The implement phase is where each stage of the process comes together. There isn't a cookie cutter approach to implementing a new LMS system, though suggestions are offered in the tabs below with each tab being a specific step in the implementation timeline. Keep in mind that this process can also work when major system upgrades are deployed for your current system.
As you begin the implementation phase, it is necessary to assemble your core implementation team who will be directly responsible with implementation tasks and making decisions along the way.
The context of this entire toolkit surrounds the topic of planning, but it's important to note that planning should be be done throughout the various stages of the process. During the implementation phase, unanticipated needs and challenges will arise, leaving room for readjustment and further expansion of your implementation plan. This is where your Project Manager can take the lead in assisting with the re-planning tasks.
Plan specifics will vary depending on your institutional needs. Consider these suggestions to assist you in the planning process:
Up-front configuration decisions can be difficult when still learning a new LMS system, but vendors will expect you to make system configuration decisions based on your knowledge of your own institution and what you've learned about the system itself. It's important to think through various configuration settings as making changes in the future may prove to be difficult or impractical. Keep in mind, it's not the vendors responsibility to know the ins and outs of each of their customer's organizations, so utilizing your Core Team will be beneficial to arriving at the best possible outcome.
Configuration considerations will include, but may not be limited to:
Profile data will help you segment user permissions and may include user name, contact info, grade/year, degree program, major, transfer credits, etc.
Security roles are a set of permissions assigned to each type of LMS administrator (i.e. 1 person to run reports, 1 group to create/schedule courses, etc.). The process includes:
A course or curriculum structure include sequential user learning activities where some are mandatory, and others are optional. This stage of configuration must be completed once course data has been fully migrated. Prior to migration, administrators can:
Evaluations & Assessments
Using evaluations and assessments within the LMS will allow users to easily view reports at the question level, enabling you to perform item analysis and determine validity of your survey or test. When switching LMS products consider:
Some LMS systems allow custom notifications in addition to the default notification settings. System administrators will need to decide which notifications to activate and deactivate. Settings include:
A good rule of thumb is to turn off all notifications that are not essential in order to avoid "spamming" users with too many notifications. Additionally, administrators will want to test how the LMS email function "talks with" the institution's email tool.
As with notifications, some LMS systems allow for customized reports. It's important to define your report requirements early in the implementation process, keeping in mind:
Knowing this information up front will help guide many LMS configuration and data migration decisions.
An LMS may integrate with a number of systems described below:
User Account & Profile Systems
Institutions likely have a student information system (SIS) in place, utilized by the registrar. For enrollment purposes, the LMS will need to receive information from the SIS on an automatic or manually run process.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
In order to avoid users being required to log into different systems with different logins, institutions can implement single sign-on. This will enable users to log into the network once and gain access to multiple systems through SSO authentication. Your IT support representative will need to discuss options with the LMS vendor to determine how to best implement SSO in your organization.
LMS systems generally offer two methods of integration with a portal:
Migration to the new LMS system is one of the more complex tasks in the implementation phase as you complete migration in a specific sequence and must address any incompatibilities along the way. It's also recommended to migrate in stages:
To determine what and how much to migrate, consider the following:
Data Retention Policies
Standards-based Courseware Migration
When migrating courses, you will need to export your courseware in the appropriate format of the new LMS before importing. Migrating with standards will make the process easier:
Prior to testing and live production of the new system, consider any branding needs that should be addressed. Create branded materials at this time such as customized landing page templates, etc.
Items to Note:
In this stage of the process, you want to be as thorough as possible to test every part of the system. Identifying bugs, kinks, and configurations that may need to be altered is crucial prior to going live.
Offering group trainings, as well as 1:1 user support will be vital to ensuring users are adequately prepared and equipped. When planning these trainings, consider the following:
As you move into the production phase, consider the following:
User support will be steady during the "Go Live" phase of implementation. Have the following in mind as you move forward:
There will likely be a period of time when neither your old system, nor the new LMS will be available. During this time, administrators will want to:
Gautreau, C. (2011). Motivational factors affecting the integration of a learning management system by faculty. Journal of Educators Online, 8(1), 1-25.
Morgan, G. (2003). Faculty use of course management systems, volume 2. Boulder, CO: Educause Center for Applied Research. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ers0302/rs/ers0302w.pdf.
Marketing the new system is the most important communication step during the implementation phase. Consider the following:
Items to keep in mind: