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30 August 2023

User journey – a key element not to be missed when building your LMS

Chris Young

Chris Young

UX Consultant

Don’t underestimate the importance of the user journey in the success of your LMS.

Used to its full potential, a learning management system is a powerful tool for your organisation to engage, educate and empower its learners. The user journey is the steps each of your learners take to reach and utilise all of the courses and other important features found within your LMS

This journey has a significant impact on the ease of engaging with your LMS — and that’s why you can’t afford to overlook this when building it.

Why user journey matters

Any time you buy something online, you’re on a user journey of your own. You’ll know from experience that sometimes a journey can be slick, seamless and simple. On other occasions, it can be frustrating and make you feel like you’re being made to work too hard to spend your money. When it comes to your next purchase, you’ll be far more likely to return to the easy and intuitive site.

It’s the same with your LMS. You need to create a user journey that makes it incredibly straightforward for people to get to where they’re trying to go or need to be. The journey needs to be so unassumingly engaging that it makes the LMS enjoyable to use and keeps people coming back for more learning.

That means giving careful consideration to what you want each of your users to see and do on your LMS, then building a plan that delivers this.

So, how do you craft the perfect user journey for your LMS? Here are some tips and approaches we bring to our projects.

Bring in marketing

Building an LMS is often thought of as being a technical job. For that reason, projects tend to be led by IT or HR departments. Don’t forget there’s also an important experiential aspect of any LMS, so include marketing and design teams at an early stage.

Our own user experience and design teams will also be looking at your LMS from this perspective. But if you’ve got people doing similar things in-house, it makes sense to involve them.

Customise navigation menus

Streamline the navigation menu so that each user only sees links that are relevant to them. If you use Totara Learn you can customise menus based on dynamic audiences, which means only people in a particular role, team or department will see certain items. Do away with daunting mega-menus so that your users can more easily see only items that are important.

Make the first page matter

When a user logs in to your LMS, they should immediately be able to see where they need to go. That means creating a first page that intuitively shows whatever it is that the user has logged in to do.

Use customised dashboards

Dashboards are a great way of creating the sort of first page we mentioned above. A dashboard collates the course that a user is midway through, the course they need to complete next and other useful links on a single page. Like navigation menus, dashboards can be customised so that the type of information shown is highly relevant to each user based on their role or skills.

Make courses easy to find

Dashboards and menus make it easy to display courses that you’ve assigned to a user, but what about when they’re looking for other courses for professional development? Use course categories and appropriate search and filter functionality to make it easy to find specific courses or courses on particular topics.

Deliver everything in fewer than four clicks

If you’re making users click more than three or four times to get to where they need to be, you’re asking too much of them. Something has gone wrong in the planning and you need to go back to the drawing board to work out how to make things easier to find.

Market to your users

Think of your users as customers and market to them in the same way. That means using featured links and marketing spots around your LMS to promote new or important courses, direct people to improved features or help to signpost users around the site.

Run pilot programmes

Before a full, organisation-wide launch of your LMS, run a pilot programme with a single team or department. Give users a test run of courses they need to find and enrol on, then get their feedback on how easy they found it. Use that feedback to inform improvements to the user journey ahead of the full launch.

Get some UX consultancy

Our UX team are expert in crafting effective and engaging user journeys. It’s well worth picking their brains because they’re got great ideas for building and refining LMS user journeys that have been honed across hundreds of sites.

If you’d like to talk about user journeys, just fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.



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