“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end” – Robin Sharma
Although change can be scary, it is often necessary and can lead to positive outcomes if given the attention it deserves. When it comes to organizational change, such as the migration from one learning management system (LMS) to another, an institution must build a change strategy in order to have the greatest chance of success. An effective change strategy should include a clear communication plan, support from faculty, and stakeholder buy-in right from the start.
From a practical standpoint, here are three quick tips for managing change when migrating to a new LMS:
1. Communicate a Clear Strategy & Message
Align the reason for the change with the institutional strategic plan and ensure all stakeholders spread the same message. People need to understand the reasons behind a change in order to feel engaged. Once they understand the “why,” everyone is more likely to contribute to making the transition an easy process.
2. Engage Key Stakeholders Early
It’s important to engage with all stakeholders. This could include groups such as union executives, the student association, student support services, faculty development/human resources, corporate services, etc. They are the enablers of the project. Get them on-board quickly.
Remember to be inclusive with who you invite to meetings regarding the LMS migration. Often people who feel excluded from decisions become disengaged. Do the opposite; get them engaged as early as possible. A permanent committee on change management can organically evolve from these discussions.
3. Develop a Faculty Support Model
The move from one LMS to another is a great opportunity to remodel faculty support. Typically, group training sessions are not enough. Try offering a “just-in-time” service where faculty can access support when they need it. For the more autonomous learners, tutorials and written documentation can be very valuable.
And remember, it’s not necessary to seek usage of all tools in the platform at once. Develop a gradual plan, allowing ample time for adjustment. It is also important to eventually close doors to other systems in order to direct everyone to one point of access. This adds clarity and coherence for users.
Next Step: Think of a feature that could be universal and easy to implement as a first step for your institution. For example, a classlist tool is a good place to start. Through integration, why not add pictures of students in the tool to incite faculty members to use it frequently? We’ve seen this approach trigger some very strong adoption numbers for clients.
Ready to go with your change management strategy? Next up, check out four key strategies for migrating your courses.
Rosanne Abdulla is the EDU Content Marketing Manager at D2L. Previously, she was a part of the Training team. She completed her PhD in French Studies in 2018, where she researched extreme contemporary French Literature through a psychological lens. She has taught second language acquisition within the higher education sector, including undergraduate-level university courses, college degree and diploma courses, and continuing education programs. Rosanne has also been certified with the Ontario College of Teachers since 2011.
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