What are the benefits of an open-source Learning Management System (LMS)? Why are LMS such as Moodle widely used?
‘Open source’ continues to be the buzzword of the eLearning industry. An increasing number of companies use open-source LMS to manage their learning activities because of the following reasons:
This is arguably the most important reason why companies opt for open source LMS. Developers of these systems including Moodle do not charge the users if they use their products for non-commercial purposes. Thus companies could effectively manage their training programs free of cost.
Another benefit of using these cost-effective open-source systems is that companies could manage their extended enterprise training (EET) in an efficient and inexpensive manner. Organizations could use an add-on LMS that is devoid of sensitive information to manage EET. The use of an extra instance of an open-source LMS entails no additional expenditure unlike a proprietary system.
Benefits of open code
True to its name, the source code of an open source LMS is open to all. This facilitates better fixation of bugs because a large number of users access the code and improve it. The efficient and quick removal of bugs ensures that the system delivers high performance.
Another problem with proprietary LMS is that their vendors do not translate the software interface into languages that are less spoken due to commercial considerations. In contrast, open source LMS support a large number of languages. For instance, Moodle supports over 200 languages.
Open source LMS also effectively solve the problem of lock-in. Proprietary LMS vendors could lock-in their customers by ensuring that their product is not compatible with the products of their competitors. This practice compels companies to purchase product upgrades providing support at high prices. There is no danger of customer lock-in in the case of an open source LMS because there is no incentive to use nonstandard formats that make the LMS incompatible.
Customization is easy
Customization of a proprietary LMS to suit the unique requirements of the firm could be difficult and expensive because only the vendor’s developers are authorized to modify it.
On the other hand, customization of an open-source LMS is simple because highly skilled freelance developers could efficiently customize the system.
No danger of product discontinuation
Discontinuation of services by the developers of proprietary LMS could have a huge impact on the organization. Switching products could be complicated and expensive, especially when companies use the product extensively.
There is no such danger with open source LMS because the source code is not ‘owned’ by any single organization. The code may be picked up and developed by anyone who needs the services of the product.
Rapid release process
The release process of an open-source LMS is quicker than its proprietary counterparts. The developers of proprietary LMS often delay the launch of new versions due to commercial reasons. However, the developers of an open source LMS are not bound by these considerations.
Rapid releases of new versions of LMS allow companies to benefit from new features as quickly as possible. These releases are usually of high quality because they are tested by thousands of users across the world.
Services of developer communities
Firms using open-source LMS could benefit from the services of groups of developers who take an active role in improving the software.
These communities of developers perform various tasks such as evangelizing the product, preparing documentation and so on. They could be contacted for suggestions and modifications.
Thus, we see that open-source LMS is highly beneficial and allows companies to manage their training programs efficiently. How have you benefitted from open source LMS? We would love to learn from your experiences.