Now a days open source is becoming more popular and many organizations are trying to adapt it for internal applications. In the domain of Learning Management System, the leading open source LMS is Moodle. As it is an open source we do not need to pay for any user license. It is completely free to use for managing all the training of an organization.
There are a couple of ways to use an open source LMS.
1. Install it as it is on the server without customization. This requires very minimal setup cost. Learn administration from the available user manual and manage all the training. Utilize all the available features in the LMS.
2. Select a vendor to install and customize the LMS according to your requirements, whether in administration, training and/or maintenance support. This requires only a one time setup cost which is very cost effective when compared to commercial LMSs.
By considering these two options, you may choose to invest in a once only customized LMS, so that you do not need to pay per user license every time you use the LMS. If this is the case then, you may get doubts such as, what will be the customized features? Can I get all the required features of my organizational training by customizing it? Can I get some unique features which are available in commercial LMS?
Based on my personal experience on Moodle open source LMS, I can confidently say that lot of customization is possible in Moodle LMS. Under my guidance, my team at CommLab India has setup many LMS with customized features for our customers. Our customers often asked us for some unique features which were not available in the LMS and we met these needs by modifying the existing features. This is how it was done.
We usually spent a lot of time in understanding the customers’ specific requirement and then customized the existing plugins to meet the requirements. For some features we created our own plugins from scratch and included them in the LMS. As we understand Moodle database and coding standards very well, it is easy for us to develop any customized plugin. As we are in eLearning domain, we develop customized plugins which are learner centric and very intuitive in navigation. For some unique requirements we developed some corporate LMS features which are not available in the default LMS.
To summarize, I can say that lot of customization is possible. Before going for any customization, you should discuss with your training department about their specific requirements, as well do a thorough analysis of the current training workflows. This will be helpful in preparing RFPs and selecting the best vendor for LMS setup and customization.
Do you have any specific requirements which you want to customize based on your training experience? Please share it with us.