How to move seamlessly between learning platforms

February 24, 2021
June 26, 2023
Learning And Development

Ever heard of the saying ‘when you fail to plan, you plan to fail’? Some phrases sound good and that’s it, but there’s a lot of truth to this one. And no more so than when you’re finally upgrading from an LMS to something better or moving learning platforms.

A successful migration is a lot like a brilliant holiday, it starts way before launch day! You wouldn’t leave packing, researching activities, transfers and booking your flights until travel day, but forward-planning is often overlooked when it comes to learning.

Well, those overlookers often arrive at learning launch day and their content’s all over the place, they haven’t promoted the move to users, they’ve failed to set their goals, and they’ll find themselves playing catch up in the first few months.

Luckily, this is your guide to all the things you can do to prepare yourself properly. It’s how you can build a good foundation and kick off the era of your new platform in style.

The kick-off: Goal and objective setting

If there’s two things you really need to establish off the bat, it’s what your goals are for launching this new learning platform and the benefits of doing so. Yes, they’re great for your L&D team to know, but their biggest power lies in convincing your two most important stakeholders: business leaders and the learners themselves.

Two questions to ask at the very start of your move between learning platforms.

You should be able to say ‘here are the benefits you’ll get from using our new platform’ and ‘these are the objectives it will help us all achieve together’. Putting it bluntly, why should they care otherwise? Business leaders will be interested in how it drives the company goals, and individual learners will be won over if they understand the impact on their personal objectives.

Of course, this doesn’t mean stopping with just two questions. But we’ll cover some of the other ways you can work out where you are and where you want to be in the rest of this, which might guide your goal-setting.

Are you aiming for culture change?

Now, this could be part of your overall benefits, but it really does deserve its own section. Why? Because the limitations of an earlier platform often shape the learning culture, which drives many people to new pastures.

For example, your old LMS might live completely separately from all the other tools people use, so there’s no way for them to learn in the flow of work. Or perhaps your old platform is the typical top-down structure, where only a select few create and assign content. Well, that puts an end to social learning and knowledge sharing because internal experts can’t communicate independently.

Establish what that cultural change is and work out how you’ll empower and encourage people to adopt these new behaviours. Taking a step back, you’d be wise to audit your current culture, learning habits and all those limitations.

It’s a theme of this entire guide, but you really need to audit what you’re currently doing and map that against where you want to be.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • How and where does learning already take place?
  • What are the pain points and where is there room for improvement in that flow?
  • Is learning available in the moments people need it?

Auditing and migrating your current content

If you moved house, you wouldn’t just dump all your furniture in the same place, would you? You’ve got a fresh start and a clean slate to lay it all out as you’ve always wanted. Sadly, a lot of people miss that opportunity when they move between learning solutions. What’s the point of coming in with the new if you’re not going out with some of the old?

Resist the urge to cut corners at this stage and just move everything over. Think of this as a blank canvas and ask yourself:

  • What do we need?
  • What do we currently have?
  • What does a good version of our new content hub look like?
  • What learning content do people currently engage with?

Data is a great place to start, especially for that last question. Which content formats people are currently engaging with most? Which topics and themes do they commonly learn about? This is a good chance to understand them and cater to their habits.

If there’s a course nobody has ever looked at, ditch it! If the completion rate on 20-hour courses is about as good as you might expect, don’t just copy and paste that format into your new platform. Think about how you can repurpose and reformat useful information in the mould of your new learning vision.

Communications and a clear timeline

Start with the end in mind and work backwards. What’s your go-live date? Take that and work backwards to determine just how long you need to get everything in place.

We’ve covered some of the technical challenges, but a big hurdle is working out how long you’ll need to create enough awareness, excitement and buy-in from your end users. And then you’ve got the small task of figuring out just how you’ll do it.

By now, you should have established the benefits to people, so focus on selling those and not just the fancy features and specifications. If you can personalise that to different groups or individuals, even better. People care about what’s in it for them! So help them understand that in advance and generate pre-launch excitement – that’ll help drive adoption of the platform.

Marketing your learning brand

Creating a learning brand is one way to pull this off, and we’ve discussed that in a lot of detail here, but a great tip would be to work out where your people are already engaged and connect with them there. When you’re figuring that out, see if there’s any specific language they use when they talk about learning or pain points they address – there’s another couple of strings for your messaging bow.

It might mean that you need to host Q&A sessions or demos before launch or give enough guidance around using the platform to prevent people diving in at the deep end on launch day. A simple to use, intelligent learning platform might help you pull that off much easier though…

Managing integrations

If you’re moving from a traditional LMS, where integrations are far less common, there’s one big question you’ll need to ask: which tools are our people using every day? Whether it’s Slack for messages or something like Salesforce for managing leads, if you can integrate learning into these tools at a company level, they won’t have to lift a finger.

Just like any typical day, they’ll log in to these apps and find that learning now meets them at their point of need. When something’s convenient or easy for us, there’s less resistance to using it – so a successful migration means working out where people already work and how you can make learning available there.

Finding knowledge you need within the Slack app

If you’re using a learning solution that does already integrate with some of your tools, plan out how you’ll switch those off at the same time as your launch for that seamless learner experience.

Data migration

Yes, we mentioned clean slates but not in every aspect. There’s data from your previous platform that will either help guide your new strategy or understand how much progress has been made. For example, it’s important to know which courses and training have been completed before your new platform, while metrics around how often people logged in or engaged with content will give you insights into how effective your new platform is.

Understanding roles and responsibilities

In every sense of the word. From a technical perspective, it’s likely that your permission or access levels from the previous platform might not match up entirely to the new tool. For example, a lot of solutions might just have manager and learner level permission.

In HowNow, we’ve got Admin, Manager, User and Read Only, so pre-migration you’d have to understand where people sit in this new permissions system. And that’s another thing you’ll need to communicate clearly too.

More generally, there’s roles to consider – who will be responsible for creating and updating content? How are you going to group employees within the platform to ensure they receive the right resources and it’s easy from your end? Whose role is it to report on a regular basis? The list goes on, and planning this out should go on way before launch day.

Day one: Planning for lift off

What does the ideal launch day look like? What do you want employees to see when they log in for the first time? And what actions do you want them to take? It’s important to establish this and then create a plan for how you’ll deliver it.

Launch day for your new learning platform.

On a top level, keep it top level – don’t overwhelm people on launch day, think about what’s really important and remember that people care what’s in it for them. So, either get them doing things that make their life easier through the learning platform or simply incentivise them to use the platform by running a fun competition, event or giveaway.

In honesty, this shouldn’t be limited to day one – you should have an idea of how your first weeks and months play out. Have milestones in mind for employee use and action, because it should be front of mind to make sure learning becomes a habit.

And there’s plenty for you to consider too – when are you going to update the platform with new content? Some people think they need to get content ready for launch, and that’s it – but your platform could become stale if that’s where it ends. Well, that’s unless you’ve plumped for an intelligent learning platform that lets everyone create content while curating high-quality third-party content…

If that sounds like the solution you’ve been looking for, HowNow could be the answer to all your learning problems.

Check out our other learning management system (LMS) resources