Comparisons and advocacy

Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind

 
Picture of Jeff Fila
Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 

I know there's a "Moodle for Business" course but it isn't nearly as active as this forum. Hopefully I can get some good input here.

My employer is looking at implementing an e-learning solution and we're considering Moodle vs. a commercial product. My department (customer training) is pushing Moodle; the other departments are pushing this commercial product (www.trainingmine.com).

I implemented and used Moodle for a company I worked for in 2002-2003 and it worked great for customer training. However, this project is much bigger, and for both internal employee training and for external customer training.

My push for Moodle is based on:
- cost reasons (figure less than $10,000 over 3 years for Moodle and $60,000 for the commercial product)
- Flexibility - if we want to add features, we can do it as we wish
- CMS - I also need to replace a customer-only website that includes downloads, calendars, news, etc.
- Pay courses - I eventually want to offer paid subscription courses.
- Features - Moodle seems to have more testing and assessment features.

What we need is:

1) The ability to separate customers from employees. Customers shouldn't be able to see corporate training items. I believe I would need a mod to Moodle for this.

2) The ability to put people on certain learning paths. IE, there is a path for manufacturing, a path for engineering, a path for marketing etc. However, some of the courses may be for several or all groups.

3) Useful reporting. I want managers to be able to see who in their group has/hasn't taken a specific course; who needs to take a course; the percentage of people that have passed this course, taken a certain course. I'd also like email alerts that tell the employee, customer, manager that a requirement is due.

The problem is, our IT staff is convinced that a Moodle implemention will be much more time and resource intensive than a commercial product. With Moodle, we'll go with either ClassroomRevolution or Remote-Learner so there will be no install required onsite. We'll need input for our theme (which is a big plus in my opinion) and we'll also need them to install the CMS and a mod to handle separating customers from employees. Besides that, and the fact that since we have a CMS, we'll need to add content, I don't see how Moodle would take so much more to implement. Am I missing something here?

I don't want to be the guy that pushes for Moodle, just to find out it really won't work for what we want to do. The problem is, I really don't know unless I build a demo site and take the time to populate it. It was fine for a small customer site 2 years ago, but this is a much larger undertaking.

So seriously, how does Moodle stack up against commercial corporate elearning products in relation to time to implement, ease of use, and features?

One other plus going for the commercial site is that it has built-in content for safety training - which is big for our company. That is free content that we can use out of the box. I haven't been able to find anyone else that would provide safety and hazmat type training content.

Comments, opinions, ideas?

Thanks...

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 
Hi Jeff,

Hopefully the following will put your mind at rest:

1) You need to be able to separate customers from employees.

Much depends here on whether you will be allocating usernames and passwords or allowing a self-service registration process. (The latter is much easier to manage - with fewer management overheads.) If you allocate usernames etc you can set up Moodle to look at your database of usernames and allocate courses automatically. If you use self-service registration, you can set up Moodle to request an enrollment key for specific areas that you wish to keep private.

NB. The course titles themselves won't be hidden from the other groups, just the content of those courses.

2) You need to be able to put people on certain learning paths, with shared courses between those paths.

Moodle, out of the box, doesn't handle well content that is shared across multiple courses - particularly if you want to keep the content behind the login. To do this you'll need the DMS mod (not sure of the link at the moment), or buy the Hive repository system.

3) You need useful reporting....

I always question my corporate clients when they ask me this, as it's very easy to provide meaningless data. What are you actually measuring?

Moodle's aggregate reporting functions are limited at the moment. However, each course does have a very detailed gradebook, and you can use SCORM content which passes the information you need back into the gradebook.

Your requirement for email alerts could be achieved using a posting within a forum for that particular area.

Regarding time to implement, ease of use, and features?

It would take a Moodle partner a minimal amount of time to set up an out of the box site with all the Moodle functionality available. But, to make it work for your environment (as with most sophisticated solutions) it will need tweaking or configuring, eg. the theme, the language pack and the way you want your courses structured. The amount of configuring will depend on how closely Moodle already matches your organisation's learning structures and terminology. They will also want to explore with you whether and how you will be using the collaborative and interactive functions of Moodle, as each of these can be configured in detail, each time they are used.

If you are going with external hosting (excellent idea), there will be no IT resource time required. I run a number of hosted Moodle sites, with no support needed from internal IT at all.

Ease of use is a big plus for Moodle. You have to be careful though that the people designing your course area don't try to use all the bells and whistles all at once as your learners will get confused very quickly. Keep it simple.

Features is a difficult one, as much depends on how those features are implemented and how they work together. But Moodle is very feature rich.

If you're just looking for health & safety training materials do a search for SCORM packages and you'll find lots of generic stuff that will plug into Moodle.

I hope that helps.

