This is the fourth and final post in this case study relating to migrating between learning management systems (LMSs). In this post we’ll cover timing the launch of the new LMS. The amount of content you have and your team’s availability impact the time it takes to complete the LMS migration process. However, it would help if you had at least six months to be able to address all the challenges described above. Consider these tips for launching purposes:
    • The pilot test: Different pilot tests should be conducted with different types of users. For example, make sure you test the platform with a current learner and with new learners. Provide three to five questions to your testers. If possible, connect with your testers again after making the changes to ensure you are addressing their suggestions.
    • Avoid keeping learners in two LMSs simultaneously: If you are running a continuous program rather than a course that operates within a specific timeframe, communicate with your learners in advance and allow them to complete their training in the old LMS until a specific date. If you have a large group of learners, you can group them and set different dates, but avoid having the same learner on two platforms at the same time.
    • Download all the data from your LMS: Make sure you have all the reports you need to “recreate” learner progress. The report should include the percentage of progress, grades, answers to quizzes, and other unique data you might have.
    • Keep your old LMS for a few weeks: Plan the launch at least one month before the end of your subscription with your older provider. It will allow you to go back and extract information you might be missing and have an alternative plan in case you face difficulties with your launching date.
    • Try to keep the same credentials: By keeping at least the usernames, you will have a better chance at a smooth transition. Find a way to administer passwords effectively and also provide useful learner support systems so that learners get an almost immediate answer to all of their questions related to logging in during the first week of your new LMS.
    • Navigate the tool with them: Send very short and concrete messages about when you are migrating, why you are migrating, and how they will be impacted. You can also share your migration progress (images) and a sense of how the new platform looks. Schedule navigation sessions from day one and offer personalized “tours” to the new platform.
    • Connect with team leaders and corporate clients: If your learners are part of teams or organizations, make sure you send separate messages to team leaders and managers. Make explicit what changes they might expect and how you will mitigate potential impacts during the transition.
    • Consider extensions: Even if, after launching, it seems your learners are already adapted to the new platform, consider offering a week of extension to all of them. For some learners, the transition is going to be harder, and you need to publicly address that some additional time might be needed.
Finally, remember that you will identify all the issues you missed after launching. Anticipate a six-month period to consider the migration is over and, of course, document and make lessons learned available to all your team members. This concludes our four-part case study on migrating to a new LMS. You might also be interested in the other three posts, Do I need a different LMS, Selecting an Alternative LMS and Preparing for Migration.