be successful it requires high levels of cooperation between our people and also between the two companies involved. Our clients tend to see a successful project as one where they end up with what they want, in the timescales they wanted and at the price they expected. In2itive have rigorous procedures and a flexible commercial structure that enable us to deliver this to all our clients.
At in2itive, we see a successful project as one where we provide the most seamless transition from your existing set-up to your desired outcome. We always take a tailored and considered approach to each project because we understand everyone’s business is different. When it comes to change, we know it needs to be smooth and well-structured to be efficient and as pain free as possible.
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The timescale for this project was short, nearly a third of the time we would normally aim to set up a project. As usual we created a custom project plan centred around the specific and individual needs of the people we were working with. For success in this project we decided to:
- Build an LMS to the best of our combined ability with the knowledge of what our client wants
- Train the client on the LMS 1 week after work began during the In2itive LMS training day
- Extend the training day to incorporate client specific tasks in order to save time. These tasks were:
- The upload and testing of courses
- The upload and organising of users
- Any other client specific customisations
- Collaboratively test the system and seek out bugs between the training day and the go live date
- Provide support ‘going live’ and ongoing, both technically and commercially as required.
4. Building a tailored LMS
When building anything, planning is essential. This is especially true when what you’re creating is complicated and requires collaboration between different people, processes and systems. At in2itive we have a team with over 50 years combined experience in building bespoke learning platforms which are used by organisations and individuals across the world.
In2itive always focuses a platform build by balancing what the client wants with our understanding of technology and the commercial implementation of LMS’. This approach leads to an outcome that gives the clients what they want whilst setting them up to be as efficient and future proofed as possible.
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Leading up the training day we all worked together building our clients LMS. We used our knowledge and experience to create a tool to meet all their needs, wants and aspirations for the future.
This is where Adrian and Gary came to life. With over 40 years of experience between them they were well placed to achieve the project goals. Gary would build parts of the LMS focussing on the technical needs of our client whilst Adrian would customise the design to suit the client's brand identity.
5. The training day — introducing the new LMS to the clients
One key factor in the successful handover of a new LMS is that no matter how good the system is, without having one or several people capable of understanding and administering the system it will be useless.
We offer a comprehensive training process as part of the journey to going live which includes constant support and crucially a full onsite training day for key personnel in the organisation. In2itive will operate and administer your system where required, but in our experience the most effective programs we help deliver are predominantly managed by the clients themselves.
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As well as showing the client what their system looked like and what it could do, we had to:
- Teach them how to use it
- Load and test all their learning materials
- Upload all their users into the appropriate groups with the existing completion data (which hadn’t fully figured out how to do)
- Carry out any design changes the client needed
On the training day Jake and Darren demonstrated the design and capabilities of the client’s LMS. They went on to training the client on how to operate and administer the system.
As we went through the training the client would suggest changes to the design we had created. Adrian was available to action any of the suggested design changes immediately, although, incredibly there were very few, just the odd word or image change.
Gary was brought a list of technical developments required by the client which he worked on throughout that very morning.
Pete... well, we’ll get on to Pete!
By lunchtime we had made great strides. ‘All’ we needed to do was upload and test all of the clients training content, 14 courses to be precise, and find a way to upload the users with the custom data required for the project.
After a nice buffet, Gary ran the client through the development work and design changes from the morning session. He went on to teach the client how to upload and test learning materials. Jake spent the next few hours with the client, repeating the process in order to complete their training and get the system ready to go live.
It was up to Pete, our Senior Software Engineer to find a way to transfer our clients existing user database whilst keeping their current completion data, allowing for the tracking of their user’s compliance across the system migration. This would allow our clients to seamlessly switch from their old e-learning system to their new In2itive e-learning system.
Although we had agreed that Pete would do this, we did not know exactly how and it had never been done before. Just before we broke for lunch Pete was sent the database of existing users. Without any comment, during our afternoon session the system was populated with all our client’s users and the compliance information they needed to run their business. After we all realised this, we approached Pete to find out how he had done it. He said, “Well, I just did it”!
Within that timeline:
- The client already understood how the system worked and how to get the most out of it
- Two pages worth of development requests had been completed and tested
- The upload and testing of all 14 of our client’s courses
- The importing of all users with custom data fields
After the completion of this phase, the rest of the process was relatively simple.
6. Going live with the new LMS
With any project, however much planning you do it cannot account for every eventuality or even for the simple fact that things change. The process of going live requires everyone trying to do everything on the system whilst vigilantly looking for anything that needs to be changed or fixed.
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We now had a week left till the end of the month and our clients go live date. The process from here was simple - check, check and re-check. There was a constant stream of emails and phone calls between all of us and the client, with screen grabs and slight tweaks to make. Some changes were about wording, and some about physical changes such as how to filter users or export reports. The point was that every time there was something, the right person at In2itive was dealing with it immediately and the changes were not being put in a pile of work or queued. As I mentioned at the beginning, whether it is big or small, it will be important to us and our team will find a way to deliver the solution.
7. Supporting the client going forward
With a long history in a client focused approach, we offer a friendly, supportive and tailored experience for our clients, from enquiry to going live. Everything In2itive does is designed to provide what clients need to achieve their ambitions without us. However, if and when clients need us, the In2itive employee best suited to help will be on hand speak to you, offering the experience and guidance you need.
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Since the project went live, there have been a few tweaks such as one or two things the client wanted and then changed their mind about. The key is, every time there was a change to be made, the client was able to speak directly to the person in the In2itive team who could make it happen.
This article demonstrates a typical example of how in a market dominated by companies looking to sell a system, there are still people out there trying to deliver a service in addition to the system. It is this approach that has led to our long standing partnerships with clients and our close knit team.
Here at In2itive we’re a group of hard working, passionate and capable individuals pooling together to deliver solutions for people from all industries with a diverse range of needs. We always look at the big picture and focus on helping our partners get the most out of what we offer, both technically and commercially.