Yours,

Mark
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Mark Burnet
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 
Comment: "1) The ability to separate customers from employees."
Why not have two sites with different branding strategies?  There is no license cost difference.  They could share the same server, hosting site and repository.

Opinion:  "2) The ability to put people on certain learning paths."  Conditional course enrollment must currently be done manually.  However,  there are some current external solutions that could integrate this into a Moodle enrollment process.

Idea: "I want managers to be able to see who in their group has/hasn't taken a specific course;"  With future versions of Moodle, roles would allow for management level permissions to review course progress.  For now, they could be a non-editing Teacher, which with a custom language pack could be named as "Manager".

Opinion: I would set up a mockup system on a linux or windows PC to give the decisionmakers a limited view of what it would look like.  Create their accounts and walk them through making one element on the system to show the ease of use.  I am in the IT side of the business and I know it is difficult to argue against something that people have already had their hands on. The sales/marketing guys call this the "puppy-dog close".

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Fila
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 

Thanks Mark and Mark.

The ability to hide courses from users is big. If a customer comes to the site, I don't want them to see something related to internal training. The enrollment key isn't enough - I don't want them to even know that those other courses are there.

About the 2 separate sites idea - I thought of that too, but there would be courses that would need to be shared between the 2. That's actually what I'm trying to avoid because the internal training people want one thing for internal use and I want something that will also meet my external training needs.

For customers, I'd be allocating user names and passwords; for internal I could do it either way (but would prefer to allow employees to sign up themselves - I should be able to get people to properly fill out their own information)

For external use, the collaborative features are not important; for internal use they would be nice to have, but not a requirement

I have a mock system installed but I'm running out of time. The internal training people want to implement something asap, while I'd prefer to test features and usability for another week or two.

Another question: what features/benefits does the Moodle CMS addon give you? This site needs to be a portal for people to be able to download product software and documentation.

Am I asking too much to try to integrate an external training solution with an internal training solution?

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of jerry stapleton
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 
Jeff,
We spoke a few weeks ago. 

One issue you identified in your post that was a show-stopper issue for me is the ability to have courses that only certain users even know exist.  The guys at CR showed my how to do this. 

I own a sales training company.  At the moment, I have about 10 client companies in Moodle.  When users from a given client company log in, they see ONLY  their course.  They can see nothing whatsoever in Moodle that lets them know that there are even other companies in there.  As far as each client is concerned, Stapleton Online (which is what I call my Moodle install) is ALL about them.

I have also created "learning paths."  They're not "forced" as such, whereby one has to finish "module A" before being allowed into "module B", but they are, at least, sequential.  You've probably already figured  out how to do that.

As to the,"AND, it comes pre-installed with hazmat modules" incentive.  Wow, now THERE's a stretch.  That's like buying a car because it comes with a full tank of gas(Even THESE days that's a bad idea).  The difference in initial and total cost of ownership between Moodle and a commercial LMS would buy an awful lot of outstanding safety training from J.J. Keller!

If it'd help, I'd be happy to walk you through my site so you can see how I'm handling some of these things.

Hope this helps.

Jerry





 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Vijay Reddy
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 

Hi Jerry,

It is very interesting! If possible, I would like to get some more details on the way you setup your courses and learning paths.

Do all your clients use the same Moodel Installation (single moodle, single database, single data directory) and they don't see courses other than the ones allocated to them? THis sounds great!

Are your courses designed for individual self-study or they should be taken in a group setting?

Thanks,

Vijay

 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of jerry stapleton
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 
Hi Vijay
Yes, all my clients use the same Moodle installation.   I believe it's a single db and data directory, but i'd have to check with Classroom Revolution, the Moodle Partner that hosts and supports me. 

I've hidden any block that might allow a client to see the name of any other client.  I import users directly into their assigned courses.  So far, it's working flawlessly. 

My courses are designed for individual self-study.  I also put a lot of reference materials into my courses.  Most of my content is SCORM created with Articulate Presenter.

Jerry
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Vijay Reddy
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 

Hi Jerry,

Thank you!

If you have a demo course, I would like to have a look at your site to get a feel for it.

Unless we offer courses commercially (for profit), hosting with a Moodle Partner may not be economical; their rates seem to be very high for non-profit or community education purpose.

Thanks again,

Vijay

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jarrod Winsor
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
 

Curious if you ended up going with Moodle and now how things are going with it 9 years later 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Moodle for Corporate learning - help ease my mind
Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Jarod

I am not sure whom you meant, but both Vijay and Jeff are no more in this forum. They were last seen in moodle.org around 2008/09:
- https://moodle.org/user/profile.php?id=4313 (four digit, joined 2003!)
- https://moodle.org/user/profile.php?id=40540

I hope, that doesn't mean that they are out of business! Yes, 8 1/2 years is a long time.
:-')
 
Average of ratings: -