Does the mere thought of migrating from one eLearning platform to another fill you with dread and anxiety? Would you rather stay tied to your current platform because staying put is the lesser of two evils when considering moving to a new platform? Are you unable to sleep at night because you know you really should move to another platform, but even just thinking about it is too overwhelming to contemplate?
You are not alone
So while your hesitation of moving from your old platform to a new one may not be that dramatic, you certainly are not alone in any concerns you may have about the migration process. Moving from one eLearning platform to another is not exactly plug-and-play, which is a significant contributing factor for why so many people avoid it entirely or put it off for far too long.
In order to ensure that you have a full understanding of what the migration process entails, any factors that could potentially complicate your eLearning platform migration should also be taken into account. Some of these may factors may include:
- Time is money. How long is all of this going to take? It is very important when moving from one platform to another that you have a realistic timeframe of how long it will take you to complete the migration. You are likely moving from one learning platform to another with an already standardized curriculum and established student base, which means that any unplanned downtime experienced migrating to your new platform is going to cost you money. To best avoid this, the following points are fundamental in being able to estimate how long your migration will take and what you need to know prior to undertaking it.
- Exporting and importing files. While exporting and importing is files is only the beginning stage of platform migration, it is still a very fundamental one. Whether you utilize a proprietary file format or have your courses setup as Tin Can or SCORM compliant files, you still must ensure that your original files can be exported from your current platform and then successfully be imported into your new platform in a format that actually allows them to be used. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you’re a database administrator, you should be all set with this part of the process. If you’re not that tech savvy, you may want to consult a professional prior to even touching any of your course content files.
- Not all eLearning platform data structures are created equal: data mapping. Assuming you were able to import your files into your new platform, you now need to make sure that the imported data is communicating correctly with the corresponding data structures of the new platform. Since field and table logic will vary from one platform to another, it is of the utmost importantance that you take the time to map all imported data against the new platform’s data fields and tables. If you don’t do this correctly the first time, it is all but guaranteed you get to enjoy all the glitches that go along with mismatched data and the potential chaos this will cause in your platform.
Why migrating to a new eLearning Platform is like moving out of your house
While migrating from one eLearning platform to another may not seem like a positive experience at this point, just like moving out of our house is something most of us dread, there are still some hidden opportunities that can be found in the process:
- Moving to a new platform is like spring cleaning. This is an opportunity to get organized and purge everything you don’t need while at the same time starting out fresh on a new platform that best meets your needs. Do you have old courses you no longer use, outdated courses or course duplicates? We recommend you pitch all extraneous course content and only import course content you know will actually be used. Before you migrate to a new learning platform is the time to do this kind of clean up, not after moving, which brings us to our next point.
- You get a rare opportunity to see the “Big Picture” of your course content. While you may have to organize and review the contents of your current eLearning platform prior to migrating to a new one, by doing this you also get to immerse yourself in the entirety of your course content. At this moment, this window of opportunity gives you the chance to take a step back and look at the big picture of your online course offerings. By looking at the entirety of your course content wholistically, you may very well be able to identify areas of new opportunity while also finding areas you can improve upon. With both of these constructive approaches helping you to identify what your “big picture” is, you will not only be able improve course offerings but also gage where your organization in as a whole (and also where you want to go in the future).
- Just like decorating a new house, migrating to a new platform also lets you “spruce up” your platform’s decor. Moving platforms not only lets you clean up and purge unnecessary data, you also get to improve upon the way you present your newly currated course offerings to students. Whether that be with improved course descriptions, more visually appealing and user friendly course layouts or improved course content, the new “look and feel” of your course content will benefit your current and incoming students as well as your organization’s reputation.
- Your future self will thank you. The time you invest in getting your data in order now will make your life easier in both the short term and long term. By taking the time to get organized, your future eLearning platform will be easier to use and more fruitful in the long run precisely because you took the time now to put its contents in order.
So while no one likes migrating to a new platform (or moving to a new house for that matter), you can clearly see that the time and effort you take into preparing for your move makes not only for a smoother platform migration but also gives you the chance to improve your students’ user experience as well as the overall quality of your course offerings.
The steps of migrating your data to a new eLearning platform
Following the initial data cleanup, one of the most intimidating aspects of migrating from one learning platform to another is the technical know how and skills required to make the migration a success.
Each eLearning platform has its own unique set of proprietary commands, processes and data structures designed to make the platform function how it was intended to. To migrate successfully, your incoming files and the data they contain must be formatted in such a way that it fits into the commands and processes that are an intrinsic part of the new platform for your course content to be accessible usable in the new system. If this doesn’t happen, you may as well just have stayed put in your old eLearning platform, where your course content could at least still be accessed and used for its intended purpose.
Possibly further complicating a migration, there are also other areas of platform migration that those uninitiated into the mysteries of prior migrations may fail to account and properly plan for:
- Timeframe. How long will the migration take, and how does this fit into my still-active course offerings and needing a live, accessible LMS available to my students currently taking courses?
- Parts and pieces of your data. What segments should your be data broken into and in what order? How can this be done most productively?
- Efficiency. What is the logical, most optimal order of importing your data segments?
- Steps of the migration. Should the migration be done in one fell swoop or staged and broken up to be moved in sections?
As you can see, there a number of areas that require detailed scoping of the capabilities of your new eLearning platform and how this configures with the data you will import into it, as well as how the two will work with each other. To do this, you need to be realistic about your technical knowledge and skillset as it applies to your eLearning platform as well as the timeframe you need to accomplish your migration within in order to have your courses available. Following you cataloging and purging your data, it is only by accurately assessing your own technical knowhow as well as your undestanding of the migration process (as well as what could potentially go wrong with it) that you are likely to have a successful migration.
At this point it is important to ask yourself can you realistically complete your data migration to your new eLearning platform yourself, or is this a task best left to professionals?
If you hire a house moving company, why wouldn’t you hire professionals to help you move from one eLearning Platform to another?
Let’s go back for a moment to the analogy of a platform migration being similar to moving into a new house.
The old adage is true: only your real friends show up to help you on moving day (because everyone knows no one likes to move). Of course, the other people that show up to help you move (and are also professionally trained and certified, as well as fully bonded and insured) are the people you hire from a moving company. You may be tempted to try to save money by moving yourself, but you most likely aren’t saving the condition of your belongings (and your back for that matter) by trying to do something that is best left to people who do it for a living.
Ask yourself: why should migrating from your old eLearning platform to your new platform be any different that hiring a moving company to get you moved into your new house?
By leaving the migration of your data to professionals who have completed this process countless times and who also have firsthand knowledge of a variety of file and data structures and the experience of precisely how those translate into the platform you are moving to, you are able to confidently avoid many mistakes while also giving yourself the peace of mind of knowing that your course content is in good hands.
So you’d like to have professionals migrate you from your old eLearning platform to your new one…
Some eLearning platform vendors offer migrations services, some will not migrate you at all, while others will tell you to hire an external IT team to migrate your data into their platform.
Academy Of Mine believes that your data migration into a new platform should be as stress free as possible and overseen by professionals who know what they are doing. We also believe that platform migration should be a standard feature of the service a client get from their eLearning platform vendor. This is why we have a team of seasoned professionals who knows the ins and outs of platform migration and offer it as service for new clients moving over to our platform.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?