Come Moodle with Us: The truth about the "free" LMS"


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So... You've heard you can get an LMS for free? Moodle, Drupal and other content management tools are open source and free for the downloading. What are the pro's, the cons, and the simply untrue things.

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  • Presentation Title: Come Moodle with Us: Straight talk on the “free LMSAbstract: This presentation gives a high-level overview of what Moodle is and various ways organizations can use it. The presenters will provide a demonstration/tour of their own Moodle site, share details of what’s required to install and configure it, and also highlight what it takes to administer the site. Finally, they will share a frank assessment of the true costs of the “free” LMS. Key Words: Moodle, LMSTargetaudience: Anyone interested in using Moodle in their own organization to 1) deliver and track training for employees or customers; 2) facilitate informal learning and communication, or 3) use it as a company Intranet site.
  • The Moodle Experience: Our First “Wow”Our first “experiment” with Moodle centered on using it to share knowledge acquired at conferences. We routinely spend thousands of dollars to send groups of employees to national/international conferences on learning/technology.In the past, we’ve struggled to share knowledge – and to get employees who attend to be accountable for learning specific things while at the conference.We set up two conferences– Adobe Max 2009 and DevLearn 2009. as “courses” in Moodle. Both courses were set up in a “social forum” style (as opposed to a weekly or topical format, which are also options in Moodle). We then let people create discussion forums around specific topics and post entries to these topics. The employees who stayed behind could then comment on the posts. Sample topics:Aftereffects and how to use it to create learning activities using video.Mobile learning – how it is/is not being used.Gaming – what it takes to develop a game.Using Sharepoint as a podcasting site.The courses were very successful. Conference attendees gained a lot from writing about what they were learning. Employees back home got a “front row seat” to key learnings and could spark great discussions.Upon return, employees could then extend the learning by creating “poster sessions” or demo applications to illustrate how BLP could apply what was learned at the conference.
  • The Moodle Experience: NowSince our first “wow,” we’ve continued to expand how we use Moodle. We find it facilitates BOTH formal and informal learning. We currently use Moodle to: Help people identify experts within the company (via tagging feature available as part of setting up employee profiles.Create a sense of “fun” and “connection” via a survey “question of the week” and photo-sharing.Help people know more about each other, which is a challenge in our virtual world (via employee profiles that employees set up for themselves)Bring home learning from conferences.Communicate company news and generate discussion about “hot” topics (via site news).House/organize company resources, job aids. Employees can link to “just-in-time” tools –things they may not use all the time and, therefore, aren’t great candidates for official training – or things that can supplement official training.Structure nontraditional “courses” (a book club that employees are part of. Each member reads assigned section and then completes assignments related to reading. They physically come together 1x/month for discussions, explicitly referring to the postings made throughout the month. In 2010, we plan to:Move our NEO program to Moodle. Create online learning experience for teaching basic instructional design to multimedia associates and entry-level associates who may lack ID background..Create online learning experience for helping associate-level personnel hone their project management skillsNOTE: The info on this screen is supplemented by a tour of BLP’s Moodle site during the live SALT presentation.
  • Moodle Experience: A summarySo…as the stories illustrate, Moodle is intended to help build a learning community. It has many powerful features that facilitate this; you can create:BlogsDiscussion forums.Tests and surveys – and track gradesResource repositories.Glossaries and wikis.Tags that help people identify each other as resources.Groups that you can keep separate from each other.Courses in a wide array of formats.TBD – since Moodle is open-source it is constantly evolving as different users contribute to its programming.
  • Installation and configurationThese are two different things – and the same person doesn’t have to do each of them.Installation is the physical install of Moodle software on your server (or a external host server).Configuration is everything that happens after the install.
  • Maintaining Moodle is where things sometimes fall apart – or where Moodle greatness emerges. This section outlines the key tasks that are part of maintaining a site and getting the most out of it.
  • Come Moodle with Us: The truth about the "free" LMS"

