General help

Considering Iomad

 
Picture of John D. Black
Considering Iomad
 

We're considering upgrading our Moodle site with Iomad but have been unable to find much information about its existing user base. Have you (or anyone you know) done this upgrade?

3.2.1

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Considering Iomad
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

The first question is, "why?" Don't get me wrong, there are often very good reasons to make this kind of decision, but I suggest you need to be very clear about the "why's and wherefore's" of such a decision. 

As far as usability, there have been a few mixed reports about using Iomad, but the overall silence would likely indicate it is not a seriously bad move for those who have done it. Please be aware, however, that multi-tenancy, and that is really the only reason you would do this, is not always the only viable option though. You can also have multiple Moodles, as long as each Moodle has an independent prefix for their cookies and there is sufficient storage space for each of them. Depending on how many Moodles you want to run simultaneously, it may be easier to maintain a small set of these rather than using Iomad.  

You may, I am led to believe, also be able to achieve similar demarcations of courses of what Iomad achieves by using cohorts, ie. enrolling a user into a particular cohort to see some courses, but not others and another cohort to see an entirely different set of courses, and a third cohort to see a blend of those courses, but never having done that, I can't say how. There should be enough information in the Moodle Docs to tell you how that can be done. 

Depending on numbers of enrollments, it may be that meta courses are an easier option again. 

   

 
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Picture of John D. Black
Re: Considering Iomad
 

I work for a giant corporation. So far, our Moodle site has just been used at my own location. However, my corporation now wants multiple locations to use the site in order to roll out training for a major software upgrade. So multi-tenancy is the main reason I'm interested. I want these other divisions to be able post courses, enroll users, etc. without my involvement. The Iomad reporting features seem like they'll also be very helpful. (I've run Moodle sites since 2007 and am familiar with cohort capabilities.)

Your post seems to suggest I should be reluctant to use Iomad. I've been searching the web and have encountered little information. The usability issues I've found often related to improper installation. There are several other observations that are concerning. I can't seem to find anyone who actually uses it. Also, there is little documentation and no knowledge base.

Do you have any first-hand experience with Iomad or know someone who has?


 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

I have to declare some interest - so can't give an independent recommendation.

Your use-case is pretty much what Iomad was designed for. I would encourage you to try it out as a pilot or on a parallel test site to see if it suits you. 

There are lots of users (it's always hard to tell) but most are training companies of one sort or another and don't turn up here much. 

Regarding usability - in some respects the things it does are just a bit complicated and there's a bit of a learning curve. Constructive criticism (in the Github tracker) is always welcome. 

You can upgrade from Moodle to Iomad as Iomad is just Moodle. The new site won't "know" about all your companies and what users and courses belong to which company so you would need to set all that up. You shouldn't need to recreate any course data though. 

Commercial support is available (of course) if you need it...


 
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Picture of John D. Black
Re: Considering Iomad
 

I'm an instructional designer. When I talked to our web expert he said that it is commonplace in the open source world for companies to develop on a branch for a period of time then go off on their own. He wondered if there would ever be a time when Iomad split off permanently from Moodle. I hadn't thought of that.

Is that a possibility?

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Considering Iomad
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

When you mean "Split off" you mean use Moodle then develop their own LMS, or just change their product to suit another LMS? Under the Moodle GPL that is possible but this question is like "how far is up?" I can't gauge intent or changing markets, but right now, nothing like that appears on the horizon, but that can change anytime. Even the devs at Iomad may not be able to answer that question.

 
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Picture of Just H
Re: Considering Iomad
Particularly helpful Moodlers

Everything is possible, look at Totara.

 
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Randy Thornton
Re: Considering Iomad
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers


John,

I have been through this process twice now with clients and I agree with Howard that Iomad was designed just for this use case.

Iomad is Moodle, with extras. From the standpoint of usability for users, it is almost identical to the user experience in Moodle. Most of the new tools in Iomad are focused on administrative organization related to multi-tenancy, program management,  ecommerce, etc.

