News story

Why changing your LMS doesn't have to be an ordeal

Leeds, UKLearning NewsNetex

The thought of switching to a new LMS can be daunting to anyone. And who can blame them? With so many big questions to ask, it’s hard to know where to begin. But, luckily, Netex Learning are no strangers to the world of learning management systems. Here, they explore both the fears and the benefits around choosing a new LMS, as well as share their insights into how they are helping to make the migration process less painful for organisations.


To compare it to something many can relate to, the idea of changing LMS is as overwhelming as changing banks. With a bank, you have to go through the painful search of finding one that actually meets all your needs, and then you’re dealing with transferring money, numerous different accounts, changing cards; overall, there is a lot to consider.

In just the same way, choosing and migrating over to a new LMS brings a similar feeling of dread. But at Netex, we don’t feel it has to be that way. Though the fears are understandable (and we address them further down), we know that a new LMS can bring relief to a lot of the training challenges that are felt by many; it must do, otherwise organisations wouldn’t spend so much time looking for a replacement.

So, before we dive into the fears, let’s first remind ourselves exactly why we might be looking for a new LMS to begin with.

What can you gain from changing LMS?

A new and improved user experience

An LMS is the learner’s doorway into their training. It’s how they’ll access it, how they’ll use it, yet even so, many LMS’s out there provide off-putting user experiences. And an off-putting user experience is a tough hurdle for a learner to overcome.  

As is often the case in this modern world, learners are looking for instant gratification, a friction-free experience, one that is as easy as possible. They want a user experience that involves an easy learning journey, where they are encouraged to learn, and can easily engage with the materials. So, an LMS that provides a positive one can be a game changer.

Data that can make a difference

Data is a huge topic in L&D. Its value is well recognised but it’s still hard to obtain, and that can be down to the LMS, as it plays a big part in the collection of data.

Depending on the LMS, the data on offer can vary. It can range from simple, such as how many learners have completed a course, to more specific and in-depth. The latter can range from the time it took learners to complete a piece of learning, to what page they got stuck on, all the training they’re spending time on, what they’re enjoying, and more. It can even help recommend further training.

And this in-depth data is important as organisations aren’t just looking for compliance data anymore. It’s so much more than that. Not only can it provide learner insights, but it can also be used to support business cases and illustrate the impact of the training. And this is all down to the data the LMS can provide.

An LMS suitable for all generations of learners

The way we access learning is changing. It used to be that it was through a desktop, but now organisations are looking for a way that is more flexible. The desktop functionality is still needed, don’t get us wrong, but now, increasingly, mobile and tablet functionality is called for too. This is largely down to a new generation of learners that is joining the world of work, who expect, and prefer, to access everything through their phones. Or at least have the option to! This is why LMS’s that have this flexibility, such as a dedicated mobile app, are appealing, as it ensures the learning caters to all.

The fears about changing LMS

Hopefully you’re now reassured as to why it’s worthwhile pursuing a new LMS if you need one, so let’s turn to the fears, to that feeling of dread. There are so many unanswered questions, so many potential risks, but do they need to be so daunting? We think not. Can they be tackled? Absolutely.

“What if we can’t do what we can do now?”

You might ask yourself: “Yes, this new LMS might offer new exciting things, but what if, in the process, we lose the vital things our current one offers us?” This is a valid concern, and something you should always discuss with the new provider. Think carefully about what your absolutes are, what you need it for, and make a list. Then go through it with them and make sure the LMS meets these important needs.

“Learners are used to using an LMS and don’t want to go through training again.”

No one likes unnecessary training, but new products are likely to involve a degree of learning about them, but some more so than others. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming amount of training. If the LMS you choose is intuitive and simple to use, minimum to no training will be required.

Also, to help bring your staff on board, you might want to consider an internal marketing campaign to promote the product and to help inspire intrigue and excitement about it.

“How much time is needed to invest in getting it up and running?”

We have constant demands on our time, and LMS’s can be complex, so we’re not surprised this is a worry. But this is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' question, as the time needed for a smooth transition will vary depending on the complexity of your existing set up. The important thing is to ensure that you’re happy with the end product, and your new provider should work closely with you throughout the time to make sure you get the outcome you want.

“How do we transfer data? Will we lose what we’ve had?”

It’s understandable that you won’t want to lose what you’ve collected so far, so hopefully it’ll be reassuring to hear that there are now ways to help the transfer of data. For example, through Learning Cloud, we can create a link between that and your LMS which will help move the data, and therefore ease the transition and integration.

“Do we have to go through it alone?”

This is probably everyone’s underlying fear – having to struggle through the migration alone. But that absolutely doesn’t have to be the case. We can’t speak for all providers out there, but here’s how we help make the experience less painful.

How we make an LMS migration easy

We don’t believe that migrating to a new LMS should be an ordeal. As Peter Charlesworth, one of our Business Development Managers, explains, ‘When we help organisations migrate from one LMS to another, we want to help take the pain away. It’s all about working together with the client, taking away those fears and – most importantly – making sure that it’s an LMS that they want.’

How do we make it easy for the customer?

Consultative approach

“This is what we’re good at,” explains Peter, “and, if I’m honest, why people like to work with us. We take the time to find out exactly what they need. We consult first and foremost before we offer a solution. And I think that’s key. In the same vein, we won’t shy away from saying if the LMS isn’t the right fit for them at the moment. There is no point selling them something that isn’t going to meet their needs, how does that develop trust?”

By asking exploratory questions, we try to get to the root of why they’re looking for a new LMS, what the current one does and what additional features they’re looking for. Peter explains, “it isn’t about us doing all the talking. We listen. We give them time and space to ask us questions too, anything that is needed to address those fears and help them think it through thoroughly.”

Explain the user experience vs administrator experience

The user experience and the administrator experience are usually different in an LMS, and Peter stresses that it’s important to talk about both. “We know that a big factor for organisations is the learner experience, but the administrator experience is key as well, so we always make sure to discuss the two. Administrator requirements can vary quite a bit from organisation to organisation, so, again, it’s all about understanding exactly what they need to make sure the LMS would be a good fit.”

It’s a partnership

Peter’s concluding thoughts summed it up perfectly. “All in all, it’s about collaboration and partnership. We want to work together to get them what they need. We know that purchasing an LMS is a big decision, so we’re there to support them every step of the way. We’ll help them write business cases, provide free trials and do everything we can to help make it a smooth process.”