A New LMS Playbook From Education Dive Asks, "Why Is Change Worth It?"

It was years ago, but it seems like just yesterday that my team and I were working on the rollout plan for our university's transition to the new LMS we'd chosen, Canvas. I still remember our mix of emotions: the excitement of a fresh start, the anticipation of cool, modern technology for teaching, and, yes, some very real anxiety about how it was all going to come together.

That wasn't our first LMS migration rodeo. I remember all-nighters trying to get SIS syncs with a new instance of Bb a few years earlier. We had to get scrappy to make course migrations happen between major versions. And we'd offered another layer of PD and redesign for faculty who revolted and wanted to try Moodle. We were ready for a change to Canvas, but I think we were all surprised by how easy the transition was, and how much value we started to see right away. Faculty onboarding was especially fun, as we had overestimated training time by 3x, and ended up spending most of our face time with faculty exploring new ways to bring in OER or engage students.

Of course, it wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows, which is why the new Education Dive playbook, “Change: It’s Worth It,” resonates with the experience I (and people from hundreds of other higher ed institutions) have had: Change itself is easier than you think, allowing the goals and outcomes of change to drive the decision.

Every institution will have their own reasons for change. Even today, there's a lot of frustration with legacy LMS technology: it can be hard to use, painfully slow, behind the times, too costly, etc. Sometimes it's worse: EOL'ed systems, too much downtime for maintenance, data loss in a version upgrade, or general mistrust of a vendor.

But there are just as many hopeful reasons that drive these change decisions: greater faculty adoption, better student experience, opportunities to foster innovation, and the prospect of new relationships with peers and partners (at seriously fun events).

That's just my perspective, and obviously I'm biased. So you'll want to read the Education Dive playbook to understand why institutions like yours were willing to challenge the status quo and seek change for the better. Oh, and to learn what prompted people to say ...

  • “I referred to our previous LMS as the ‘wild west’ … " —Richland Community Colleges
  • “As with so many other issues, technology may actually be the easiest part of migrating to a new LMS … " —Alamo Colleges
  • “The proof is in the pudding.” —Northwestern University

 

Keep learning,

 

Jared Stein

 

VP, HE Product Strategy

Instructure