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11 - Existing data migration
11 - Existing data migration

In this step, you'll consider how to migrate existing data into Tribal Habits. This article also covers general LMS enrolment migration.

Kathleen McGahey avatar
Written by Kathleen McGahey
Updated over a week ago

While this article is written as part of our step-by-step implementation process, it applies equally to any organisation seeking to migrate training data from an LMS into Tribal Habits. This may be as part of your initial transfer from an old LMS to Tribal Habits, or perhaps as part of a consolidation of data (or even a 'merging' of sub portals in Tribal Habits into a single Tribal Habits portal).


This is an optional step in our implementation process. If your organisation has existing training data, it may wish to migrate that data into your new Tribal Habits platform to have a single source of truth about your training information. If this does not apply to your organisation, you can skip this step.

If you do continue, then in this step you will consider how to migrate existing data into Tribal Habits. This is step 11 in the implementation process (it follows step 10 - Managers). After this step, youโ€™ll do step 12 โ€“ First enrolments.

A note about migrations. Most migrations involve a 'cut over' - a day when learners stop using the old LMS and start using your new Tribal Habits portal. We often call this 'Day 1'. Data migrations involve significant work. If we can break down this work into 'Day 1' requirements and 'everything else' that can be useful. So focus on the smallest amount of training which you need for Day 1 to minimise the initial work. The rest can then follow (even if that is Day 2!).

How to complete this step?

Step 1 - Migrate your users first

In theory, you can complete this step later in the process - but ultimately you will need users to exist in order to migrate training enrolment data! Setting up users is covered elsewhere in this knowledge base, but essentially you need to create the users in your Tribal Habits portal for whom you wish to migrate data.

If you are migrating from an old LMS, you can consider if all users need to be migrated. You may have some old learners or previous employees who do not need to be migrated into your Tribal Habits portal. It may suffice to simply save their data in a spreadsheet for future use. Alternatively, you could load them into Tribal Habits as deactivated users and migrate their data. Deactivated users do not count towards any subscription or plan limits, so in theory its 'free' to migrate them (it just 'costs' the extra time in preparing their data for the migration).

Step 2 - Decide what data needs to be migrated

Not all historical training data needs to be migrated into your Tribal Habits platform. It is possible that merely retaining existing training data in an spreadsheet elsewhere would suffice for some data. Data migration is a task - sometimes a detailed and lengthy task. So it is worth considering if it is necessary to migrate all existing data.

For example, elective training completed by employees 5-10 years ago may no longer have relevance for current training records and does not need to create data or clutter in your new platform. That information may be best saved in a spreadsheet just in case it is needed in the future. Equally, do you need to migrate every completion record for annual compliance training, or just the most recent completion or enrolment? This is an important step as it can dramatically reduce the effort required to complete this step.

We recommend reviewing each of your existing modules in the other LMS and determining one of four possible outcomes.

A - Use existing SCORM - If the module is SCORM and can be extracted from the LMS as SCORM (or you have the SCORM file), then reload the same SCORM into Tribal Habits. This is essentially an exact duplication of your existing content.

B - Use TH Library topic - If the module cannot be extracted as SCORM from the other LMS BUT there is a similar module in the Tribal Habits library, then use the Tribal Habits version instead. This is a 'like for like' swap and is a popular outcome for compliance training.

C (Create in TH Now) and D (Create in TH Later) - If the module cannot be extracted as SCORM from the other LMS AND there is no matching module in the Tribal Habits library, then consider if you want to recreate the module in Tribal Habits. You could do this yourself, just like any standard topic or article, or ask our expert designers to convert it for you (at a cost). Most importantly for this option - split this into content which must be ready for Day 1 of your migration and content which could be created later.

E - Do not create in TH - The final option is content that will not be recreated in Tribal Habits. This might be old training modules no longer in use or elective modules which are no longer required. You may still want to store the training history for these modules, but you don't need to create them in Tribal Habits for the migration (more on this below).

Ideally, create a spreadsheet listing all your modules in the other LMS. Then have a column outlining the decision, along with a column for responsibilities and then perhaps columns for deadlines and status. Your decision column might have choices of:

  • Use existing SCORM

  • Use TH Library topic

  • Create in TH now

  • Create in TH later

  • Do not create in TH

A NOTE ON PATHWAYS - Tribal Habits supports both modules (topics and articles) and pathways. Typically, we only migrate topics and articles. If you need to migrate pathways, this should be seen as a separate step. In such case, we would also need to set-up your pathways in Tribal Habits and then migrate your pathway enrolments first. We typically only migrate pathway enrolments as 'new'. You then migrate all the topic and article enrolments. As those enrolments are migrated, that will update the pathway status in Tribal Habits automatically. If someone has completed all the topics and articles in a pathway, then their pathway will be automatically set to complete when the migrated data is uploaded.

