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Using Change Management to Successfully Adopt an LMS

  • 4 Min Read

Is your organization implementing a new learning management system? Here are five tips to ensure the adoption goes smoothly.


Adopting a new learning management system (LMS) is a major organizational change that requires careful planning. Without change management strategies in place, yours could be one of the 70% of digital transformation initiatives that fail to reach their objectives.  

If you’ve recently made the switch to D2L Brightspace or are thinking about doing it soon, here are five things to plan for so your adoption initiative succeeds.

1. Getting Buy-In

Without buy-in from key stakeholders, most change initiatives are doomed to fail—and a new LMS is no exception. Support from executive leadership is crucial, but resistance to digital disruption can come from anywhere in the organization. It’s important to remember that reluctance is often rooted in real concerns, so make sure you engage stakeholders from the start.

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Solution: Before you build your strategy, assemble an adoption team with representatives from every affected stakeholder group. Gathering input from the start makes everyone feel heard and helps you create a shared vision for the change. At the same time, you can avoid obstacles that are obvious to those stakeholders. 

Plus, getting those representatives on board from the outset means you’ll have champions in each area to help with communication. They can also help you get buy-in from their respective business units.  

2. Defining Realistic Goals

Another barrier to LMS adoption is a lack of clarity about what you’re trying to achieve. Without setting SMART goals—those that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-based—it’s hard for people to know what they’re trying to achieve or why it’s important.

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Solution: Work with your stakeholder team to set adoption goals that align with your organization’s learning strategy and business goals. There should be goals for the overall initiative, but you also need to set goals for each team that are relevant to their role in the initiative.  

Work together to ensure they’re realistic. You can’t do everything at once and you don’t want to lose the buy-in you’ve worked to build by aiming for targets that can’t be reached.  

3. Ensuring Effective Communication

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when implementing a business transformation is to assume that people know what’s going on and why it’s important. Another huge mistake is treating communication as a one-way street. Without a clear message, a plan to share it and mechanisms to collect and act on feedback, your adoption plans will fall short.

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Solution: Work with the adoption team to create a communication plan as you’re developing the plan and implementation milestones. The message needs to clearly share what’s happening, why it’s important to each target audience and what you need each stakeholder group to do.

You also need to build regular updates and check-ins so you can gather feedback on what’s working and what’s not. That feedback loop helps you adjust your plan in real time.  

4. Providing Training

Training is vital to LMS adoption. If people don’t know how to use your new platform, they won’t get value out of it. And neither will your organization.

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Solution: Be sure to include training in your adoption plan. Training should be designed to accommodate different skill levels, schedules and learning preferences. Offering in-person, online and blended learning options will help you reach everyone in the way that works best for them.  

One of the best ways to demonstrate the value of the LMS is to offer training within the system so stakeholders can practice what they’re learning. Your technology provider should work with you on a plan to get everyone up to speed, so start with your vendor to avoid unnecessary work.  

5. Maintaining Momentum

Treating digital innovation like a short-term project with a finite endpoint is sure to limit the value you get from the LMS.

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Solution: Picture your adoption plan as a cyclical process and you’ll never stop building on the gains you’ve made. Continuous development means your organization will keep up with new features and tools, make more innovative and engaging courses, and ensure that your learners succeed.  

To do this, keep measuring your progress against the goals you’ve set. As you achieve them, begin planning the next level. With each iteration, it gets easier and more efficient, since you know the steps involved and the people who can help you.  

Enabling organizational learning in this way demonstrates a growth mindset and is a great way to work toward cultivating a culture of learning at the organization.  

It’s Not Too Late to Succeed With Brightspace

If you’re a Brightspace customer, it’s not too late to launch a new adoption plan. It might be a little harder, or it might feel like you’re going backward, but if you put the time and effort into these steps, the payoff will far outweigh the work.
Unlock more useful resources and support in our free eBook, “Get More Out of Brightspace.”  

Written by:

Emma Sandrock

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Table of Contents

  1. 1. Getting Buy-In
  2. 2. Defining Realistic Goals
  3. 3. Ensuring Effective Communication
  4. 4. Providing Training
  5. 5. Maintaining Momentum