My company is looking to start a paid online homeschooling course in which students can be taught remotely via our website and possible testing too. Can moodle do this?
What are alternative products that might fit the bill (commercial and open source)
Robert is right.
Moodle is like physics.
"All of Moodle is either impossible or trivial. It is impossible until you understand it and then it becomes trivial" Ernest Rutherford (1871 - 1937) (Misquoted)
However, I do believe you will need some plugins to make Moodle look nice and to be usable and quick. Out of the box is has a few aspects that make it time consuming to use.
Moodle is used for just about any purpose that involves Teaching and Learning. One way I have seen it used is to teach semi-literate adults how to spell, read, write and speak English. Another is for a group of semi professional actors to disect characterizations and discuss how a particular character may be played. I understand a school for the Visually Impaired uses screen readers to teach a whole raft of academic subjects. I understand Moodle is used in so many different ways that even Elizabeth Barrett Browning would be hard pressed to count them.
The right out the box version can be improved upon, but how far do you really want to take it?
You are asking what's the best LMS for you, moodle and what are the alternatives. ? On a moodle forum?
Why not google and look for unbiased statistics or opinions? Here's what I found on my first click. Now you can look at them all and tell us which one is best for you.
In general moodle is the biggest in student volume, and I think reading somewhere else that these statistics are propped up by Open university. Moodle is also number one in popularity. Is Moodle best for companies starting up seeking paid students? As that's what I'm not sure about, but moodle is one of very few lms's that is open source, and that gives moodle the thumbs up.
That is an interesting point you make about asking Moodle users why the product they support is better than anything else on the market. I would go so far as to say that a biased opinion is often as accurate as an unbiased one, though. I have to agree that statistics do not make a good product, we only have to look at what is on desktops to see that.
I would only compare the Open Source aspect for licensing costs, though, being open source is, in and of itself, not a recommendation either.
I don't really want to get into a long discussion, but the are pros and cons of everything, but I have never found anything as a "one-size-fits-all" proposition, and Moodle, no matter how good it may or may not be, is no exception.
A friend of mine worked for a Not-for-Profit service organization, assisting long-term unemployed and semi-literate people with basic job skills. We were talking over dinner one evening and he mentioned he was frustrated by not having some software that he could use to help give his clients those basic skills, as well as some computer knowledge. I had been playing around at the school I was posted to with Moodle and thought there was scope there for him to use.
After a few trials on my home machine, and more enthusiasm than knowledge or skill, we broke into his organization's web server and installed Moodle. I have looked after it, on a part-time basis, ever since. It works well for what they want to do. Their client base for this service is not larger than 75-80 people at any one time and is usually around the 45-50 mark. They also run their staff training programs through Moodle, their staff is only about 15 people but they are based in several locations spread about 60ks apart north to south.
Recently, they have discussed moving onto other areas, parental support, social security support, disability services support, among other things and asked me about it. So far there has not been anything they have asked that I have thought Moodle could not handle. Their training guys are currently training other staff to create and build their course materials and are preparing materials. So far they are happy with what they are doing. Hopefully this will continue.
This is not a large organization, and runs on a shoe string and the smell of an oily rag, and may not survive for too much longer, in this age of neo-conservative economic foolishness. But they are Moodle fans too.