Blog Post

Your Guide to a Successful LMS Migration

By:
Dave Sliwinski
Published:
November 21, 2023
Updated:
LMS Migration Guide

The time has come—you’re ready to move your customer education program to a new learning management system (LMS) and leave your legacy LMS behind. 

Maybe your team has outgrown your existing LMS and its functionality no longer suits your educational program. Or perhaps you’re planning to scale your program and your current software is incapable of scaling with you as you grow.

When you’re choosing a new LMS, you want to make sure you understand what the LMS partner will do, and what will be required from your team as part of the process.

In this article, we’re sharing our tips and best practices for a successful LMS migration. 

What Needs to Be Migrated to Your New LMS

There are three primary components within the data migration process: content, users, and enrollments.

Content

Within the content component, migration of the learning asset itself is the minimum required data.

Some LMS platforms can migrate additional course properties that eliminate lengthy manual input after the migration. 

Your team also needs to consider whether you’ll add or change your branding while moving to a new LMS platform, as only a subset of LMS platforms support custom branding.

Users

While you can (and should) back up all user records from your previous LMS platform, education teams can focus on only migrating active users from their current platform to the new one. 

Enrollments

While migrating enrollments, we recommend only bringing over your completed enrollments, as moving those “in progress” often leads to confusion and support inquiries.

Questions to Ask Your LMS Provider About Migration

Before the LMS migration process begins, it’s vital to ensure you’ve found the right LMS provider for your needs and goals.

Here are five questions to ask a potential provider about their migration process:

1. Do you migrate the content asset only or the full course with all supporting properties?

If the provider migrates only the content asset itself, be aware that you’ll need to manually input the supporting course properties after the fact.

2. What level of detail can I migrate for enrollments and completions?

Find out if the completion date, completion status, and expiration date will be migrated over to your new platform.

The ability to migrate this LMS data is key, as some platforms can automate the re-enrollment process based on course expiration dates, like we do here at Intellum.

3. What user data details can I import?

Whether it’s standard or custom data, the more user profile details you can move over to the new platform, the better. Find out if you’re able to migrate all the properties you previously used to define a user profile to the new platform. 

Here at Intellum, we can accommodate more than twenty standard fields, plus additional custom fields, when migrating content over to our platform.

4. What guidance and assistance do you provide during the migration?

Your chosen provider should be proficient in both migration best practices, as well as LMS implementation to improve the structure and organization of the educational experience. 

5. Is there an additional cost for hands-on assistance with migrating LMS content, users, and enrollments?

It’s better to find out what’s included in the migration services ahead of time, rather than to receive a surprise bill when you need assistance down the line. 

How to Get Ready For Your LMS Migration

Your new LMS provider should explain each step and how your internal team can best support their efforts.

To make the transition as smooth as possible for your team, the new provider, and your learners, follow these steps: 

1. Address any branding changes. 

If your migration plan includes adding or changing branding, get this process started as quickly as possible. With all the people and moving parts required, new branding can create significant delays in the migration process. 

2. Communicate the change. 

You’ll need to help your learners prepare for the new learning platform. Focus on what’s changing,why, and when. Reassure your customers that you’ll communicate more information or instructions when it’s needed. 

Share up-to-date timelines with your customers and prepare users if there will be any downtime in access to the learning environment. 

3. Set deadlines.

There are two deadlines your team needs to plan for and communicate to customers.

First, set a cut-off for completing “in progress” enrollments to support your efforts to move over only completed enrollments to the new platform.

The second deadline to establish is the anticipated project completion date.

4. Collect your content.

Where your content lives and how quickly you can access it will make a substantial impact on how long your implementation takes.

5. Organize your content.

How you organize your content is just as important as the quality of your content. Take time to think through the learner journey and how you want to organize and structure content.

6. Conduct a pilot run.

Test out the new LMS on a pilot group of users. This allows you to test out the new platform quickly and collect feedback to make changes and improve your program for all users before you migrate everyone over.

Advice For a Successful LMS Migration

You want to build the best learning experience for your customers. 👏

The learner experience is top of mind for us, too. 

That’s why we asked our team of experts to share additional advice on LMS migration best practices. 

Here’s what they said:

Don’t limit yourself to what it was before. This is your chance to reinvent your program and enhance the educational experience for your customers. Devote enough time to reorganize it to be more user-friendly or to target new education goals.

Move only what’s current. Before moving platforms, weed out old content that’s no longer relevant. Similar to packing up your belongings before moving to a new home, if you bring over everything and wait to sort through it until after the move, you’ll end up doing twice the work!

Focus on learning content only. You may have used your previous LMS more like a content management system by storing general marketing and sales enablement materials alongside learning content. In the new platform, make sure your customer education content is focused on learning activities only (e.g., certification, courses, eLearning, help content, etc.), rather than general marketing or sales information. 

Ready for a New LMS?

Remember, your goal is not just to move to a new LMS but to create a more effective and user-friendly learning experience. By following these best practices and seeking expert advice, you'll not only ensure a successful migration but also set the stage for a more robust and engaging educational program for your customers. 

If you’re looking for your next LMS, feel free to reach out—our team is here to help.

About the Author

Dave Sliwinski headshot
Dave Sliwinski
SVP Solutions Engineering
Dave Sliwinski has over 20 years of experience in the software services industry and managing LMS platforms and L&D programs. He joined Intellum in 2016 and serves as Intellum's SVP of Solutions Engineering, a trusted source of technical product expertise and platform best practices for clients and prospects.