Can an LCMS Help Me Migrate Legacy Content?

Those who have helped organisations implement enterprise learning platforms and migrate large amounts of content from their legacy LMS to more modern, cloud-based solutions, may find the question silly, but it's not. The main reason being that during a technology transition, organizations tend to simplify the technology landscape they are setting up (sometimes over-simplify) and often prefer to avoid involving an extra system into their architecture, even when it's clear that this will involve some trade off in their requirements coverage.

Unfortunately, lines of business are often involved only partially in the software selection process, so even when they manage to communicate their requirements in great detail, they rarely have the possibility to assess the whole new architecture in the needed level of detail, while they often have to sign off on partially de-contextualized requirements lists.

Luckily enough, this is not always the case, and quite a few organisations have had the opportunity to set up a solid learning content architecture behind their brand new LMS platform.

The Base Scenario

Moving to a new LMS platform implies, among the rest, moving tons of learning content files across the two systems, along with the related tracking information. This is seldom a painless process and often implies a fair level of complexity due to the fact that interoperability of content is far from being a reality (sic!).

Most content migration projects follow a process similar to the one below:

  1. Audit legacy content and decide what to migrate and what not. See our article, Golden Rules for Content Migration, for our suggested approach.
  2. Export legacy content from (each of) the old LMS platform(s) - there may be more than one and many legacy systems are unable to export to any known interoperable format
  3. Somewhat package the content into a format that can be ingested into the new LMS
  4. Once all content is published to the new platform, follow the same process for learners records

What is Wrong with the Simple Approach?

There's nothing wrong with simple approaches, when they solve problems with good results and reasonable investments.

But there are questions that are worth being asked to our friends who are deciding to follow a base approach to legacy content migration:

  • How many courses require regular if not frequent updates due to regulatory requirements or changes in your organizational policies, business strategies, product and service properties and descriptions?
  • How many courses need to be translated and/or localised to address the specific needs of a given market, business unit, target community?
  • Do any of the courses require minor or significant re-branding before they are packaged for your partners or clients?
  • How likely the courses are developed using technologies that will be supported in two-three years' time by upcoming releases of web browsers or more modern devices?

What is an LCMS?

There are so many different definitions of an LCMS and we do not want to question any of those as all of them are probably perfectly appropriate for the specific context in which they are used. In this context, we define an LCMS (Learning Content Management System) as a system that combines content authoring and management capabilities, enabling collaborative authoring workflows where multiple stakeholders are involved (subject matter experts, instructional designers, media developers, translators, project managers, business owners etc).

How can an LCMS help me Migrate Legacy Content?

There are three main reasons why you should consider migrating content to your LCMS before you publish it to the new LMS platform:

  • Gain control over each and every single piece of content, including source files and animated media, so that you can make all needed amendments and adjustments in the future without being hostage of your content suppliers (note: you do not need to insource the content production process to enable this, simply have your content suppliers use your preferred tool to produce content)
  • Achieve a good level of consistency and standardization of your learning content, from both a learning design, branding, layout and technology standpoint
  • Demand the headache of technology standards to the LCMS itself, and let it cope with all your current and future interoperability concerns, from learning standards and packaging formats to browser and device support

Who can help me Assess the LCMS Way?

Whether you are in the middle of a content migration project or just scouting for your next learning platform and need help exploring all the options to get the best out of your legacy content, feel free to reach out to us. Show us what your content looks like today, send us samples or just engage in a free call and we will be happy to assist.

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