When migrating to a new learning management system (LMS), change can be intimidating to some users. So how can you seamlessly roll out new software and expect quick adoption? The answer is good communication. Keeping users engaged, involved, and empowered throughout change makes a difference in outcome and acceptance.
This blog highlights five tips to help you successfully communicate your LMS migration.
1. Emphasize the Value and Benefits of the Change
The first thing to do when switching your LMS is to draft a clear and concise narrative that explains the reason for the change. Share it with everyone involved. Consider using the question “What’s in it for me?” to guide your messaging.
This helps users understand why this change matters to them and how it will impact their everyday lives. You can let them know how this new LMS will increase productivity, improve communication, or provide new avenues for collaboration. By clearly communicating its upsides, you’ll help reduce resistance, uncertainty, and misunderstanding.
2. Use Multiple Communication Channels
In addition to communicating early on with users, you should also use a variety of communication channels to make sure that everyone has access to information and your messages are reinforced.
Emails are a great way to get the conversation going and share initial news, but don’t rely on them as your only means of communication. The secret of a successful communication plan is to consider the importance of each channel individually and see how it fits within your overall strategy. Take a look at the existing channels you have, such as discussion forums, social media, and even regularly occurring meetings to see how you can use these to your advantage. Using multiple communication channels helps LMS users stay engaged and aligned with the goals of your migration.
3. Engage Change Champions
It’s also important to harness the excitement of those who are receptive to the change and make them champions of the cause. These influencers are naturally comfortable and supportive of your LMS switch and can advocate on its behalf.
Change champions don’t necessarily have to be in positions of authority, but they do have to have a clear vision of what’s happening and an ability to communicate that vision to others. For example, an educator who is passionate about the feedback feature in your new LMS can share their excitement with more hesitant educators and offer help. Change champions not only provide technical know-how, but also provide social support to help users adapt to new technology. This lets the desire for change trickle down to everyone from educators to students rather than just to those at an administrator or leadership level.
4. Educate and Offer Training
Another communication tip is to provide resources to help LMS users learn more about your strategy and goals. This can be done by:
- Sharing vendor materials such as software-specific videos, information guides, and downloadable reports. Be sure to make this information readily available to everyone affected by the LMS migration.
- Providing on-demand videos as microlearning resources for learners to refer to and use at their own pace. These videos should be available long after the implementation process for when users need learning aids in the future.
- Hosting training sessions to help introduce your LMS. The smaller the session, the easier it is to provide personalized guidance and hands-on training to users.
Learning opportunities are key to a successful migration. But it’s important to remember that not everyone learns the same way. That’s why users need to be provided with a variety of learning options to keep them engaged throughout the implementation process.
5. Gather Feedback
It’s not enough to simply communicate a change; your messaging should involve consistent two-way communication. This means having regular interaction to discuss LMS results, reinforce key points, answer further questions, and cultivate feedback. This can be done by:
- Conducting short surveys to understand user opinions through multiple choice questions or short answers. This is particularly helpful for people who prefer to keep their feedback anonymous or private.
- Using specialized feedback forums or feedback communities for users to share their questions, ideas, and feature requests.
- Creating an email account dedicated to your LMS migration so users can contact you directly and privately regarding questions they have about the migration.
- Holding townhall meetings to clearly explain the project vision in a compelling manner. In these meetings, you can open the floor for users to ask questions.
Remember that implementing a new technology or software is an ongoing, inclusive process. This means that it should involve more parties than your IT department and leadership; it should look at the broader number of users. This involvement can make your users feel they have more control over a change and that it is not being forced upon them.
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 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, 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.
Zeina Abouchacra is the EDU Content Marketing Specialist at D2L. She has worked in the higher education sector in various communications positions as well as a researcher and a teaching assistant. Specifically, teaching undergraduate-level communication university courses. Zeina is currently working towards completing her Master of Arts Communication degree at the University of Ottawa.
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