In the second post of this series, we have seen the about the WordPress option. Here, let us see the second option i.e Moodle (open source LMS).
‘Open-source’ LMSs refer to the learning management software whose source code is open to all. The source code of these systems can be edited to meet the needs of organizations, and this makes them very flexible.
An increasing number of companies use open-source LMS to manage their learning activities because of the following reasons:
- The most important reason why companies opt for open source LMS is cost effectiveness. 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.
- 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.
- Customization of an open-source LMS is simple because highly skilled freelance developers could efficiently customize the system.
- The release process of an open-source LMS is quicker than its counterparts. Rapid releases of new versions of the 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.
- Firms using open-source LMSs 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.
Moodle is an open source LMS written in PHP. It is free. However, it requires a hardware configuration for installation or the services of a data center services group for the hardware requirements. In addition, since it is a server-based system, it requires programming and system administration expertise to install, configure, and maintain. This has given rise to numerous Moodle configuration vendors ranging from single experts to fairly large specialist Moodle vendors.
Moodle is free but the services to install and maintain it are not, and these fees, realistically, can cost thousands of dollars. For this reason, we believe that Moodle is best fitted for mid-range usage requirements to very large implementations. Again, realistically, if you have a budget above $5,000 and expect users in the 1000+ range (maybe even the 500+ range), Moodle is a good LMS choice.
Learning.net’s business partner, CommLab India, offers a customized Moodle implementation that is quite sophisticated. Again, Moodle is free. CommLab charges an installation fee for setup and implementation and an annual maintenance fee for support. The CommLab Implementation starts with a robust user interface.
The interface includes the standard catalog, transcript and resource functions. It also includes blogs and chat rooms. The chat can be enabled by site, curriculum and individual courses. Online courses, classroom courses and webinars (i.e., WebEx) are part of the standard system. Blended learning is supported. E-commerce is supported. All of these are out-of-the-box, ready to go.
The system has been integrated with MS-Outlook and has a built-in calendar function.
On the administration side, there are numerous standard functions and reports. Administrators can:
- Register new users with a confirmation email
- Add learning assets to the system, including SCORM course packages
- Build assessments with the LCMS authoring system (part of Moodle)
- Organize webinars. WebEx is the default (and an account with the webinar vendor is required.)
- User management
- Enrollment and completion of courses and training curriculums
- Set up numerous e-mail notifications
- Create and manage feedback forms for courses or curriculums
In addition, custom reports are easily added. The initial implementation includes the development of reports based on the specific client requirements. To get an inside view, request now for an obligation free live demo, click here.
In the next post of this series we will see about the third option i.e Enterprise option.