Change can be scary, but doesn’t have to be with some helpful tips for successful change management
Like any change, upgrading or ‘turning on’ a new interface within the learning management system (LMS) requires planning and testing to be successful. Before taking the leap, it’s important to consider how this change will impact your users in their day-to-day experiences with the platform and what they need to know to make the transition a positive one.
A model of continuous delivery is becoming more pervasive for software companies, including learning platform providers. This means that new features, functionality, and user experiences can be regularly improved to meet the changing needs of educational institutions and organizations. New features or simple workflow improvements may be introduced with little resistance. However, when larger changes occur–such as an overhaul to the overall user experience–resistance can become more of an issue.
Applying commonly practiced change management concepts can help institutions make a smooth transition to a new LMS user experience.
What is Change Management?
Before jumping into the how, let’s define the what. Change management is a methodology for applying a structured process and set of tools to managing the people-side of a change to achieve a desired business outcome.
There are many benefits to leveraging a change management process, including, but not limited to:
- Increasing the chances of overall project success
- Reducing the overall resistance to change
- Helping with the adoption process of a new process or technology
3 Steps to Successful Change Management
One of the first steps in developing a change management plan is to identify the stakeholder groups who will be impacted by the change. It’s important to consider the expected pain points that could be related to the change. How will faculty, students, administrators and support staff react to these changes? Getting ahead of these will be key to addressing resistance that may arise.
Fear of the unknown or lack of information are common issues when dealing with change. That’s why the next step is developing a solid communication plan. In addition to generalized messaging, audience specific messaging will make a huge difference. If users can understand the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM), they will be more likely to embrace the change. In addition, it’s crucial that communication is a two-way street. You should have a mechanism to capture feedback and respond to potential issues. Holding Q&A sessions are one way to help facilitate this.
With regards to communicating change around the LMS, aim to highlight and promote the best features. For example, if you look at rolling out a new user experience–showcase how a more user-friendly navigation and clean interface will enhance the users’ overall experience in the platform. By taking this approach, students, faculty and support staff will have an easier time seeing the benefit of the change.
Remember that communication of the change does not end at the go-live date. Capture wins and best practices from internal champions and share your successes across the entire organization and maybe even the broader user community to help reassure stakeholders the project is on track.
You are now ready to move forward to the final step and create your project plan. When it comes to rolling out a new user interface, your project plan should include all major activities, such as testing, training, communication, and when you plan to go live. It’s beneficial to have enablement resources available for faculty and students to help them with the transition. You can lean on user communities for additional support for video tutorials and resources.