A Smooth LMS migration: tips and tricks

At Cortexa, we understand that migrating from one system or vendor to another can be a daunting and possibly viewed as risky. As a result, we place equal importance on both the technical elements of migration and the approach we decide to adopt on each migration. Our consultative approach and ongoing communication are the essential ingredients to a smooth transition.

Over the years we’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade when completing migrations and we’ve whittled these down to a few simple principles.

First, lets define what we mean by migration and why you may decide this is the best option for you.

What is migration?

Learning Management System (LMS) migration is the method of transferring all eLearning files, data, records, and courses from one LMS to another. This can occur between two LMSs using the same software, such as from one Moodle LMS provider to another. However, it can also take place between two different products.

As a provider of Totara Platinum Alliance Partner, we have migrated from both Totara partners and other LMS providers.

Why migrate your LMS?

There are numerous reasons why your current LMS or LMS provider may not be meeting your organisation’s needs. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • The platform is dated and creaking at the seams. You may have lots of workarounds that are causing your admin daily headaches. You might have a platform that’s been so heavily customised to fix problems of yesteryear that its now impossible to work with.
  • Your business is expanding, and your current system can’t handle the growth. As your business and training needs expand, your current site can’t keep pace.
  • You’re not receiving the support you need from your vendor to get the best out of the system. It’s a story we hear all too often.
  • Your learners are experiencing challenges. Outdated systems or course content that is not intuitive or accessible may be causing technical issues for your learners.
  • Maybe you’ve been left on an old version and because of that upgrading is now a bigger and more expensive job than if your platform was kept up to date.

Whatever your reason for considering a move from your current platform, there are some core principles that we apply to ensure each migration is a pain-free process for our customers.


Database and server hosting services come in all shapes and sizes and is typically managed by your provider. You therefore may not have a deep understanding of the infrastructure that sits behind your platform. Whatever infrastructure is in place, we will look after this process and have methods to convert your existing services to our tried and tested infrastructure. We only use cloud-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host your site. This brings the peace of mind that your data secure is not only secure but your site will be reliable and responsive.

Move then improve

Minimal disruption and continuity of service is important to most organisations when moving from one learning platform to another. Much like how medical staff take extreme care when moving a patient from one bed to another before they begin to make the patient better; we prioritise the initial move to the Cortexa hosted environment before we go about improving the platform’s inherited ailments and workarounds.

Customisation and integration

A key question we ask early in the migration discussion is, “Does your current platform have any customised features?” Invariably, there is some level of customisation, and this may or may not be available in the platform you’re migrating to. Whilst customisation can enhance aspects of your platform, it is also often the reason a platform hasn’t been updated because it’s too complicated or costly to upgrade the customisation along with the new core code upgrade. We work with you to and take a balanced and sensible judgement on whether the customisations should be brought across or refined with newly available functionality or replaced with more elegant custom plugins.
Your site may also be integrated with other platforms across your IT estate and your new LMS is therefore required to do the same. We can integrate with many other systems, including HR, ERP, CRM and more.

Testing is important

Migrating to a new learning management system involves selecting the right provider and undergoing several essential steps. However, the testing phase is perhaps the most significant part of this process. From our experience, virtually all new software has some flaws, and launching an untested platform could result in weeks or even months of troubleshooting.

To avoid this, we conduct thorough testing during every migration project. We make a copy of your current data and install the site on our hosting platform to check for any technical issues or user obstacles in a safe environment.

By doing so, we can guarantee a smooth and successful launch for your learners when you’re ready to put your new system into action.


A lack of support from current providers is often why heads may be turned to consider other options. Maybe they are not responding to emails or showing little interest in supporting you to grow and improve your platform.

Our ethos is delivering “online learning with a human touch”. We choose person to person interaction where you know us by name and personality, over automated ticket responses. We choose to keep our support open and uncapped because we know there will be times where you need our support more than other times. We have customers that have partnered with us for over 10 years because they can rely on us to always be on hand to meet there goals and objectives.


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