A Comprehensive LMS Migration Guide


As per Brandon Hall Group’s report, 47% of organizations were considering replacing their LMS and there can be several reasons for this. In this blog, we will discuss in detail the key reasons why organizations would want to switch their LMS, what they need to consider before making the change and how to create a foolproof migration plan. 

Before considering switching your LMS it’s important to understand what are the gaps across different user bases. Creating a gap analysis will allow you to narrow down exactly what you like about your current solution and what you are looking to change. This also helps you have a benchmark as you meet different vendors and analyze their offerings.

Reasons To Migrate To A New LMS 

Poor UX and UI 

Not every learner is a keen learner but can be made into one with the help of an LMS. However, for that to happen, you need an LMS that is easy to navigate, has an engaging design and is accessible for all. If your learners are not responding well to the courses or LMS, poor UX and UI could be to blame. 

Here’s how you can determine the performance of your LMS’s UX and UI – 

  • The LMS is not intuitive and learners have to work too hard to access the courses on the LMS 
  • The LMS lacks a centralized theme and the control panel is not functionally aligned 
  • LMS provider does not have interactive content options for learners 
  • The design is not in sync with your organization’s brand and lacks personalization
  • Creating courses is a lengthy and difficult process and doesn’t support interactive media 
  • The LMS doesn’t support the latest learning trends 

If any of these aspects are true for you, try looking out for more LMS options that line up with your requirements. 

Inadequate Tech Support 

All software solutions experience some downtime; it can be because of reasons like maintenance, malfunctions, or environmental factors. Considering the numerous factors that can cause downtime, it is essential that your LMS provider is doing all they can to reduce it and offer quick and effective services. Buying an LMS is a major investment for any organization and if you’re not being serviced well enough, you can look for options that offer a better value. 

Here are a few questions to help you decide – 

  • Does your LMS provider offer flexible service hours? 
  • How often do you experience downtime? 
  • Has there ever been data loss? 
  • How often are the LMS and its features upgraded? 
  • Do you have a dedicated tech support executive? 
  • Does your LMS provider offer troubleshooting training to your IT staff? 

Low Return On Investment 

If the thought “Am I getting a good ROI from this LMS?” has crossed your mind, you already know there’s something wrong and you are not getting enough value for the product. An LMS is supposed to add to your overall ROI and it’s imperative to carefully evaluate the returns you get to make an informed decision. 

This is how you can determine if you’re getting enough value for your money – 

  • Are there any hidden costs? For example, are they charging you additionally for maintenance and software upgrades? Or, is there a cost associated with implementing the LMS? Sometimes there are hidden costs involved on a per-course basis and users are charged for each new course they create. 
  • Does your LMS provider charge outlandish support fees? 
  • Is the licensing fees too much compared to other LMSes? 
  • Are their increasing cost overruns due to growth? How big is the difference in cost? 

Poor User Feedback 

If there is no significant increase in your workforce productivity after actively using the LMS, you should evaluate if it’s working for your learners. User feedback is essential when it comes to softwares that are implemented by the organization for the employees; if left unchecked, it will only add to your costs and not yield a good ROI. 

Few questions you can ask your learners to gather their feedback – 

  • Did the course make sense? Was it informative and engaging? 
  • Was the LMS easy to navigate? Rate the quality of experience on a scale of 5
  • Did you need to access additional resources? 
  • Did the course add any value to your existing role in the organization? 
  • What was the most frustrating part of your learner experience? 
  • Would you recommend this LMS to your peers? 

Bad Analytics/Reporting

Analytics is an integral part of a learning experience; it enables an LMS to process the extensive data to generate insightful reports. However, not all LMS vendors offer efficient reporting and analytics functionality. It is vital that you have comprehensive reporting functions so that it’s easier for your L&D professionals to evaluate the effectiveness of courses, provide a better learning experience and take calculated measures. 

Know how efficient are your analytics and reporting features – 

  • Do you end up manually compiling information from different sources? 
  • Does data entry take up most of your time?
  • Do you have to manually send learner reports? 
  • Is the reporting system editable? 
  • Does your LMS offer basic insights such as drop-off rates, test scores, speed of completion, etc? 
  • Are the insights you receive data-backed or general? 

Not Scalable Enough 

Inability to scale is one of the most common reasons why organizations switch to a different LMS. If you’re a growing organization, you will need extra support and features with time to keep the system running as efficiently as it can be. If your existing LMS provider is not able to match your growing pace, you can consider looking at other, more scalable, options in the market. 

Here’s how you can determine if your LMS is scalable enough – 

  • Do they offer different packages for organizations of different sizes? 
  • How easy is upgrading your LMS? 
  • How extensive is the asset library? Does it contain all the features you need? 
  • Does the increase in cost support the increase in value? 

Doesn’t Support Functional Integrations 

An LMS is not a standalone system; it is required to be packed with functional integration capabilities. This is important to support your employees and their learning journeys and also help administrators in tracking their activities across dashboards seamlessly. 

Here’s a list of key functional integrations that your LMS must support – 

  • API integration
  • HRMS integration
  • CRM integration 
  • Internal softwares like email and other communication channels 

Once you’re done with the evaluation of these aspects, you’ll know for certain if switching your LMS is the right approach for you or not. 

