Case Study: Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development upgrades from SumTotal to the Asentia LMS
As a state funded government organization dedicated to ensuring student success in education, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) needs to be able to maintain quality standards for its educators and staff. Continually improving student academic achievement is essential – it’s made possible from the efforts of a well-trained, adaptable, and educated staff of teachers and employees. Additionally, DEED is responsible to maintaining quality standards for other core education services such as public school funding, active partnerships, school effectiveness programs, fiscal accountability, compliance and oversight.
DEED requires the ability to provide its educators and staff with training courses in order to maintain quality standards and services that are the nature of this organization. To overcome the complex task of training numerous employees in varying locations, DEED decided that using highly-interactive, web-based courses delivered via eLearning is the best approach for staff training and continuing education and has utilized a learning management system (LMS) for years as a solution to this training initiative. Primary eLearning course offerings are annual and biannual compliance training, certifications, continuing education courses, and school district staff training. DEED determined that eLearning is the best approach for employees and educators to complete these courses at their leisure, during or after school hours at their convenience.
DEED’s training requirements were expanding, they were requiring more functionality from the LMS – specifically functionality in certification tracking and more powerful/flexible reporting options. Additionally, DEED was seeking a next-generation system with a more user friendly experience, social learning support, and seamless mobile capabilities. The program was faced with the challenge of upgrading their LMS to gain desirable new features AND save money in the process from pressure to reduce overall LMS costs.
The final and most important challenge to overcome was to ensure the transition to a new LMS would be smooth, fast, and with no loss of data.
DEED’s LMS administrators were extremely hesitant in transitioning to a new system because of the incurred cost, time, frustration, and potential risk of data loss when migrating to a new system. They had 15,000 user accounts and a significant amount of historical data that was critical to maintain (all teacher’s certifications and licenses are based on legacy data within the LMS). They needed to find a learning management system that could satisfy their following requirements:
- Offer an intuitive, next generation experience for administrators and users
- Need for advanced tracking and reporting features
- Include social and mobile learning
- Offer superior customer support
- Realize a significant cost savings
- Ease of implementation and data migration
Research and Decision
DEED’s LMS administrators have had a long-term partnership with the eLearning content development and consulting company, Edgepoint Learning, and recruited their services to help search for a new LMS that met their needs. After extensive research and testing, the decision was made that the Asentia LMS and their support team would be able to achieve all of their requirements.
The LMS Migration
Initially, Asentia’s support team had to study the SumTotal system and understand the scope of the data that was to be migrated to Asentia. Critical data that was migrated included:
- All existing user accounts and user information/profiles
- Historical data (all course completion data)
- Course content and materials
- Rulesets and saved reporting automation rules
Asentia’s data migration tools were then configured and executed. Careful planning, execution, and a high-touch, solution oriented responsiveness from programmers enabled the team to implement a successful move of DEED’s data.
As a result of the move, DEED has felt the benefits of transitioning almost immediately. Not only were overall system costs reduced, but Asentia’s advanced standard features have enabled administrators to utilize functionality that they did not been previously have. DEED’s LMS administrators can now run advanced reports and easily access activity information that was previously difficult with their old system. This increased access to reporting is essential for tracking measurable results of the DEED’s training programs. On the user-side, educators and staff are now able to access their courses more easily with Asentia’s mobile-optimized interface design.
Plans for the Future
Since going online in June 2016, the implementation of Asentia has been such a success for DEED that administrators are proposing other government organizations across the state of Alaska consider migrating as well. DEED is excited to be in a learning management system that will continue to grow as they do.