Your organisation needs an LMS.
Or a change of LMS?
Which factors affect the choice and where does an open source platform like Moodle come in?
Major decisions about which LMS to choose are often taken by those holding the purse strings or the power within an organisation, with, ideally, input from learning designers, educators and even learners who’ll be using the platform on a daily basis. Several factors need to be taken into consideration and we look at five here:
Whether cost wins over ease of use and functionality is debatable, but what’s clear is that if you choose an open-source product like Moodle, you’re getting a well-established stable LMS at no cost or low cost. Moodle can be installed free of charge, with its maintenance costs depending on the in-house IT skills. Alternatively, official Moodle partners will install and manage Moodle for you, at a cost far less than other proprietary learning management systems.
Advocates of commercial, proprietary platforms argue that with open-source you’re on your own if the system fails. Purchase a commercial LMS and you receive a (paid) support package. However, open source products have consistently gathered around them large communities of like-minded developers and users, and Moodle is no exception. With a user base in every country of the world and with over 100,000 registered sites, the global Moodle community offers free support via forums on Moodle.org, while Moodle partners provide their own valuable packages.
Busy educators don’t have time to learn complex new ways of presenting their teaching materials and learners will quickly (and literally) switch off if the platform is not intuitive. An LMS needs to be easy to use, quick to master, without the need for hours of training or troubleshooting. Each version of Moodle brings improvements to the interface, taking into account accessibility and cross-device functionality.
While you can’t easily write a dissertation on your smartphone, you should be able to check your grades, receive alerts from your professor, watch video tutorials and engage in online class discussions. Teachers should be able to monitor group work and grade assignments. These are just the minimum features an organisation should be looking for when selecting an LMS. “Mobile first” might be a buzz-phrase but it is absolutely essential in 21st century learning. The Moodle app, available for Android and iOs, and as a desktop version, allows learners to do everything on their smartphone that they can do on their computer, and can also be branded to an organisation’s own theme.
In a blended or online situation where learners are rarely if ever in a face to face classroom, reports, logs and analytics are essential to ensure ‘at risk’ students are supported early on in their struggles. Moodle not only has powerful analytics tools as standard but also integrates with popular tools allowing data to be viewed and visualised instantly.
Moodle Moot Australia 2019 will host a series of workshops, presentations and activities to help individuals and organisations identify their needs and which Learning platform is best suited.
Dedicated to users, developers and administrators of the very popular open-source learning management system called Moodle, we share good practices, insights and tips, and also facilitate hands-on workshops on the use of Moodle in education, training and research.
We welcome you to join us at MoodleMoot Australia 2019 at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from 1 – 3 July for 3 days of learning opportunities from peers and colleagues as well as through new workshops by our Education and Mobile team.