4 Must-Know Strategies for Migrating your Courses

  • 4 Min Read

When it comes to LMS migration, managing the technical aspect is just as important as the emotional. But don’t let the migration process scare you, learn how to manage both.

Course migration and conversions are a scary topic. When I think about the organizations I’ve worked with, and the countless hours they’ve put towards the development and maintenance of their courses – I know the fear of losing that work during the migration process is real. In my experience, you have to learn how to manage the emotional part of migration, as much as the technical.  Losing sight of either will have huge risks for your instructor engagement and adoption.

Here are four strategies that will be helpful as you plan your course migration project:

1.  Make sure to perform an inventory of your courses

There are many different ways to organize and deliver courses. It’s important to take the time to collect information about the courses you have in your LMS before you commit to a specific strategy or timeline. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you have master courses?
  • If you have master courses, do you have them for all courses or just some?
  • If you have master courses, is it safe to only convert the master or are there other “versions” that convert as well?
  • Do you have multiple sets of content per course (e.g. one per instructor)?
  • Do you have development courses?

2.  Create a plan and define its scope

Once you put together an inventory of all of your courses, it’s time to think about which ones need to be converted. This important step is frequently overlooked and can result in a suboptimal “migrate everything” approach. Get the right team together from the start, like your curriculum owners and department/program chairs, to think about:

  • Which master courses are used and need to be converted?
  • Which courses don’t have masters but still need to be converted?
  • Which courses are no longer offered and do not need to be converted?

3.  Apply these tactics to make progress quickly

Here are a few tips to help build momentum and see progress quickly.

  • Identify all of your “small” courses and migrate them first, for a big initial win. This allows you to focus the bulk of your effort on the large courses that may require specific care and attention.
  • Migrate development courses early in the process so you can leverage all of the features and tools of your new LMS, instead of having to redevelop these courses down the road.
  • Prioritize conversions by course start dates. For example, migrate all courses for launch term one, then term two, etc.
  • Identify courses or instructors that are complex and require extra support. Investing in some of your highest risk courses or most change averse instructors can result in unexpected champions that will prove invaluable as you move forward.

4.  Make sure you pick the right strategy

Your strategy for course migration will largely depend on the current framework and the needs of your institution. Consider how much content needs to be transitioned over and be realistic when allocating resources. What matters most is creating a strategy that is optimized for your timelines, your resources, and the experience you want to deliver to your instructors.

COURSE CONVERSION

Performing a course conversion is the simplest approach. However depending on the type of content you have, the volume, and the instructional design and curriculum development processes used at your institution, it can result in a poor experience for end users who interact with the courses (e.g. faculty and students).

Consider performing a course conversion when:

  • Your courses are simple and limited to mostly to content files.
  • You have limited resources to review/redevelop courses.
  • You are planning to redevelop your courses at a later date.

COURSE MIGRATION

A course migration requires more effort but typically results in the best experience for your end users. A course migration takes the concept of conversion, and adds an extra layer on top of it. Once courses have been converted and imported into the LMS, additional effort is taken to review each course and make it “LMS ready”. This could include anything from minor tweaks to content and assessments, to a full redesign or redevelopment of courses.

Consider performing a course migration when:

  • Your courses are complex and use many different tools, or have unique functionality.
  • You have instructional design, course development, or other resources available to review converted courses and execute changes.
  • Your curriculum is centrally managed.

START FROM SCRATCH

Starting from scratch is an option for institutions that don’t want to transition any courses from your legacy platform into the new LMS, or wish to encourage faculty to review their old content and rebuild courses on their own.

Consider starting from scratch when:

  • You have little or no courses to transition.
  • You have concerns about the quality of your courses.
  • You are changing your course management/curriculum development processes.
  • Your legacy platform does not support a standard course export option/course conversion is not possible.

Like all things in life, balance is key! You may find that a single strategy will not work in all cases. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your approach based on the requirements of individual or groups of courses.
Watch this webinar for a great example of how one institution tackled their LMS migration.

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