Things to consider before Switching your LMS

Outline Your Pain Points 

Although your evaluation will provide you with the necessary information you need to determine your pain points, it is also important to outline them in detail and get into the specifics of your requirements. You must include all stakeholders in the process and gather their input on what exactly they need. For example, your content creators will have specific requirements for creation tools, your administrators will have different requirements related to management and reporting, and your learners may have some suggestions to enhance their learning experience. Once you have defined your requirements, choosing the right LMS will become significantly easier for you. 

Compare Features 

The next step is to begin LMS hunting and a good start is comparing the features of your existing LMS with the prospective ones. You already know which features are of utmost importance for your organization and you can simply start by looking at options that have the same features. It’s important to note that no two interfaces will be alike. The features you’re looking for may be implemented in a different way or have a good workaround in your prospective LMSes. 

For example, your LMS may offer video uploads directly to the system while a prospective LMS may offer uploads from third-party applications or websites as an option while creating courses. This way, you can easily upload them to a video streaming platform and embed the link in your LMS. 

UX and UI

If your LMS does not offer a good user experience, you’ll need to first identify the problem and check if the prospective LMS offers a solution or has a better interface so the problem doesn’t arise in the first place. Look for a clutter-free and easy-to-use LMS that can be personalized to match the organization’s branding. An LMS should operate on a learner-first basis; an intuitive and interactive design works best while engaging learners throughout the course. 

For example, if an LMS offers interactive options like quizzes in the middle of courses, learning snippets, discussion forums, etc your users will be engaged all along the way. 

Content Availability 

If you’re looking at switching your LMS, it is always a good approach to look for platforms that offer a more extensive content library than your previous LMS. While building meaningful courses, having an extensive library at hand will make the job easier for your L&D executives and content creators. As per LinkedIn’s Learning Report, L&D professionals spent 46% of their time building or sourcing content. 

For example, with an extensive content library, you can offer a variety of other forms of courses such as cybersecurity, leadership development, and such to your employees for their personal and professional development. 

Cost Analysis 

If you’ve already invested in an LMS once, you’ll know about the general breakup of costs that includes licensing and infrastructure costs. You must also check with your LMS provider about any other costs associated with your package and compare the cost of your existing LMS with that of your prospective ones. 

LMS Migration Procedure 

Once you have narrowed down your options, you need to check with your providers about the LMS migration project plan from your existing LMS to the new one. It is a very critical step and you will need assistance in understanding what parts of your LMS will be migrated and if there are certain attributes that can’t be migrated. 

For example, you can easily migrate content, users, enrollments, and such to the new LMS but migrating reports and progress may not be possible. For this, you can download the reports from your existing LMS and work with the team to figure out a way to have them included in your new LMS. 

Here’s your LMS migration guide – 

  • Map data and existing features that you want to shift. Since every LMS operates differently, it helps you in defining how your existing data will display in your new LMS. You must note that the data you migrate will require modifications in its configuration settings to match up with the structure of your new LMS. 
  • After mapping your data, you must move on to cleaning your data. It is imperative that you do so before the migration as this will not only cost you less but also make the LMS migration easier. As per a report by Raytheon, companies spend $1 to clear a certain bit of data before migration which may cost them $16 to $25  to clear the same amount of data if done after the migration. 
  • The next step in your LMS migration project plan is to categorize your data for migration and prioritize the categories in order of importance. Since the LMS migration happens sequentially, it’s important to be in constant contact with your LMS provider. 

Switching Timeline

Once you’re clear about how the migration will happen, move on to determining a switching timeline with your new provider. Since it can take a lot of time to carry out the migration, it’s best to set expectations and outline the process beforehand. Another essential aspect of migration is that it will take longer for companies with a larger employee base to migrate compared to smaller companies. It can take about two to three months for mid-large size companies to migrate from one LMS to another. 

Essentially there are three ways you can go about switching your LMS – 

  • Complete changeover – This process involves importing scripts with set standards directly from the old LMS to the new LMS. This type of migration takes about a week’s time for mid-sized companies but is not a recommended approach as you may experience some downtime. It is appropriate for small to mid-sized firms that do not have a heavy data volume. Although, if you require everyday accessibility of LMS for proper functioning, you can opt for the phased-out migration. 
  • Gradual phasing – This approach entails data migration in certain groups over a longer period of time. The general estimate is about three months; however, the duration may vary based on several aspects like data volume, complexity, dependency functions, and development resources for scripts. It is perfect for mid-sized firms with heavy data volume. 
  • Run both parallelly – This approach allows you to run both LMSes parallelly and have the data transferred in groups over time. This is an ideal approach for global or large firms as it reduces the risks associated with swift migration and enables you to troubleshoot problems as and when they arise. 

Implementing The Switch 

The implementation stage includes several milestones for both you and your LMS provider. Since it is the most important stage, you must closely work together with your provider to have your data organized in line with your requirements. 

Outlining the key stages of implementation – 

  • Once the migration is complete, you must test the learner experience, administrator experience, and management experience to ensure everything is running smoothly. 
  • Prepare a communication plan for your organization to inform your employees of the switch and how this will help them revolutionize their learning experience. You can enlist the help of your LMS provider for this step. 
  • Educate your employees about the LMS and help them develop a basic understanding of the interface. 
  • Lastly, coordinate with your LMS provider and run training sessions for your employees wherein they connect with the LMS provider and gain more clarity about the operations, usability, and design of the LMS. 

If you’re looking for competent LMS options, check out Auzmor Learn – a robust and intuitive platform that lets you facilitate a seamless learning experience. It combines content curation with social learning to streamline your flow of work.  

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