Comparisons and advocacy

Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model

 
Picture of Vasilis Kratidis
Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model
 

Hi everyone,

We are an elearning company delivering online courses. Most of our courses are video based (technology courses) but we plan to add some new courses (business courses etc).

Until now we have for that purpose a drupal based lms but we saw that moodle has a lot of features from which we can benefit. 

So we decided to create a new solution using moodle as an LMS. We created a moodle site where we made a bit of customization (added jw-player and cloudfront distribution, used s3 bucket for each instructor uploading the videos in his own bucket, created earning reports for the instructors etc).

One of the big problems we faced and we still face is the front-end solution. We started with a drupal site as a front-end but we faced different problems with the usability.

We also saw that wordpress might be a good solution using some of the plugins (edwiser plugin, moowoodle etc). But as we see there is still a problem with the navigation between the 2 systems something that creates serious problems for our clients.

On the other side moodle itself does not have enough plugins for e-commerce, SEO etc. Our Business Model is to sell separate courses with specific duration, create bundle courses with specific duration, free trial etc. We also want to have our instructors to be able to join the platform and start creating their courses without our permission (Eg. udemy etc). Renting the platform is the next step. We saw that there are multi-tenancy solutions in moodle (Eg. iomad).

The big problem is that moodle lacks in UI than other new web based systems.

I want to know if there is the ability to change the design of the back-end of moodle so as to be more modern but without facing any problems with future updates. I guess that we are able to disable some of the resources in moodle so as not to be so many and more friendly for the instructor.

Moreover if someone has experience in integrating moodle with other systems (more specific front-end cms) and was able to solve the navigation problems please let us know which is the best solution for that.

Finally do you believe that moodle can fit our Business Model or we should go on with another platform / system?


 
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Picture of Michael Milette
Re: Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Hi Vasilis,

Here are some modern themes that might interest you.

Themes

Look in the Moodle plugins repository for the following free themes

  • BCU
  • Snap
  • eGuru
  • Pioneer

You'll find commercial themes for sale on the following sites:

eCommerce

For your eCommerce requirements, in order to go beyond the basic eCommerce plugins available in core Moodle and from the Moodle plugins site, one of the following combination might serve your needs. You'll need to confirm:

  • WordPress with WooCommerce with the Edwiser, Moowoodle
  • Drupal + Moodle + Ubercart or Drupal Commerce
  • Joomdle (Joomla + Moodle) + some Joomla shopping cart integration
  • I've hear that Totara ($$$) 2.9+, a customized version of Moodle, has some advanced eCommerce integrated and multi-tenancy but I haven't looked into it myself.

There may also be some Student Management Systems (SMS) or Student Information Systems (SIS) that have an eCommerce component. I thought I came across one a few months ago but unfortunately I don't remember what it was called.

Customizing Moodle for your Teachers

You can turn a lot of things on and off in Moodle for Teachers by modifying capabilities/permissions associated with their role and enabling/disabling plugins. Alternatively, you could use the Moodle custom menus to pre-program your menu so that a) it matches your WordPress site and b) it only includes the links you want. You can also create a custom plugin that would dynamically generate different menus depending on whether or not your user is a teacher. I would imagine that such a custom developed plugin could also access the WordPress database to generate the WordPress navigation in Moodle if you needed it to be automated.

Course Duration

Moodle does have the ability to have courses that have a specific start and end date, as well as courses that last for a predetermined duration.

As for the free trial, you can set the first section of your course to be available without requiring enrolment.

Future Proof

A future proof solution is not possible. Eventually some upgrade will break an interdependency that will need to be fixed. 

I know that this doesn't answer all your questions but I hope you find some of this useful.

Best regards,

Michael Milette

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Themes

Note: Snap is not currently available from the plugins database - http://www.moodlenews.com/2015/moodlerooms-releases-snap-theme-to-the-community/

Other popular themes in the plugins database include Essential (probably the most popular theme around at the moment), Elegance, Flexibase and many others. You may want to take a look through the Themes forum at some of Derek Chirnside's posts about several of the themes as he has done a lot of analysis recently for his own site upgrade.

You might also want to look at this discussion https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=314373 to see what can be achieved to alter the look and feel of Moodle.

Please bear in mind that commercial themes need to be supported by their authors/resellers as the community is not normally able to support those themes.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model
Particularly helpful Moodlers
I would say, you'll get the business aspects in the Moodle 'Business Uses' community https://moodle.org/course/view.php?id=32 rather that here in the "General developer forum" in Moodle in English community which is technical.You need to write again, the moderators can not shift your discussion to the 'Business Uses, I believe.

On the other hand, if you are interested in comparing Moodle with Drupal, Wordpress, etc., there is the "https://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=2784" forum here in Moodle in English, to which the moderators can shift your discussion, if you (or they) wish.
 
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Me at the Moodle Moot NZ11
Re: Is Moodle the right LMS according to our Business Model
 

I agree with many of the points already made - some great advice, ideas, and links.

A few years ago I set our Theme designer the task of creating a Theme that made a Moodle site look like a Wordpress site, and it was completely indistinguishable from a Wordpress site.  Message?  Moodle can look and work how you want, it's just knowing how to create the Theme, and setup the site (Navigation methods, Blocks, etc.).

Yes, you can selectively disable lots of Moodle functionality that you don't require such as Blocks, Filters, Modules (activities and resources) etc.  We often work through this with clients.

"Do you believe that moodle can fit our Business Model or we should go on with another platform / system?"

Well, if you have specific business needs, then as long as you have some development skills / funding you can adapt Moodle, interface with CMS, reporting tools etc.  If you choose a non open source closed solution, you will only ever be as good as the product they provide, unless you want to pay their rates for customisation (!)

 
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