Step 3 - Create required modules in Tribal Habits

With your decisions about what modules to create done, you now need to create those modules in Tribal Habits! Migrating training enrolments requires both a learner and a module. So now its into your portal to create your training. There are many other articles and steps in this implementation guide which cover this process.

NOTE: Let's consider case E above - where you have training history you want to migrate, but it wont be linked to any specific module in Tribal Habits. You have two choices here.

  • Don't migrate! Just store that history in a spreadsheet for safe keeping. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Migrate as External Knowledge. Alternatively, you can upload this history as External Knowledge in Tribal Habits. This is a training record not associated with a specific topic or article. This process is going to be similar - a big upload of data. We recommend putting these records in a separate spreadsheet and dealing with them after Day 1.

Step 4 - Extract your training enrolment data from the other LMS

Now its time to get your data from the other LMS. This will vary from each LMS, but ideally we are looking for a single CSV of training history.

Each row will be a single enrolment for a single user in a single module. So if the user is enrolled in 10 modules, they should appear in 10 rows.

Each column should be a field of data. Ideally, we want these columns:

  • First name

  • Last name (we store these separately in Tribal Habits, so best to extract them separately to save a lot of fussing later)

  • Email (this needs to match the email of the user in Tribal Habits)

  • User name (this needs to match the user name of the user in Tribal Habits. If you are using email for user name, that's all good - you just need the email column - but if you are using something else for user name in Tribal Habits, then we need that information in this column).

  • Course name OR Course ID (you need a way to identify each course - either name or ID - sometimes it can be easier to manipulate data via an ID than a long course name but either is fine)

  • Enrolment progress (something like Started or Finished - a short list of possible progress outcomes for each enrolment)

  • Completion data (if the enrolment is Finished / Completed, then this is the date of completion - else this is blank)

  • Certified data (if the enrolment is Finished / Completed and the enrolment has a certification / expiry date, then this is the date - else this is blank)

That's it!

Save this data as a master copy. Then make a new copy to edit. Save it as Day 1 enrolments. Delete all enrolments which (a) you don't need for Day 1 or (b) don't need at all. Now we have our Day 1 data to work with.

Step 5 - Prepare your data for upload into Tribal Habits

Now we need to take your data and format it for upload in Tribal Habits. We will need a CSV with the following columns.

  • First name

  • Last name (remember, we need these separately). If your old LMS cannot do this, then you will need to extract your users from Tribal Habits and use some lookups to populate that data back into your enrolment spreadsheet.

  • Email address

  • User name (this needs to be a separate column, even if it is also email - if it is not email, then it needs to be populated with the correct user name from Tribal Habits)

  • Enrolment Code 1 (this is the selected enrolment code for the matching module in Tribal Habits - see below for more about Enrolment Codes)

  • Enrolment Code 1 Completed Date (this is the completed date formatted to dd/mm/yy)

  • Enrolment Code 1 Certified Date (this is the certified date formatted to dd/mm/yy)

To prepare the above, this will mean obtaining the enrolment codes for all your modules in Tribal Habits. You can obtain the enrolment code for each topic, article or pathway in your Tribal Habits portal on the Access tab for each topic, article or pathway. The enrolment code will be something like TH-xxx-xxxx (e.g. TH-342-54 for a topic or THP-342-333 for a pathway - note the numbers will be unique for your organisation and each topic, article or pathway).

Here's an example of the enrolment codes panel. Remember, the codes will be different for every organisation and topic, article and pathway - this is just an example how the panel and data looks.

You will then need to use a lookup function in Excel to assign the correct enrolment code to each enrolment. For example, if you have a course called "WHS Safety" in your old LMS and it matches a topic called "WHS Fundamentals" in your Tribal Habits portal, then you need to match the enrolment code for WHS Fundamentals (which might be something like TH-255-23) with that course from your LMS. And so on for every course from your LMS.

There are several options for each enrolment code as you can see in the table above. For data migration, we typically recommend one of two codes:

  • -NEW. This code is used for enrolments which are not complete. The Completed Date and Certified date columns should be blank. This is a migration for people enrolled but who didnt finish the module before the migration. Note that a 'partial completion' is not possible. We can only migrate new or complete.

  • -CONQUERED. This code is used for enrolments which are complete. The Completed Date column should be completed (if not, completion will be set to today). The Certified Date is optional but should be present if needed.

So to continue for the example above for WHS Fundamentals, you would need to put TH-255-23-NEW for all migrated enrolments in that module which are not complete and TH-255-23-CONQUERED for all migrated enrolments in that module which are complete.

