Can You Import Legacy Continuing Education Data to Your New LMS?
If you’re a provider of continuing professional education (CE), learner and activity data are precious resources. They help you gauge the success of your education programs and continuously align activity content with learner needs. They’re also essential for maintaining learner participation history.
Long story short: You need your legacy data – even when you migrate to a new learning management system (LMS).
For technology vendors, enabling CE providers to maintain and use legacy data is critical. But that doesn’t make it easy. Since almost every provider needs to migrate data from a different system, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to legacy data import. It’s always going to be a custom procedure.
There are basically two options for managing legacy data:
- Keep it on hand as “static” data. This is “spreadsheet-style” legacy data management. Basically, the data is available in a static format, like an Excel file, and you can sift through it on an ad-hoc basis.
- Import and fully integrate it with your new LMS. Using this method, legacy data becomes part of your LMS or continuing education management application. You can exercise all system functionality as it relates to the data. It basically feels as if your software was collecting your legacy data right from the beginning.
Option 2 is clearly more ideal, but what’s involved in a CE legacy data import? When migrating to a new LMS, what should a software provider be doing to fully integrate your data so that it maintains – or even extends – its value and overall usefulness?
Importing legacy data the right way
When legacy data lives in a spreadsheet or another static format, it’s not very useful to you or your colleagues. And if you’re using or planning to migrate to an LMS that allows you to run reports across the data it collects, you need the ability to run reports on your legacy data, too.
The wrong way to import legacy data is to upload files and display their contents in a static format. It would be a stretch to call this procedure an “import” at all! The right way is to make it as if your current LMS was collecting the old data all along. You should be able to:
- Run reports on legacy data just as you would on newer data
- Extract insights from legacy data using the native functionality of your LMS
- Seamlessly compare legacy learner or activity data to newer data
- Migrate all learner participation data for completed and live activities
- Automatically associate learner profiles with activities
At Rievent, we’ve imported legacy data for dozens of continuing education providers, so we know a thing or two about how to do it right! While every provider’s situation is different and highly nuanced, we’ve developed a standard, repeatable workflow for importing legacy data.
Here’s how it happens, in a nutshell
It all begins with a collaborative process in which we assess the extent of the data import requirements. Then we set up a sample of the data in development and quality assurance (QA) environments for thorough testing. Once the sample data set is approved, we import your full data to the QA environment for more testing, before finally sending it to a live environment.
1. Assessing the scope of the data import
After working with you to determine what, specifically, needs to be imported, we classify the import as one of the following import types:
- Credit History Import: In this situation, you provide an export of learner profiles and CE activity participation history. Data granularity is limited to what is needed to generate transcripts and certificates.
- Full Activity Reproduction Import: You extract full activity configurations and learner participation history from your existing platform. This data includes full survey and test information, such as questions, responses, and correct answers for completed activities as well as activities in progress.
- Hybrid Data Import: With a “hybrid” import, you have the option to limit the granularity of data that makes it over to the Rievent Platform. The import can include a combination of credit history and activity reproduction that meets your specifications.
Ultimately, the extent of the import is up to you. You can import everything you’ve got or limit the import to data you’ll actually need in the future – whatever works best.
2. Importing data to development and QA environments
We don’t send your data directly to the Rievent Platform. First, it goes into a development environment where our engineers configure it to “fit” with Rievent’s features and functionality. Then it goes to a QA environment for testing and troubleshooting.
During this process, we’re working with you all the time. We send you samples of the data so that you can confirm everything is working the way it should. At this stage, we’re only using sample data. However, after everything is working properly, we start adding real data in bulk to these same development and QA environments.
3. Importing data to the live environment
Eventually, we send all of the data that’s in our development and QA environments to a live environment. This is the point at which your data lives and functions within the Rievent Platform – just as if we’d been collecting it all along!
Accept nothing less than a full data import
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to legacy data: Learners need it. You need it. The success of your education programs depends on it.
When you migrate to a new LMS or to new continuing education software, you should require your software vendor to facilitate a comprehensive data import. Not a static, spreadsheet-esque import, but a full-on, comprehensive import that allows you to take total advantage of your software’s functionality.
Ultimately, your legacy data should be just as valuable as any data collected by the system in which you’re investing. You should be able to run reports on it. You should be able to associate learner profiles with any activity, whether complete or in progress.
In other words, you can import your legacy data and enjoy all of the features of your learning management system across that data. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
You just need a software provider who values your legacy data as much as you do.