Comparisons and advocacy

LMS Platforms

 
Picture of peter ryan
LMS Platforms
 
Hi all, 


We are very new to the Elearning business and would really appreciate any help with deciding which way we should go with the LMS.

We are a small business that is successful in training people to gain employment. We have now been asked by a lot of our customers to alter our existing face to face training into an Elearning platform.

We will probably use articulate and Captivate for content.

The training will be a very complex  "choose your own adventure", dependant on learning styles  which is currently being created by content creators..

At this stage I am not to sure if to employ a LMS administrator and use a moodle partner (such as blackboard moodle room) which looks great to get going quickly or to employ a Moodle expert to create a funky LMS or  contract  freelancers worldwide that are experts in there chosen areas.

We have also looked at Docebo and other LMS platforms but the pricing and flexibilities don't appear suit. The main reason why is users stay on the program indefinitely.

We have in the budget to choose any of the outcomes but are struggling with this  decision,

Thank you all, appreciate it.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: LMS Platforms
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators

Hello Peter. I will move your post to the Comparisons and Advocacy forum where you'll be sure to get some good replies. Note that in terms of making your Moodle look "funky" there are lots of free contributed themes out there that you can add which might serve you well before you start thinking of spending your money. And as an aside, Moodle's standard Lesson activity does "choose your own adventure" beautifully, although perhaps not as funkily as the expensive Articulate and Captivate.

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: LMS Platforms
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

I think the answer is very much "it depends". If you are a small business then it depends most on who the people are, and what they want to be doing with their time.

If you have someone on your staff who enjoys fiddling around with servers and hosting, then running Moodle yourself is going to give you much more flexibility (e.g. to use any of the many add-ons from the plugins database to extend what activities you can create for your students, or to extract data from the system to understand what your learners are doing). If you don't have anyone like that on your staff, then a fully hosted solution from a Moodle Partner will save you all sorts of worries.

Even if you do go the 'host-it-yourself' route, there are other services you could get from a partner, in which case you might to better talking to a smaller partner. E.g. you might get some consulting from Pukunui to advice on how you should set things up on your own servers, to make sure everything is reliable, backed-up and secure. (I am going by your profile which says you are in Australia, and I should say that sone of the folks at Pukunui are mates, so this may not be impartial, but they do know their Moodle.)


Whether you go host-it-yourself, or partner-hosted, note that at the Downloads link above, you can get Complete install packages for Windows and Mac. You would not want to use these to run a real Moodle site, but they let you very quickly get a working Moodle site on your own computer where you can start experimenting. The Moodle school demo site http://school.demo.moodle.net (which I am afraid is a pretend school, not a pretend commercial training site) also lets you quickly see some of the possibilities. If you want to go more deeply, there are various books you can get https://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?id=7246, though the free online docs are also good. Another way to learn more, coming up soon, would be to sign up for iMoot http://2015.imoot.org


As for whether Moodle, or some other LMS, would be best for you. Well, Moodle might work well. The "choose your own adventure" bit of your post sounds like a good match for Moodle's Conditional availability: https://docs.moodle.org/28/en/Conditional_activities. Also, have you heard about Open Badges? https://docs.moodle.org/28/en/Badges

Moodle has lots of powerful functionality, which is good, but conversely, you need to learn how to use it. Of course, you can start simple, and only start using the more complex stuff when you find you need it. That is an advantage of buying into a mature package like Moodle, where most of the things that people might need have been added over the years.


Related to the "users stay on the program indefinitely" bit: then as well as thinking the content you want to create an host on the site, you might also want to think a bit about community. This is an area where Moodle does very well. This 'course' on moodle.org (if you can call it a course) consists of little more than lots of different forums, but plenty of us keep coming back here, and learning from each other, even without any provided content.


Hopefully some of that is useful, and I have not just confused you even more by suggesting even more possibilities to consider wink

 
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Picture of peter ryan
Re: LMS Platforms
 

Thankyou so much for the excellent info Tim, I have contacted pukunui for a solution.