In the end, you should have an enrolment code with either -NEW or -CONQUERED beside every enrolment to be migrated. Each code matching the correct topic, article or pathway in your Tribal Habits portal.

Step 6 - Prepare for the migration

Now, to be safe, we recommend disabling all user notifications in your portal. The easiest way to do this is to download all your users in Tribal Habits and re-upload them and set their Notifications Enabled field to No. You can then repeat this upload later to reset that field to Yes. This will block notifications to users while allowing you to leave your notifications settings for each topic or pathway enabled.

Also, break your upload CSV into a test file and then several smaller files. Your test file should ideally have at least 1 enrolment into all possible modules, for a small group of people. Your other files should break down the enrolments into smaller groups - say 100-500 enrolments per file. This makes troubleshooting much easier.

Step 7 - Complete the test file upload

Its time to start the migration! Upload your test file. Then check every enrolment is as you expected in Tribal Habits. Correct users? Correct modules? Correct progress? Correct dates?

Step 8 - Complete the migration

Now upload your other file one by one until the migration is complete.

You can now re-enable notifications from Step 6.

Step 9 - Go for Day 1

At this point, you should cut-over your users from the old LMS to Tribal Habits. With good planning, everything should be smooth.

Step 10 - Complete catch up migration

As a final step, you may need a second migration. Its possible that after you downloaded data from your old LMS, that perhaps a few days or weeks have passed. It can take a little time to prepare and test data, and then complete the migration.

If so, you may need to do a second migration to catch any new enrolments or completions between the first migration and the cut-over data.

NOTE - Example migration file is attached. Scroll to the end of this page to download. It's an Excel spreadsheet showing old LMS data, set-up for new codes and the creation of the upload data. The sheet uses some basic Excel formulas to automate this process.

What are the best practices with this step?

  • Data migration can be a lot of work. Our team can assist and give you advice to make the process as efficient as possible, but it can require considerable work at your end to ensure your data is accurate and in the right format. Consider the first step above carefully - what data do you really need to migrate?

  • We can help. Our team can complete the data migration process for you. If you can upload your users, prepare your modules and extract your old data, we can then do the actual migration for you. We can prepare your data, manage your notifications, undertake the migration and check the data, and then restore your notifications. This is a costed professional service, which is typically charged by the hour. Please contact us for more information.

  • You can only migrate enrolled or completed training data - you cannot migrate 'in progress' training data. If someone has partially completed an online training module, you cannot migrate a partial completion into Tribal Habits. The migration will be limited to completed (fully completed training) or enrolled (a new enrolment, starting from the beginning). As a result, you may wish to notify users who are 'in progress' with any existing training to ask that they complete it by a cut-off date (or else will have to start again after the migration). Remember to disable any existing LMS on the cut-off date to ensure no further data can be created in that platform.

  • Break down the migration into steps. First, select a recent date and focus on migrating everything up to that date. Select 5-10 users for a test and finalise and migrate their data first, confirming everything works as expected. Then migrate the remainder of the data to that date. Then, select a 'cut-off' date when all new training should be occurring in your Tribal Habits portal and inform all stakeholders of that date. Then you will need to do a second migration from the date of your first migration through to the cut-off date to capture all the final information. In some large migration exercises, this may become a three-step process - initial migration, secondary migration and then cut-off migration.

  • Remember, you don't need to complete an entire migration during implementation. You may finalise migration as you go - as you prepare more training that matches historical data. Just remember to extract all your existing learning data from any LMS that you are leaving before you discontinue with it!

What are examples of this step in action?

Small organisation:

Our small organisation has some excel spreadsheets with historical training data - some for old workshops which people attended and some data for external online compliance training. They decide to online migrate the external online compliance training data. First, they import matching topics from the Tribal Habits library and then they upload their completed enrolment details for each Tribal Habits topic, backdating completion and certified dates.

Large organisation:

Our large organisation is migrating from another LMS into Tribal Habits. They create a spreadsheet that lists all the different modules in their existing LMS and a column indicating whether that data will be (a) simply stored in a spreadsheet, (b) migrated to a matching Tribal Habits module or (c) migrated to an external training record in Tribal Habits. In another column they indicate how any matching Tribal Habits modules will be created - some are SCORM files migrating as is from the old LMS, some are topics from the Tribal Habits library and some are new topics being created in Tribal Habits. They have a final column with a date they expect to have each module ready.

They then set a cut-over date from the old LMS to Tribal Habits and notify all stakeholders that that is the final date for training completion data to be recorded in the existing LMS.

In the meantime, they start importing or creating Tribal Habits topics to prepare for the data migration. The data migration then occurs in two stages - an initial migration of the data up to 'today' and then a second migration which covers the remaining two weeks between the initial migration and the cut-off date.

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