As for splitting from Moodle the short answer is no. Not an impossible no, obviously, but an improbable in the near future no. I obviously don't speak for ELD and have no intimate knowledge of the company - unlike Howard - but that is my personal assessment while working with clients who use their product and get support from them.

Speaking as an outsider to both companies but who has worked with both their products, Iomad is a very different company from and in a very different position to that of Totara.

I had been actively working for about three years with clients who have Totara when the fork came from Moodle and it was clearly the logical next step that needed to happen sooner or later. It just came sooner than some expected. It had been slowing approaching over time and was driven by large clients needing features to compete in a market with feature sets that products like Saba have.

I like Iomad and the direction the product is going and have had good experiences working with the team at ELD. They've been responsive to the needs of my clients and are focused on the small/medium company market in a way that Moodle is not. 

The most difficult thing about working with Iomad is probably getting people to pronounce it correctly ;)

Randy

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersTesters

Seems very unlikely to me. So long as it is Moodle++ they get the benefit of all the global Moodle development. When you split off you slowly take on much more support work.

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

What Marcus said. 

To be clear - we would be MUCH happier if Iomad was nothing but a bunch of plugins that could (potentially) be added to an existing Moodle site. Unfortunately, the required functionality could not be achieved without a small number of core changes. These have been kept to the absolute minimum. 

There is no plans or thoughts of forking away from Moodle. There's no advantage for anybody doing that. 

On a side note, it means that any support, development and hosting fees are still subject to the Moodle Partner agreement and a percentage goes back to Moodle HQ to support core Moodle. This, again, we think is a good thing not a bad thing. Totara isn't subject to this as far as I know - it isn't Moodle. 

 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: Considering Iomad
Particularly helpful Moodlers

On a side note, it means that any support, development and hosting fees are still subject to the Moodle Partner agreement and a percentage goes back to Moodle HQ to support core Moodle. This, again, we think is a good thing not a bad thing. Totara isn't subject to this as far as I know - it isn't Moodle. 

Happy to correct the above for all readers of this discussion.

If you obtain support for Totara Learn (any support) from a company that is also a Moodle Partner, the Moodle Partner is contractually obliged to pay Royalties to Moodle on those services.

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Thanks for the clarification, Ray. I just assumed that as Totara had forked away from Moodle this would no longer be the case. 

You know what they say about "assume" wink

 
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Picture of Olumuyiwa Taiwo
Re: Considering Iomad
Particularly helpful Moodlers

> If you obtain support for Totara Learn (any support) from a company that is also a Moodle Partner, the Moodle Partner is contractually obliged to pay Royalties to Moodle on those services.

Ray, does the above mean that a company that is both a Moodle and Totara Partner pays two sets of royalties for providing Totara support? Or do they only pay royalties to Moodle?

 
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Picture of Travis Mitchell
Re: Considering Iomad
 

FWIW...

We are a fairly small company, but we work with groups from the Dept of Defense and Dept of Energy and have been essentially duplicating our courses with refinements and customizations for each group we work with. While in the process of overhauling our Moodle-based site and developing the next version of our training, Randy Thornton suggested Iomad as a good fit for the functionality we were trying to get out of pure Moodle without using tons of Moodle plugins (some of which had not been updated for a very long time and would have created other headaches for us).

So far, I have only had some FB Messenger communications with Iomad with some questions we had about using Iomad and converting from Moodle (kind of a strange way to think about it considering Iomad is Moodle, but with additional functionality). They have been extremely responsive and very helpful, including answering my messages to them outside of their normal working hours. 

I just initiated the process within my company this morning to get a development version of Iomad spun up to give it a test run and see if it will work as we hope. I'll be sure to post back here if we run into any disasters along the way, but I'm feeling pretty confident that Iomad is going to be what we've wanted out of Moodle all along.

 
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Floyd Saner - Tail of the Dragon, U.S. 129, NC
Re: Considering Iomad
Particularly helpful Moodlers

Travis,

I have very extensive Moodle experience and am setting up an IOMAD site for the first time. The main frustration I've run into with IOMAD is the almost total lack of documentation. My initial conversations with folks at IOMAD were very good. However, since my site is not hosted by E-Learn Design (IOMAD), it is difficult to get specific help. I've even offered to pay for consulting by the hour but was informed E-Learn Design do not do that. Hourly consulting was recently listed on their website, but that has been removed, and the least expensive paid assistance you can get for IOMAD is a 'health check' for USD 610.

