An open source LMS has its default theme and features. Can we use it as it is? Or does it require any customization? Every organization has its own corporate standards and training requirements and ideally an LMS should cater to the organization’s needs and not vice versa. Therefore, trying to force fit the default look and feel or features provided by open source LMSs may not be effective. Moreover, there may be lot of unused features that need not be incorporated as it might confuse users.
Based on my experience in handling and customizing several LMSs, I have listed 10 areas that require customizing in any opensource LMS such as Moodle. I hope that this guide helps you tailor your LMS as per your needs and get the best out of your LMS.
1. LMS Theme
LMS themes can be customized to match the look and feel with your company website. You can give reference and standards of your website to LMS customization service provider. They can customize the LMS exactly like your website. This will help the end-users feel that the LMS as a part of your website and very easy for them to use it. Therefore, this forms a very important part of LMS customization.
2. Enable and Disable Features
Most of the defaults features provided may not be necessary for your training needs. It is a best practice to disable those features that are not used and retain only the essential features. Otherwise, the user interface will become complex making course navigation difficult. Enabling or disabling features does not require any programmer and can easily be done by LMS administrators.
Being an opensource LMS, you can also avail of additional plug-ins contributed by various developers. You can search for plugin relevant to your needs and ask your service provider to install it for you. Alternatively, you can just explain the feature and service provider will locate and install the respective plugin.
3. Re-configure Default Settings
You need not accept the default settings as they are. You can change the default options based on your training structures and make it easier for your end users to access information most relevant to them. The structure can be standardized at the time of creating a course or when setting up the LMS as a onetime activity. You don’t need to change these settings again. It will not only save you time but also ensures that uniform standards are followed across the organization.
4. Create Custom Roles
Every LMS has default roles for LMS users. However, organizations may require creating new roles or modifying default roles to make it relevant to their business situation. For example Moodle has roles such as Student, Teacher, etc., but in corporate sector these roles are not applicable. Therefore, based on your organization’s you can create any number of roles and give access rights accordingly.
5. Modify User Profile Fields
The learning management system provides certain default user profile fields. They may be relevant and adequate for your organization or you might want to modify certain fields to better relate to your organization situation. You can remove, edit or even add new profile fields. Designing custom profile field as per your organizational and training requirement helps you filter training reports as per the fields.
6. Course Catalog
You have the option to create a new page from scratch or modify the options provided in the default template as per your requirement and perhaps user feedback. The criterion of the course catalog design is a user-friendly interface. This can be designed based on your training programs, courses and proficiency levels.
7. Simplify User Navigation
It is important to reduce the number of clicks required to access training content. Ideally, users should be able to access courses with minimal clicks and therefore some amount of customizing is needed for the LMS dashboard. For example, you can add shortcuts / quick links for accessing a particular page. You can also display the assigned courses and the quick view buttons in the dashboard itself. The dashboard should provide access to any of in the LMS pages with relative ease.
8. Customized Reporting
LMS has a provision for generating several reports. Apart from the standardized reports one can also generate customized reports to suit the training needs of an organization. So you can ask service provider to create specific report generator that address the requirements of your organization.
9. Evaluation and Certificate Templates
You can create customized templates for evaluation with tailor made questions in the evaluation form to learn learner’s feedback. Similarly, you can give certificate to all users who are successfully completed the course by customizing the default certificate to match it with your official training certificate.
10. Help Page and User Manuals
The default help page and user manuals may not be useful or adequate for your users. Therefore, you need to create your own help page and user manuals. This should have information based on the features available in the LMS and the screenshots of the LMS. This will help users to quickly understand instructions.
These are some of the important areas you need to consider when you are looking to customize an opensource LMS. This customization is one time investment, so before customization you need to list down all the requirements and share it with the service provider.
If you think we can add more to this list then please share it with us.