Adding a learning management system to a school’s existing ed-tech inventory involves many difficult decisions.

When choosing an LMS, make sure you choose the five or 10 things that are the most important to you and focus on those, rather than coming up with an extensive list with hundreds of requirements, suggests Phill Miller, vice president of product strategy for Moodlerooms.

“Once you focus on those things that are really important to you, then ask, ‘Is it easy to use, easy to train my faculty?’” Miller says.

Another key aspect to consider when implementing an LMS is to have a “champion” at the school or district who can take ownership of the project. This is different from a project manager who would manage the implementation. Rather, a champion would be someone who “holds the banner up, who says we want to get our courses online, we want to better communicate with parents. The champion helps the project be successful, because it gives the project a purpose and helps move things forward,” Miller explains. “That is critical to success.”

Tara Thompson, former technology training and development coordinator for the Creative Visions Teaching Academy at Minnesota’s Houston Public Schools, agreed that having a champion is a key to a successful implementation.

“I would suggest getting early stakeholder buy-in,” she says. “[We had] a leadership team that said, ‘Yes, we need to do this,’ and we just started telling people, ‘This is coming, this is how it’s going to work.’ It could have been a much better implementation if we got teachers, students, and community members involved and understanding why we needed an LMS.”

Thompson added that having such buy-in wouldn’t have changed what software they chose, “but there would have been less questioning, less pushback, and we would have gotten further, faster,” she says.