22 June 2021
What is the difference between an LMS update and an LMS upgrade?
Senior Solutions Architect
Are you updating or upgrading? Let’s look at the difference between an LMS update and an LMS upgrade.
As your phone probably reminds you on a fairly regular basis, it’s important to update to the latest version of a piece of software in order to keep yourself safe, secure and benefiting from the newest features and technologies that are on offer.
A learning management system is no different to this. You need to be running the latest possible version of your LMS to make sure you’re getting the most from it. Keeping it up-to-date will usually involve either an LMS update or an LMS upgrade… but what is the difference between an LMS update and an LMS upgrade?
What is an LMS update?
An LMS update is generally when you update to a new version of the same platform. This will usually be apparent because the new version starts with the same number. For example, if you’re running Moodle 3.10 and you want to move to Moodle 3.10.2 to access bug fixes, that would count as an update.
The reasons for an LMS update vary, but some common reasons include:
- Security patches released by the software developer.
- Bug fixes released by the software developer.
- Bug fixes developed by your developer.
Updates, which typically solve existing or emerging issues within the LMS, are usually covered by support contracts, depending on the type of support or amount of support hours contracted.
So, if you’re making changes to your platform that are advised by the software developer to resolve a problem with your existing LMS version, that will normally be an update.
What is an LMS upgrade?
An LMS upgrade is usually a move to a new iteration of the platform. In this case, there will often be a new version number. For example, if you’re using Totara 12 but want to access some of the new features of Totara 13, that would require you to upgrade your Totara site.
In these cases, the decision to embark on an LMS upgrade will usually be driven by a desire to:
- Access new features that were not available in the previous version of the platform.
- Move on from ageing or outdated technologies.
- Adopt the latest learning technologies as part of a wider refresh of the design or features.
Upgrades are usually not covered by support contracts because they are a move to a new and improved platform, rather than maintaining an existing platform.