We are evaluating using Moodle as a Learning platform for our organization, thus needed to understand what is the support model for Moodle usage in Corporates. Please do guide me on the same.
Despite a lot of talk recently about the corporatizing of Moodle, the actuality is that Moodle is an LMS. It does some things, it does not do others. If you want it to do things it cannot do then either find a product that does, unlikely, or create the ability within your Moodle to do it. You can do that as Moodle is Open Source, and Freeware.
Moodle makes no special provision for corporates. You take Moodle, you read the documentation, you use it or not, simple as that. If you have an issue, these forums can supply an answer, usually within a few hours. Moodle is a tool for all users, it can be simple and effective, as long as it is used for the purposes it was intended.
Moodle is a tool that can be useful in small organizations with as few as ten or fifteen users. Moodle is also part of the learning backbone of the Open University, used extensively in their learning model, I expect, with over 250,000 enrollees.
What do you think is a "good support model"?
Moodle is far more than the software in the LMS. To draw an analogy I have recently been looking at purchasing a car, a subject of which I have little knowledge. I have looked at Toyota, Ford and VW. Now they may not be the best cars available but I know they come with significant support in terms of dealers, people who know how to work on them and 3rd party products. There are many physical cars that will meet my needs, but it is the other stuff that will largely sway my decision.
To return to Moodle, in addition to the obvious executable code which is freely downloadable there is a Global network of professional developers in the form of Moodle partners. At least one multi-million dollar corporation (Blackboard) has purchased some of these partners and offers hosting support and development. The Moodle partners fund the continued development at Moodle HQ including developments such as long term support for releases such as 2.7.
In addition to this professional paid for support and development there are many other developers producing code that is made publicly and freely available. Some of this is for organisations such as Universities and some because they are developers who see a need.
Moodle development is primarily about filling educational needs. If a corporation has a need to educate its staff, then it can be useful for that, and it is well developed. If you have a specific Corporate niche, e.g. complex systems of selling courses, or a need to tie into systems such as remuneration or HR, that is not it's specialty. If you need ticketing of support and a guaranteed response time there are a wide choice of partners who can offer that type of service.
But as Colin said, what is a "good support model"
I'm not sure about this what you say Colin. I took the talk about corperatizing of Moodle to mean something different: centrally directed, decisions made apart from coal face, poor or no consultation with the users, decisions made on a basis more like a corperate than a community. (etc) Kind of like the informal definition of 'corporate'.
And I took this to mean the opposite of a community - where decisions are talked over, engagement is robust, rationale and reasoning is presented with decisions made, community has a voice. (etc)
And I took this to mean some people have felt the real voices inside Moodle.org that are being listened to were more of the corporate kind: the kind of clients who are the big MP clients. You see this a little in the tracker. "An important MP client needs this".
Some have said Moodle has become less for the average person: decisions have been made that more help a corperate user with a big IT budget, with a significant amount of functionality needing to be added by plugins. This is Official Moodle policy now. The debate about what is best in the lean core is much more sparse now, if there is debate. Research as in finding out what 'average' users need and do is rare now, often being mere assertions, and approach I call "fix the user"
And the OU, sure they have a big user base, but Moodle to them is like an ax: it's Moodle sure, but they have changed the handle and the blade a few times, so it is still really Moodle?? Like they have a new forum, new blogs, new interaction patterns (which are the direct opposite to Official Moodle policy), their own wiki, OU course format to improve the scroll of death problem, extra quiz functionality, different navigation, enhanced course deployment approaches etc etc. Is this really Moodle?
My 2c worth.
Poorly expressed I know, but it's all I have time for at the moment. I have not answered your question at the moment Colin. "What is a good support model"
I suspect this conversation has gone way off the original topic now, where Anu was just asking about where he/she could get support for a company's Moodle.
However, I do want to address a bit of what you've written here, Derek from my point of view.
