Even if you have picked the world’s best learning management system, your work isn’t done yet. The devil is in the detail. There are often small details that are often overlooked during LMS migration, which, if not handled meticulously, can lead to LMS implementation failure. Smooth transition to the new system takes additional work.
4 Tips for a Smooth LMS Migration
As change can be intimidating for your employees, ensure everyone is getting what is needed out of your educational programs, so that your new LMS doesn’t fall flat. Here are 4 tips that can help you ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition to the new technology:
1. Phase-In the New System
Making everyone jump directly into a new learning environment is an invitation for chaos. Instead of making a wholesale change all at once, break your transition into steps. Designate discrete milestones, and give each one a deadline.
For this, you’ll need to set up tasks that are specific to your organization. Change needs to be planned in advance. Communication at each stage is important. Your LMS provider will most likely have a template for implementing their LMS. This will include the tasks that are important from their point of view.
When you are phasing in the new system and incorporating your priorities, one method that can be effective is – following S.M.A.R.T. goals. These include:
- Specific: Define exactly what each milestone entails. Be specific in your communications with employees, so that they are clear on what’s expected from them.
- Measurable: Clearly state what you will consider success. It will eliminate any potential chaos and confusion.
- Achievable: Don’t make any of your goals too big to be realistic. If you were to insist that every department fully finish LMS migration within 30 days, this may be too big an order. Common wisdom says that shooting for the moon means you still land among the stars, but common wisdom is wrong. Setting an unrealistic goal means that you are setting people up not to try at all.
- Results-focused: Focus on what you want to happen. This goes beyond switching to a new and more effective LMS. Define what will be considered a success. For instance, survey learners six months after migration to see whether they are satisfied with the new program or if adjustments need to be made to serve their needs.
- Time-bound: Work without deadlines always gets shoved to the bottom of the priority list. Make sure you have dates in place for each phase to be completed.
By setting up milestones that are both ambitious and achievable, you lend some urgency to your migration and make it more likely that people in your organization will commit to the work that needs to be done.
2. Understand that People Resist and Fear Change
Most changes at workplace cause anxiety. That’s a given. People will make every possible effort to resist the change. So, instead of simply ignoring this aspect, face it by focusing on what is in it for your employees and how they benefit from the change. Give them examples of how new technology can actually solve their problems. In addition:
- Plan your communications. Don’t forget that change management is deeply dependent on communication. At the most preliminary stages of implementation, bring all managers and team leaders into the conversation. Clearly communicate what is desired. Before they could train their teams on new technology, you need to motivate them.
- Do not be afraid to deviate from plans if your learners are finding that planned elements are not working as well for them as you desired.As the new system is put into place, conduct user testing to ensure that the system is working properly and that it is effective for your learners.
To ensure that you are communicating every step of the way, implement a communication plan. When caught up in daily routine, people tend to communicate less than they originally planned. By setting up regular goals for reaching out to stakeholders and telling them what is going on, you can ensure that everyone has the information they need at any given time.
Changes and updates can be communicated in a number of methods. Some of the most effective include:
- Digital Bulletin Board: Make sure that all learners know where the board is and how to check it for updates.
- Email: Send out daily messages when appropriate and weekly digests about progress and changes.
- Department Meetings: Meet in person either in a group or one on one to discuss changes and give employees time to ask questions.
- Team Member Lunches: These meetings are more relaxed. By eating together, you can reassure one another and make team members more comfortable and accepting of changes.
At all times, make sure to focus your conversations and your efforts on the needs of your learners. Set up a liaison who can handle questions and concerns. By being highly responsive, you can help your learners adjust to the new LMS and thrive there.
3. Carefully Migrate Data
One of the most challenging technical aspects of LMS migration is getting all of your data from the old system to the new one. And failure to do so can give blues to the entire organization and put employees off from using the new system. How to handle data transfer?
- To ensure that no data is lost during the process, make a worksheet and stick to it rigorously. The process starts by making a list of all assets in the old system.
- One by one, transfer each and record the process. If possible, have a close-knitted team available to audit your migration and ensure that nothing is lost. Take snapshots of the system before moving anything.
The process of transferring data can be time-consuming. However, once the process is established, it is a repetitive step that can be completed with a small amount of training. It may be beneficial to bring in a temporary contractor specifically for this purpose.
4. Map the Existing Learning Environments and Align Them
Learners who go into a new system where nothing is set up like the old one will quickly get frustrated. This makes it difficult to keep them engaged and working their way through training courses that make them more valuable to your organization. When you engage in LMS migration, keep a few things familiar, to motivate them to use the system.
By improving on old issues but keeping the new structure somewhat close to the old one, you make them much happier and more eager to use your new tools. Also:
- Share information about the new structure with all users.
- Try making training videos or text modules for any new parts of the learning system that are significantly different from the old one.
- Create screencast videos that walk the user through the new system step by step.
Conclusion: Moving to a new system has plenty of perils. But when you implement LMS migration in a structured and well-planned way, it can provide a wealth of benefits for you and your learners. Complaints about old and outdated systems can be addressed and learning can be made more convenient for every member of your team.