By Audra Wisner, Corporate & Government Account Manager
Many of our clients have been using the same LMS for years and years. Sometimes, they come to understand that what they have been using is no longer delivering what they need. But for them, the thought of change is just too much to bear. (“The work, the glitches, the headache. Agh! It’s just too much!”) I’d like to propose another perspective on change: Even though the thought of change hurts, try not to be scared or stressed out. With the right implementation strategy, all will be just fine.
I recently attended the Midwest Moot at Northern Illinois University and sat through a session on this very topic, with a very prestigious university speaking about their experience when switching from one LMS to another. The switch for this university was a major undertaking. They had to decide whether to migrate or rebuild; they needed training for over 300 faculty members, and the training and changes had to occur with no downtime for the students. (Oh, and did I mention they had only 6 months to complete this major transition?) Some might say they endured short term pain for long-term gain by facing this massive change head-on.
They built their strategy around three words, and ultimately ended up with a successful implementation:
Once you have decided to take the leap and switch your LMS, create the plan. Here’s a very brief suggestion checklist that may help get you started.
1. Put together your project team. Who will be responsible for training, communicating, moving content, and holding the hands of those creating or recreating course content?
2. Determine the best way for training to be delivered. Do you need multiple formats? Or will you make it all self-paced? Who will deliver it–someone from your institution, or
someone from the new LMS platform?
3. Communicate with all of the stakeholders. Let them know all the critical timelines, and make sure they understand when training is being offered. Especially, do tell them the date that they will no longer have access to the old LMS.
4. Consider how to handle existing content. Here, it seems, is where the most concerns arise. Will it be best to migrate all or some of the content? Or will it be best to start from cratch, leaving everything that’s gone before to posterity?
Additional items to consider:
- Content Shelf Life How old is the content? How “fresh will the instructors and trainers be to create brand new content? (In academic settings, at semesters’ ending and beginning are definitely out of the question.) Decide as a team when the content changes should occur. During the coming months while the transition is in motion, you don’t want your SMEs to burn out.
- Copyright Issues Since the course materials were first created, have any of the items had changes in permissions? And most importantly, will the same [old] content work in the new system in its present form Depending on the original place and method of publication, and the updated copyright’s fine print, it may be necessary to do something radical, like starting over. (The advice from the university at the Moot? (“REBUILD.”)
5. Be patient. Be prepared to have to hold some faculty and staff members’ hands. Be encouraging, keeping everyone focused on the better LMS that everyone will benefit from. (Of course, many people will persist in believing that, if they just avoid “signing up” and getting involved in creating something new, nothing will change…, or it least, it doesn’t have to.) Be resolved, but gently so. With a little hand holding, more people will end up much happier.
Change is never easy, especially in the beginning. In fact, sometimes it’s just downright painful all the way through, and through and through. But with proper planning, communication, and patience, change be achieved in a smooth and successful way.
In times like these, Remote-Learner is here to help you. Why not let one of our expert Account Manager’s sit and chat with you about your needs, then we can help you put together a solid implementation strategy? Visit our webpage and give us a call so we can help get your change game on.