Like moving into a new home, switching to a new LMS is not something you want to do often. You have to pack all of your training and development belongings—like courses, media, and data—and take them over to your new digital training digs. Not to mention having to convince your employees that the new place is better than the one they’re used to, bigger and with more possibilities. That’s why it’s important to nail the switch on the first try.
It has to be done, however. You may hate to say it, but your LMS doesn’t really fit the needs of your organization anymore. It was perfect at the start, but you’ve grown, expanded, and you simply need more. Maybe it’s features, or the cost, or lack of support.
No matter the reason, you’ve decided to make the switch.
Before making it official, you’ll want to consider five important elements to ensure your next LMS can do what your current system doesn’t, and fits your organization now and into the future.
1. You should start by asking "why?"
You know you’re not happy with your current LMS, but do you know why? Maybe it’s the features, or lack thereof. Is it the usability, or are you just tired of looking at the ugly UI that hasn’t been updated in years?
Pinpointing the reason why you’re not happy will help you know what you want from your new LMS. If it’s features, what features does your organization need? If it’s usability, which systems are easy to use and intuitive?
Understanding your “why” for switching to a new LMS will shorten the search and selection process, and ensure that you’re happy with your decision.
2. Understand the differences
You’re looking for the “perfect” LMS for your organization. It needs to check off all the boxes that your other LMS didn’t. Once you find your new LMS, it’s important to understand that there are going to be differences between the new and the old.
I know, you’re saying, “yeah, no duh, that’s why I made the change.” Which is true, but differences still need to be taken into account.
Like moving into a new house, you’ll probably walk into the kitchen a few times and automatically flip the light switch to the right of the doorway only to slide your hand down a smooth wall, and realize the switch in your new house is on the left.
Similarly, your new LMS will look, operate, and present data differently. The features—even if they’re the same—will be in different places and work in different ways.
When you roll this out to your organization, especially to people who were not part of the research and vetting process, and who may not understand why the switch had to be made, they may throw their hands up at the first sign of difference and complain they miss the old system.
No, Cheryl, you no longer have to refresh the page to open your assessment. Now there’s a button for that…
You will need to understand the differences so you can prepare yourself and communicate them to your employees. When the system is ready to launch, make an announcement to the users that the switch is coming, explain how the new LMS will help them, and discuss differences they will experience.
3. Does your new LMS offer (good) training and support?
Changing an LMS means learning new ways of doing things, which shouldn’t be hard if the LMS is built well. However, once you’re programmed to interface with a specific software, any change can throw you for a loop.
It’s important that your new vendor offers training for you and your employees and supports you throughout the implementation process.
Before signing, ask to take a peek at the vendor’s knowledge base:
- Do they have videos to help you learn or quickly answer questions?
- Do the support articles seem comprehensive, or are they superficial and unhelpful?
- If you do have a technical issue, what is the response time when you contact support?
- Who will you be speaking to? Is someone dedicated to your account, or do they have people on standby to help?
- Will you be speaking with a bot, or a human? (There’s nothing wrong with a bot, but you will want to be clear on what type of support you’re getting.)
4. Make sure your new vendor can support your data
You likely have years of training data, and it is important not to lose this when you switch from one LMS to another. You will need to understand if the new vendor can support your old training data, and you will want to have a clear picture of what that data will look like inside the new LMS.
If you’re switching systems, you will need to let go of the idea that your data will be presented in the same way. A different LMS will have a different UI, which will change the way data is presented and how you’re allowed to interact with it.
The most important thing is that the data remains intact. If so, you should be okay with having to learn new ways to generate reports and view the data. Remember, you’re switching to a new LMS for a reason, so let go of the old and embrace the new!
5. Think about the kids (look to the future)
Like moving, switching your LMS can be a painful process. You won’t want to do it again anytime soon, so ensure whichever system you pick is not only the system of today but the system of tomorrow too.
That’s why it’s essential to find out if the LMS supports key features that are relevant today, but will increase in importance in the near future.
- Does your LMS support mobile learning on any device?
- Does it easily integrate with other software?
- Is the UI and UX modern, easy to navigate, and sensical?
- What about the extended future?
- What are the biggest features on the roadmap for the LMS?
- Before signing that dotted line, ask your new vendor what the future looks like.
- Will they support learning on Mars (kidding…sort of)?
- What about more practical features, like live conferencing and virtual classroom learning?
Things like this may not seem important now, but with the speed of technology and innovation, they will be revolutionizing your workplace sooner than you think. Make sure the vendor you choose will still be relevant then.
Switching from one LMS to another is not something you’ll want to do frequently. That’s why you should consider why you’re switching, understand the differences between your current and new systems, ensure they can support your data, know how your new vendor will support you and your employees, and that your new LMS is built for the present and the future.
Doing this will safeguard you from having to pack all your learning and development belongings shortly after you move because of a mold problem in the basement that you should have inspected before signing on the dotted line. But hey, at least you hadn’t finished unpacking yet!
And if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, intuitive, and powerful Learning Management Solution, I suggest taking a look out our LMS, Auzmor Learn!