- Yes, Moodle is a platform, like an operating system for an LMS. HQ works hard to make it stable platform that others can build upon, so that they can customise it via plugins and config into exactly the system required for a task. This is the best way to use our limited resources.
- Some user features do need to be done in core, and when we do we always try to do things that benefit the widest range of users across all sectors. Our user stories include small and large classes, all sectors.
- Yes, we also listen carefully (but not exclusively) to what Moodle Partners tell us, but of course they just represent a wide range of end-users, and they are generally just passing those concerns on to us prioritised by how many clients are asking for (or suffering from) something.
- We are putting a lot of effort into getting specs directly from research (we have a new dedicated Research Director now) and user working groups (especially watch for our Moots next year!) The gradebook changes were specified by end users in the Gradebook working group (almost all end-users) and this is the way of the future. I hope you've noticed how many surveys we've run this year, too.
- I don't see any features for the "average person" that would not just as useful for those with a big IT budget. If you have some examples of things like this that you think have been overlooked then I'd be glad to hear them!
Yes and no, I think, about getting off topic, Martin, but it is important either way. AFAIK, Moodle does not offer "corporate specific support" that excludes a larger part of the Community. I suspect that Derek's underlying question of "How do we define Community" though is likely to be an issue. I think too that, inadvertently, this is at the heart of Anu's question, and it is a very awkward one, right now. I suggest we need to be very clear about what we, the Moodle Community, see as the Community as opposed to what Anu and others may be perceiving of as "corporate".
In the end, it is still the Community that is driving Moodle development, so does it matter how we define "community"?
@ Derek, thinking about this:
"...decisions are talked over, engagement is robust, rationale and reasoning is presented with decisions made, community has a voice. "
I suggest with the release schedule Martin is demanding, there is insufficient time to debate important topics within the community. However, in the longer term, and using Moodle Tracker, some things will be sorted with the HTML5 "standard" naturally and sooner than we might think.
I was partly responding to the comment about Moodle becoming more corporate. I'll check some of the other threads, I may have the wrong end of the stick. But thanks for the reply Martin.
Bullet points 1 and 2: I am sure are good and aspirational. And I don't want to take away anything from a lot of superb functionalities.
Bullet point 3 I have never seen any of this feedback anywhere in use cases for change, except as you say the gradebook, forums (ie rejecting NG and Advanced) and a few other areas that escape me at the moment.
Bullet point 4: a new research director? Cool.
I have just Googled, but I can find nothing about this. No job advert or anything like this. No announcement. I can find this: http://research.moodle.net/ There is your first survey, but no link to the results. Last details: 11 May. I am sure if I Google some more I'd find something. When you say 'I hope you noticed how many surveys we have run this year', actually, no I haven't, only the one mentioned, but that is my problem I guess.
However I have posted a few times trying to get engagement (in a general sense) from people. Requests for feedback in the tracker can go un-noticed for weeks.
Found: http://moodle.com/hq/team/ Michael DeRaart, new Research Director. Seriously: congratulations on your new role Michael, bye bye Development Manager stuff, I've just found your twitter feed saying this is 6 h old, which explains why Google can't find you yet. And your blog: http://salvetore.wordpress.com/
I really hope this is looking at how actual end users use Moodle: and this needs to be more than just analytics (IMO), it also needs to look at what students are doing - and maybe even more importantly, what staff are doing.
Martin, I'm sure you are putting a lot of effort into getting 'specs directly from research' - I can't see it from where I sit, (apart from Gradebook). I'm probably a bit sensitive here: like all the action and the conversations taking place elsewhere, and if you only have forums on Moodle.org, there is limited way to engage.
Bullet point 5: I may respond later with a few more specific details. My point is that some I could list are already coded or in ELIS, Joule, Totara, OU etc. So there is no benefit for these guys for features being oin core. Or else these guys have repositories, authentication off databases etc and it doesn't matter. Small Moodles have quite a large job to sort out themes plugins and potentially hacks to get these. A handful of hacked plugged Moodles supplied by hosters are also like this.
