Have you ever thought as to why LMS switching is a highly conscious decision? I will tell you why. It’s not only because it calls for heavy investments and cumbersome processes pertaining to LMS selection and implementation, but it also brings along a factor of ‘change’ that affects the learners in the process, significantly. It is these learners who are often ignored (to an extent) during the entire switching process, and yet the ones who actually leverage the benefits of the LMS and set the tune for your training ROI. In this post, I talk of the 2 critical factors of LMS switching from the learners’ perspective. Typically, an LMS switching endeavor goes through the following 7 step process, each including a planning phase:
- Learning & Training – Business Analysis
- Options Research
- Upgrades & Support Services
Each of the aforementioned factors is critical for LMS switching. We have discussed the 7 key components of the LMS switching process earlier on our blog. To get a complete idea of this process I urge you to download our recently published eBook – LMS Switching Guide. However, in this post I will be discussing the two significant, but largely ignored components of this process – Migration & Adoption.
Without doubt, data migration is the most critical piece of the switching process. Data (which includes content like learning material, user generated content, training records etc.) needs to be extracted from source system/s, transformed into the format required by the target system, and then loaded into it. Complete and accurate data migration is essential not only to ensure the successful deployment and adoption of the new system, but also to help minimize ongoing support issues after the deployment. In short, migrating all data from your current LMS to the new LMS with zero-loss forms the underpinning of your switching success. However, the migration process does not stop with mere data and content migration. It also involves migrating or rather retaining the ‘learning style’. Learning Style refers to the learner’s way of working with the existing system. This is generally developed over time as the learner gets acquainted with the LMS and then uses it for his/her learning activities. This brings us to the obvious question – How can you retain/migrate this learning style to the new LMS? The best way to capture the learning style or the learner’s behavior analysis is via a process analysis document. Further, asking the below mentioned questions before undertaking data migration will help in migrating without any hassles:
- What learning style (application usage analysis, data consumption points, etc.) analysis do we have currently from our existing LMS?
- How can you leverage audit data and reports of the existing system for a better understanding of retention and engagement issues? As also at times the IT support issues?
There is no denying that the migration process is very closely knit with the adoption of your new system. Some LMS providers even have specialized ‘Client Adoption Teams’ for this process. Adoption teams facilitate smooth LMS transition and bring about a satisfying experience for both, the client and learners. The ‘Client Adoption Mechanism’, brought about by the ‘Client Adoption Team’, ensures effective utilization of the system by the admin and the learners. This mechanism provides system training to the users and helps in incorporating new features into their learning process. Even at the admin level, adoption is more about leveraging all the functionalities to the fullest and with a right perspective. The adoption team plays an important role post formal system training sessions, and continues to do so until you confirm successful adoption of the new LMS. Another way to smoothen the adoption process is to involve eLearning experts or Instructional designers, whom you can always outsource from any good consultancy service if you do not have them onboard. Involving these individuals, especially the IDs, in your LMS switching discussions and seeking their suggestions can have a strong impact on the UI of your new LMS. The level of flexibility needed at the admin and the learner end in personalizing the new LMS can be decided as per your learning requirement. Below is a list of questions that can help you experience a smooth and quick adoption:
- How your new LMS vendor plans to provide training to you or your team on the new LMS?
- Is the training just for your LMS administrators or also targeted to your learners?
- How intuitive is the LMS training? Who has designed it?
- What are the criteria to measure the effectiveness of this training?
- What are the ongoing training plans as the learners come in or move out?
An LMS switch happens mainly because of the disparity in the expectations and actual solution. Considering the above-mentioned two critical factors may help you pick a suitable LMS that will provide an engaging and effective learning experience, leading to enhanced performances by your learners. Most importantly, adhering to your time and budget expectations.