There are limitations to an IOMAD configuration As someone else mentioned, IOMAD is not 'aware' of standard Moodle structures and users. You must configure everything through the IOMAD interface. A limitation I'm trying to work around at the moment is a user cannot be a member of multiple departments in the company. In my case each department has a set of courses and competencies for all users in the department. However each time I try to add a user to a second department, it deletes enrollment in the first department. 

I'm currently looking for someone I can pay to provide assistance with IOMAD. If anyone reading this is interested, please contact me through Messaging.

Thanks,

Floyd

 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Considering Iomad
 

When you say " my corporation now wants multiple locations to use the site in order to roll out training for a major software upgrade" I know where you are coming from. This is a major weakness (or decision to not address) by Moodle. Moodle is incredible, but multisite is sadly not something that seems important to Moodle HQ. It is a tremendous pity as adoption in corporate across many sites would really boost take up.

We wanted (and still want) to do the same. We have 600 schools that would like to use our resource in the UK - but Moodle still works much better for the OU model (loads of courses of a few users across a large number of studens) compared to your use case (possibly?) and ours which is a very small number of core courses used by hundreds of sites. (each site only sees their own courses and the courses are NOT multiply duplicated but shared so that changes dont have to be made to each of the 600 copies of the 8 core courses.

Totara told us what we need they dont do. So that was that.

Iomad pretty much did the same (though they never explained why)

So we're kind of stuck. Waiting either for this multisite feature to be finally added to Moodle (aint never going to happen!) or some other rabbit out of the hat like the funds to develop this feature, (We actually did this for moodle 1.9 - way back but we dont have the resources to do this every time the house removers show up every six months (Moodle updates come every 6 months <sigh>)

I would be EXTREMELY interested in keeping in touch to see how you get on, as maybe there will be some approach you encounter that will allow us to deliver to much large numbers of schools..?

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

I would have thought that the Iomad shared course feature is what you need - although there might be some detail I am missing. You can have courses shared between "Iomad companies"

 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi Dom,

I have recently done Iomad implementation (3.3) with a view to bringing schools on the platform.

My difficulty is 'lack of documentation' 

I would request you to share your approach in connecting with 600 schools through Iomad.

Would help a lot!

Thanks

 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi Shreepad,


We've ht the very same problem. No documentation (or very little - and not much interest in helping) so you are have actually taken far more steps forward with this?

Would be interested in working together to see how we might explore this more fully.

we HAVE 600+ schools that WOULD like to collaborate, but we havent yet found a solution which is such a great pity with Moodle but it remains its weakest area, an orphaned area of functionality. Perhaps there is no motivation to do this?


Dom


 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Yes - the decision was always to minimise the number of core changes to the original Moodle part. I think this is a sensible decision but results in some duplication. Things like course creation and user manipulation have to be "company aware" so this resulted in "Iomad" versions of these interfaces. 

We've been looking at ways of improving the use of events to trap these things in the standard forms and then update the Iomad structures. 

 
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Picture of Chris Bedford-Gay
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hey Travis,

Did you have any joy.  I'm in a similar position where I'm fighting with some user/role issues... configuring permissions and stuff in a moodle role but iomad doesn't seem to like it.  I've also got some oddities with the iomad link block not appearing on users when it should.  I should say I'm "new" to moodle also so a bit of a learning curver and went iomad as the multi-tennancy is ideal (if it works as it says on the tin, which other than some wrinkles as above it "seems" to.


 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

If you're having specific problems then please log them here, https://github.com/iomad/iomad/issues

Someone will take a look. 

 
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Picture of Chris Bedford-Gay
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Thanks Howard,

I'm not sure if it's  an issue or learning/understanding iomad.  I'm trying to schedule a call with Derick @ Iomad to kick-off some paid support.

