A learning management system (LMS) handles all aspects of the learning process, from hosting educational content to allowing students to communicate with one another. Whether you are choosing to implement a new LMS or upgrade your current one, this decision requires time and effort. To be successful, you’ll need to work with a vendor to support your learning needs while also assembling a team to oversee your implementation.
We’ll walk you through the key players to include at each stage of your migration process.
Phase 1: Getting Started
It’s important to think about what project governance and change management look like for your academic institution. To get started, bring together a core team of people from your information technology department, such as:
Leadership Sponsor: Represents your internal project team and works with the vendor to ensure the project is in line with identified business drivers.
Project Manager: Oversees the planning, implementation, and tracking of your LMS migration from beginning to end.
Designing, delivering, and managing effective online learning programs is a joint effort for you and your LMS vendor. At this stage, your team will work with the vendor’s leadership sponsor, project manager, training manager, and implementation team.
Phase 2: Develop an Implementation Project Plan
Once you have established your core team, you will work with the vendor to develop a project plan. To do this, engage your extended team. This team consists of people who will frequently work with the LMS after implementation, such as:
LMS Administrators: Take care of the everyday operations of the system, including administration, technical support, documentation, and reporting.
Technology Stakeholders: Use the software directly and indirectly in their current workflows and include developers, course managers, and IT experts.
Academic Stakeholders: Students, educators, and school administrators who use this software regularly.
Once you’ve established your stakeholder’s measurable goals and outcomes, work with your vendor to validate your expectations and establish timelines.
Phase 3: Discover and Design
It’s essential for the LMS vendor to work with your extended team throughout the migration process. Your vendor will help uncover needs that your core team may not have considered. In this stage, your LMS vendor should listen to your feedback and make configuration recommendations to hit business, teaching, and learning goals.
Phase 4: Train and Coach
Your new LMS should offer you exciting upgrades and additional capabilities that your previous platform did not have, and you must work on educating your stakeholders on the use of this new software. This requires your vendor to work closely with your team of:
Instructional Designers: Facilitate learning by designing and developing content such as instructional materials, presentations, and guides.
Faculty Champions: Partners on campus who have made a commitment to share their expertise in specific teaching practices and tools.
Training Administrators: Develop training materials, resources, and other documentation to help users learn how to interact with their new LMS.
Your vendor should set you up for success by providing coaching services, training plans, and additional resources to make this change easier. In this learning stage, your LMS provider should also cover key workflows and update your platform based on any new needs you identify together.
Phase 5: Prepare and Launch
In preparation for launch, confirm whether or not your LMS validates your initial expectations. Use this time to review the functionalities you have in place with your LMS administrators and make sure all technical integrations and workflows are validated.
Throughout this blog, we have stressed the importance of including your core and extended stakeholders in the migration process. When preparing for your LMS launch, it’s essential that you communicate with your faculty and academic stakeholders about this change. Make transparency a top priority and share press releases and emails about your new LMS to keep everyone up to speed.
Phase 6: Post-Launch
Once your LMS is up and running, consider completing post-launch activities with your team, such as having a launch retrospective meeting, evaluating your metrics and usage data, and reviewing early user feedback. Share these insights with the vendor in order to make improvements and support your learners.
Deciding to onboard a new LMS has its complexities. In order to lay the foundations for long-term success, it’s important that the right players—from your team and your vendor’s team—are introduced at the right time during your implementation journey.
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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