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How to Plan Your LMS Migration

  • 5 Min Read

Find out how you can choose a new LMS that fits you and your users needs


There are many reasons why you might decide to look for a new learning management system (LMS). Maybe your system is too complex with many features that are never used. It could be too expensive, or unable to support all your needs. Whatever the reason, choosing a new LMS is all about finding something that really fits your needs.

6 Steps to Plan Your LMS Migration

This blog outlines six simple steps to make your LMS migration process go as smoothly as possible.

1. Define Your Current Gaps and Goals

Before migrating to a new LMS, it’s important to understand the gaps in your current system. Does it use an outdated interface? Is your current LMS costly? Do you need a solution that people love and will use?

It’s also essential to have a clearly defined list of goals in place. Outline what you want to achieve with this new migration. Do you want a system that effectively manages content? Are you looking for a solution that improves communication and collaboration? This will allow you to focus on areas of the LMS that are higher in priority and ensure that this migration is fulfilling its primary purposes.

Simply put, an LMS migration should be a long-term solution. If you can’t identify the problem areas with your current system, it will be difficult to create a migration plan that suits your needs.

2. Create an Implementation Timeline

The timeline for your LMS migration depends on the scope of your project, the experience of your team, and your chosen LMS. The number of user accounts and apps you intend to migrate and integrate with your new LMS will also impact the implementation timeline so it’s important to schedule enough time to meet each benchmark before the actual launch. The implementation timeline should include all of the major tasks on your vendor’s side as well as yours, including:

  • Performing an inventory of your current courses to see what is still useful and should be migrated. This would include items such as existing learning content, prerecorded video lessons, or interactive courses.
  • Vetting your content for compliance with the new tool and seeing whether you need adjustments. Standard support during a migration is critical; know what systems your new LMS provider has and how they can support your content. Figure out if you will be migrating all course activities, including assignments, tests, quizzes, and SCORM packages, or will you be creating an entirely new body of courses?

Not only does the implementation timeline help you keep track of costs, it also helps you prepare the necessary resources, and track the efficiency of the work once it begins.

3. Decide How You Will Make the Switch

Figure out the migration process that best suits your needs by collaborating with your LMS provider and team. Switching to the new LMS can be accomplished in several ways:

  1. A complete changeover done quickly
  2. A gradual phase-out of the old LMS and phase-in of the new system
  3. Running both systems in parallel before the changeover

4. Begin the Data Migration Process

The data migration process consists of three main components: extract, transform, and load (ETL). Depending on your needs, it may be extract, load, and transform (ELT).

Extract: Data is pulled from all your data sources. This extraction can include course content, user information, video, and assessments.

Transform: This process consists of several sub-steps. The data is cleansed, standardized, deduplicated, verified, and sorted.

Load: Data is loaded into the destination and verified.

ETL transforms your data before loading, while ELT transforms data only after loading to your LMS. This process is assisted by standards such as xAPI, IMS, and SCORM. These sets of technical standards for eLearning software products tell programmers how to write their code so that it can work well with other eLearning software. If your legacy LMS uses the same standards, the migration process to the new LMS will be easier. However, if these standards do not match, then the migration to the new LMS will require more effort in the verification phase.

5. Implement the Switch

The implementation stage includes multiple milestones. Your IT team and LMS vendor must work together to ensure that you have organized all the data and transferred the necessary records into the new LMS. This stage also consists of:

Testing your LMS: Test the learner experience, faculty experience, and admin experience.

Communicating the change: Ensure your institution is ready for this new system by establishing an internal and external communication plan.

Educating your personnel: Educate your stakeholders such as students and faculty in the operation of the new system. Make them aware of the change and the benefits of the LMS migration.

Developing training: Coordinate with your vendor to develop training for your staff and students using the new LMS.

6. Launch Your LMS and Work Toward Your Goal

Once you are done with the LMS switch, it’s important to review and reflect on your initial migration plan and LMS needs. Ensure all the goals and objectives you set before the migration are met and the required data is in place.

It’s also necessary to create a post-implementation plan after you have successfully migrated your LMS. Stay in touch with your vendor to continually offer training and support for new users. Also, make sure you are conducting regular reviews to guarantee that you’re getting the most out of your system, especially as new features become available.

Learn About the Nine Things to Consider Before Making an LMS Switch

Your LMS functions as the heart of your academic institution—it not only hosts and manages learning material, but also helps students to successfully hit learning outcomes. However, if your LMS no longer serves your institution’s needs, it’s time to consider switching to a system that works for you. This switch may seem as daunting as selecting your initial LMS was, but with careful planning and the right approach, you can have an efficient and smooth switch.

This eBook covers nine key considerations you need to be thinking about before making an LMS switch.

View Now to learn about the nine things to consider before making an LMS switch

Written by:

Zeina Abouchacra

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Table of Contents

  1. 6 Steps to Plan Your LMS Migration
  2. Learn About the Nine Things to Consider Before Making an LMS Switch