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Tips for getting started making the switch to a next-generation Learning Management System (LMS)
Which is worse, the evil you do know or the evil you don’t? A majority of companies ask themselves this age-old question when considering replacing their existing learning management system. They might be unsatisfied with their current system, but at least they know what to expect from it. With the advances in LMS technology year after year, chances are all the shortcomings of your current system can be satisfied by choosing a different system – you just have to start looking around and be willing to consider making the switch. We’d like to offer a few suggestions for warming up to the idea of switching LMSs, more often than not you’ll be very happy you moved forward with implementing a new system.
Why do you want to switch in the first place?
Companies want to switch LMSs for a variety of reasons, but we’ve found in our experience there are usually a few common complaints about an existing system: overall requirements of the LMS have changed, feeling restricted in general usage and functionality, feelings of overpaying, outdated graphic user interface (GUI), bad customer service, or feelings of general frustration with the LMS to name a few. Any of these themes hitting home? Identifying what you don’t like about your current system is the first step to a better understanding of what you do want in an LMS.
Starting your search for a new LMS.
Identifying what features you need and are looking for in an LMS will help provide direction as you start your search, save yourself time and skip talking to vendors whose capabilities are of no relevance to you. Do you need advanced reporting features? Social learning capabilities? Integrated authoring tools? Hosting options? Be specific with your needs and only consider systems that are on par with your requirements.
You’re not alone in this search, there are plenty of resources online for comparing various LMS providers and reading actual user reviews of today’s top systems. If you’re really stuck on a place to get started, feel free to reference our LMS Buyer’s Guide and How to Select an LMS whitepaper. If you haven’t been paying much attention to the market in recent years, these resources will help give an idea of today’s landscape for LMS buying.
How about moving all of your critical data into a new LMS?
You now know why you want to switch and what you need in a new LMS, and maybe you’ve even considered a few vendors you think will satisfy your requirements. Still the biggest challenge to overcome is the process of physically migrating all your existing data out of your old system and into the new system, with a no-loss guarantee. This process requires a significant amount of time and planning (both from your company and the selected vendor), it is important to not rush and be realistic with your time frame for completion. A well-developed plan that includes a dedicated team can help put your mind at ease – a careful selection of team members is essential for a successful LMS migration. Assign roles and responsibilities to your migration team with specific deadlines and quality checks to ensure that all aspects of your data have been covered: all required legacy data, user accounts, courses, SCORM packages, rulesets and automation rules, saved reporting automation, etc. Everyone should be aware of their expected contribution and due date so as to ensure your seamless transition between systems.
There are quite a few moving parts involved in switching LMSs, but careful planning and execution through all of these steps can help you and your company realize an improved learning management system experience. Are you curious to see a real-world example of a successful LMS switch? Check out this case study featuring our client, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED), and how our expert developers worked with their team to switch them out of their existing learning management system and into Inquisiq – they have been enjoying the benefits of a next-generation LMS ever since!