Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010 LMS Data Migration Project

I spent a large part of 2010 working on a project to completely redesign training curriculum and migrate training histories and assignments from one Learning Management System (LMS) to a new LMS. I work at a Biotechnology Vaccines facility that employs around 1,000 employees and contractors.
Our old LMS was a system called ISOtrain . We used it primarily as a database to manage curriculum and training history. The system had been online in that capacity for about 10 years.  All training material support and delivery was managed and supported outside of ISOtrain and training completion was manually entered into ISOtrain. Over the years training curriculum had gotten out of control and was really messy.
Late in 2009 the talk began at the corporate level indicating we would get a new LMS. After some stumbles and starts we ended up with Plateau as our new LMS. At the local level we were tasked with rebuilding curriculum to be more focused and task based. We had to create and assign new curriculum and unassign old curriculum without disrupting operations.  A group of specialists from corporate were responsible for designing the pathway and migrating the data from ISOtrain to Plateau. We were also responsible for the data migration verification and system validation. We finished everything right before Christmas and went live January 10th.
The new system is a huge improvement over what we had. Now we can directly access learning materials directly from the LMS and training completion is documented online (no paper) for training completed through the LMS. We'll be managing training registration through the LMS later this year as well.
Lessons we learned through the process include a new appreciation for how big a project this really was. We are currently having to learn a new language (Plateau) and help our customers learn the language as well as we all transition to the new system.  We also have to learn how to manipulate a new menu of reports ways to mine data from the new system. It seems to take a lot of clicks. I think by mid-year we'll have the hang of it and be better for it. One of the biggest challenges with all of this was communicating to the customers and keeping them informed as to what was going on and what the "new look" was in their curricula as we cycled through the year.  I guess you can never communicate too much.


  1. Ray-

    Since you've seen Moodle (and likely, blackboard) how would you compare them to these LMS's you've worked with? There are really only a few key players in the academic market (blackboard, moodle, desire2learn, and sakai) and i'm curious why there are so many more in the commercial sector, and how they are different.

  2. DI,

    My exposure has been within the pharma/biotech industry. I haven't seen any of the back story work that goes into an LMS system in academe like I have in industry. A big thing with what we have to have is high security features ensuring there are no unauthorized changes to records. There also has to be an audit trail that clearly documents all administrative changes and activity. This is all part of the system validation where the system is tested and verified that it is capable of meeting all functional requirements.