C

 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi Howard,

It would be of immense help if a simple video is created and uploaded on Youtube....

I wrote to ELD using online form but yet to get a response. May be because I am not a paid customer!

Please consider this request!

Cheers

Shreepad


 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

That's a possibility...

You sent me a private message but your message settings are set so that I can't reply. Please excuse my public response. 

You will need to contact ELD directly and ask about support packages. 

 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi Howard,

Thank you for evaluating the possibility of video walk through for Iomad.

Would request if it is posted soon!

I have changed the message settings by the way smile

Regards

Shreepad


 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi Howard,

Please let us know the likelihood of video in near future.

Cheers



 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Erm... I don't wish to sound unhelpful but you asked about the possibilities at no time did I mention or suggest I would be making one or even thinking about it. 

I have never made an instructional video... I wouldn't know where to start big grin

 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Oops!

If it helps, I am willing to create instructional videos (on the operational part) using my time and resources for the benefit of community.

At the moment it looks like a steep learning curve as I am faced with queries due to non proficiency with Iomad sad

All I need is proper training on operation of Iomad (via Skype or Team Viewer). I can create videos and post.

It would be quick (maybe 60 mins or so) as I have been using it for a while now.

Question is... Whom should I approach? Who's willing to give that time for the benefit of community?

Sounds like chicken and an egg situation smile


 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

You need to speak to the guys at E-Learn Design. I do some consultancy work for them and know my way around some corners of Iomad but I am by no means an expert.

 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Ok.

Any references?

Cheers



 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Yes thats been our experience too. Great idea if Howard can help.

 
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Picture of John Doyle
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi all - Came across this thread while looking for a couple details on the dept. mgr. role / permissions in Iomad.  Have worked with Moodle for ~10 years and implemented Iomad in a variety of multi--tenancy situations for companies and training co's. Agree w/ others - Iomad's been doing some good things. Also glad to help anyone overcome the documentation gaps to get important customizations handled or figure out certain trickier issues!

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Considering Iomad
Particularly helpful Moodlers
Reminded me the on-line book IOMAD https://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=55&rid=7978.

No, I do not use IOMAD (yet).
 
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Picture of Shreepad Parkhe
Re: Considering Iomad
 
Hi,
Need help urgently on Iomad.
Please share your mail address.
Cheers
 
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Picture of Dennie Walker
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Hi John

I Would like some clarification on Iomad updates/upgrades.
Do I have to wait on Iomad official releases to update Iomad or will I be able to update/upgrade Iomad to latest Moodle versions as they are rolled out through the official Moodle website?
I ask this because I noticed that the latest release of Iomad is still 3.4 whereas moodle is already on release 3.5.1.
Can i install the Iomad 3.4 then upgrade to 3.5.1 through the official Moodle website and keep all my Iomad settings and configurations?

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

You need to wait for the official Iomad release. 

There are a number of core changes and it takes some time after the release of a new Moodle version to incorporate these changes and test them properly. 

 
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Picture of Dennie Walker
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Thank you for the quick response.
Another query i have is concerning shared hosting.
The new Moodle versions still allow installations on shared hosting using the Antelope file format despite the warnings, however Iomad doesn't allow installation on shared hosting because of this requirement. It would be nice to be able to install Iomad on shared hosting because 99% of the shared  hosts don't allow changing of database format to barrcuda.
Is there a workaround to this for Iomad?

Thanks

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Considering Iomad
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

That's not true.

There's nothing different in Iomad from "vanilla" Moodle when it comes to database requirements. 

 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Considering Iomad
 

By the way John,  further to my reply below, I tried messaging you but I am told that I cannot click on your profile to do so - Weird. Never seen that before. 


 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Considering Iomad
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators

Dom -the reason you can't see John's profile is because he has unenrolled himself from this course, so presumably doesn't "do" Moodle anymore?

 
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Picture of Dom F
Re: Considering Iomad
 

Oh I see. That was a very quick stint. I suspect he ran into the same problems with multi-site moodle that we have, only we tried for much, much longer to find a way to do it. (Hence incidentally my note to you)

Thanks Mary,

D

 
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