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: LMS Platforms
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

One thing to factor in if you are selecting an organisation to host your Moodle is their attitude to non core plugins. It is fine if they are cautious but they should be willing to consider installing some of the better known plugins. For example the UK Open University have a collection of handy additional question types. Being from the OU, they are established and reliable. If I were picking someone to do some hosting I might test their flexibility by asking if they would provide them as an additional feature.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: LMS Platforms
Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Peter

Re-reading the discussion it occured to me that the technical aspect is not a major challenge. Moodle hosting, administration and instuctional design are well established and documented. For a starting point see this post in the parallel discussion, "Do I need Moodle or stay with WordPress?" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=311352#p1246519.

The ideological part is harsh, but still one has a choice. Talking of moodlerooms, go through "Blackboard acquires Moodlerooms and NetSpot" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=199248, if you have the energy. ;-(

Psychology is the hardest. In my imagination, what the jobless need most is boost in their spirits. I am at a loss figuring out how to achieve that through Moodle. IANAP (I am not a psychologist ;')

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: LMS Platforms
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

Having worked with LTUs, (long term unemployed) for a few years Visvanath, I can say that being successful at something, anything is a boost to the spirit. Achieving something via a Moodle or with a pair of knitting needles produces the same result, a sense of accomplishment. That is the key. 

For the general question though, Moodle can do some things, but it can't do others. So far, I have not found a lot in the learning field that Moodle cannot achieve- as long as the people who are creating the courses, developing materials and so on, are genuinely committed. The materials developed should encourage their audience to use them properly. But that is true of any system you chose. 

There is the dilemma, Cost wise, all systems, no matter what you chose are likely to all run on the same hardware, so that cost is the same. Moodle has no additional licensing fees, and is fully scalable for any sized audience. You do not have to buy x number of licenses and have some of them not being used, or find you do not have enough licenses so have to buy more. You get upgrades to new versions for free, you don't have to repurchase licenses. If you have a bug, it can usually be fixed relatively quickly. If you want a plugin improvement, you can offer it up as a suggested improvement, where it will get heard. If it is thought to be useful to a wide audience, it will find its way into Moodle code. If you don't want to wait, you can write your own plugins. Comparing systems like Articulate and Captivate to Moodle is like comparing apples to oranges, they all have a role, but do you want to pay a Rolls Royce price and never own the product?  

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: LMS Platforms
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

"If you don't want to wait, you can write your own plugins"

And by contrast with the other costs in education such as salary and equipment, paying someone to write/modify code is really not very expensive in most countries.

 
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Picture of peter ryan
Re: LMS Platforms
 
Awesome, thanks all, 


This is really complex and I appreciate your help.

I'm thinking it would be best to contract a Moodle expert to do the initial set up (as apposed to contracting a company to manage our LMS), so we have more control over the program. Our lack of knowledge does concern me and its important the program looks great and is up and running quickly.

So can you recommend an individual to build something for us? They need to be very user friendly . . . we are learning.


Thanks again


 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: LMS Platforms
Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Peter

Glad that you found the discussion helpful.

About your further enquiries:
> So can you recommend an individual to build something for us? They need to be very user friendly . . . we are learning.

What that "something" is the question. Just in case, it is highly unlikely that you need to change the Moodle code. Not that nobody needs it. but do explore what Moodle does out of the box. In the recend years it started gathering features at (alarmingly ;) high rate. I would say Moodle comes with all the web technology available today. (Whether you need all of them is a different question.) Moodle is also extensible, have a look at themes, plug-ins, etc.

> I'm thinking it would be best to contract a Moodle expert to do the initial set up (as apposed to contracting a company to manage our LMS),

There is https://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?id=7232.

> so we have more control over the program.

Well, by "program" you mean your business, not the Moodle code, right? In our jargon, you are talking of the content not the (computer) program. (Or program colliding with programme?)

> Our lack of knowledge does concern me and its important the program looks great and is up and running quickly.

For looks there are Moodle Themes. I consider the content and the teaching method to be more important.
 
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