Are we a community? Where does the locus lie, central or dispersed? Probably depends on the issue, where in the world you are, if you have been to a Moot . . .
Need to finish. More sometime maybe.
This research chair must be a pretty influential one. I was wandering how a new forum https://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=8205 popped up when so many are crying for the lost "Windows-based servers" forum: https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=218412. You gave me the answer. When I look back, it was the same with https://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=8067.
About your final question: Are you naive or just stubborn?
It's obvious, moodle is well known by many for being an excellent learning management system for all kinds of corporate organisations etc, etc. That's what it is, and that's what it is designed for.
Hopefully you and some of your colleagues have had the sense to be already using Moodle on a test run on your company's behalf, as that is the only way you will ever know whether moodle is suitable for you.
After having a test run, come back to your forum and discuss. Your Feedbacks negative or positive are valuable to all subscribers here on this forum.
Thanks everyone for sharing your insights.
Actually we are used to using an enterprise LMS package (with a support contract eith the resp tool vendor) within our organization and are trying to evaluate the feasibility to move towards opensource which will give us more flexibility to put in new features/flows/pages that are more in line with the learning processes in place & evolving within our organization.
That is why the question about the support model to understand how/what kind of consulting support we can expect for our development teams if we were to move in this direction.
Hi Anu, your response supplies a justification for what it is that you are asking, and does give reasons for why you are asking, thanks for that. As I don't really believe in short answers....
It is assumed by everyone, I expect, that once you have browsed the Forums here that you would be able to discern what support that you can reasonably expect here. You have a question about installation, it has either already been answered, which should be revealed in a search, or you ask it in the Installation Forum. Ditto general questions in the General Forum. If you require specific knowledge about a Theme, you can usually discuss the matter with the theme developer, or a Moodle Themes contributor, in the Themes Forum. Same with all the Activities and Resources Plugins and Blocks. Each core plugin has a specific Forum dedicated to it. Same with every other component. You can use these forums for information and support. All these things also have documentation in the Moodle Documents pages. Admittedly some docs are strong, some are not so strong, some have not always kept up with changes, but by-and-large, the Docs are actually a fairly good, if sometimes static, repository of knowledge about Moodle.
More importantly, if you have specific questions about modifications for your Moodle installation, then you can ask in the General Developer Forum, or any one of the specialist Forums under Moodle Development. This will offer huge improvements in how you maintain and support your Moodle over any proprietal LMS. There is no charge for any of this support, there is no surrendering of control by your organization for any of this support of any part of your system. It's all yours.
What all this means is that if you have an issue, jump online, into one of these forums and sometimes you will get an answer in a few minutes, frequently the same day, sometimes, the next day. Sometimes you have a number of different responses, suggesting different avenues for resolution, so if one doesn't work, the next might.
All that in just these forums, which for me, is seriously good value.
If you do not want to host your own Moodle, do not want to develop the skill base to do that, then there are Moodle Partners who will, I am given to understand, do all of the above for you. They will create your Moodle, usually offer some training in it, they will maintain it on your behalf, as long as you pay them for it. Not unreasonable, so you see, if you look after it yourself, you have to pay someone to do it. If you get someone else to look after it, you have to pay someone to do it. What you need to decide is what is it that you want to pay for? Personally, I suggest self hosting, for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to do with you having complete control over every aspect of the Moodle.
AFAIK, NO proprietal system can compete with that kind of support. Almost by default, no vendor of a proprietal LMS would even allow development of a local skill base to recreate their own product into something that the purchaser might actually find more useful.
Now, to my original question, what do you consider a good corporate support model?
Could you please clarify what is an enterprise LMS package? And what has it got that Moodle can't do? It's ok, you can name it if you like. You will see there is a section for comparing other LMS here on moodle, and if it is worth talking about, it has already been reviewed.
In fact, naming the lms might be the best idea.