    1. 1. Come<br />With Us<br />Straight talk on the “free” LMS<br />Sharon Boller, President <br />Kelly Davis, Multimedia Development<br />
    2. 2. an agenda<br />
    3. 3. The<br />experience<br />
    4. 4. The Moodle Experience:Ours<br /><ul><li>16 employees…but mostly scattered.
    5. 5. Constant need to learn new techniques, tools, technologies.
    6. 6. Huge need for informal learning
    7. 7. Desire to offer training to external customers – and charge them for training.
    8. 8. Desire to learn Moodle so we can help small organizations implement it for themselves.</li></ul>The bottom-line (no pun intended): We needed to try Moodle for ourselves to see how it could help us and how it could help our clients.<br />
    9. 9. The Moodle Experience:Our first “wow”<br />She is going to cool conference where she will learn a LOT about what’s emerging in learning field.<br />She is staying at the office. <br />Kelly – this is okay as is; I’m going to leave this slide to go to a demo of Moodle. I’m going to show the DevLearn conference “course” <br />
    10. 10. The Moodle Experience: Now<br />Transfer learning from ONE to MANY<br />Foster community<br />Provide learning opportunities<br />“Manage” learning and learners<br />Find and manage resources<br />Communicate and update<br />
    11. 11. The Moodle Experience:Two others<br />Farm Bureau<br /><ul><li>~1700 employees – lots in the field
    12. 12. No budget for LMS
    13. 13. One person in training with a technical bent
    14. 14. Need to verify passing and completion
    15. 15. Huge desire to enhance informal learning</li></ul>Sleep Train<br /><ul><li> 230 stores; 4 states, 1 training person, no $$ for an LMS.
    16. 16. LOTS of turnover – continual new product info to share
    17. 17. Need to verify people “passed” knowledge tests.</li></li></ul><li>The Moodle Experience:What it IS <br />
    18. 18. Used by millions<br />Adopted MOST by people with fewer than 5000 users<br />Experiencing dramatic growth – huge spike in past 6 months.<br />Free to download<br />The Moodle Experience:What it IS <br />Top LMS tools (marketshare)<br />Moodle (18.6%)<br />Other (16.6%)<br />Developed in-house (14.8%)<br />SumTotal (14.6%)<br />Saba (12.5)<br />Blackboard (8.9%)<br />Oracle (7.9%)<br />Plateau (7.5%)<br /> (6.7%)<br />SkillSoft (6.2%)<br />Organizations with MORE than 10,000<br />SumTotal (22.3%)<br />Saba (20.4%)<br />Developed in-house (16.8%)<br />Plateau (14.1%)<br />Oracle (10.9%)<br />TIE: SkillSoft and Moodle (7.9%)<br />Blackboard (7.6%)<br />SAP (4.6%)<br /> (4.3%)<br />
    19. 19. A development tool - it has no “C” as in LCMS<br />Something you have to learn all at once…before you implement anything<br />A commercial product - there’s no vendor behind the scenes to install, train, and support you…unless you hire a “Moodle” partner.<br />Super-quick to figure out/learn – it’s not HARD, but it does take time.<br />Completely without costs<br />Optimized to generate lots of system-wide data<br />The Moodle Experience:What it is NOT <br />
    20. 20. Installation and Configuration<br />
    21. 21. Installation and Configuration:Start to Now<br />
    22. 22. Installing and configuring:What to ask BEFORE you start<br />Ask BEFORE installing!<br />Does a resource exist who is willing to learn an open-source software application? Will my organization support open-source software?<br />Will I have any IT support?<br />Do I have the money, time, and expertise to host Moodle on my own internal server OR should I find an external host?<br />If I decide to have an external host, should I get a dedicated server or a shared server? (Shared servers allow smaller file size uploads.)<br />Who will be the system administrators? How will admins divide responsibility?<br />
    23. 23. Installing and Configuring:System requirements<br />Hardware Requirements<br />Minimum 150 to 200MB disk space<br />Network or standalone<br />Software Requirements<br />Database – MySQL is recommended<br />Web server – Apache is preferred<br />PHP – PHP 4.30 is required to run Moodle 1.9. It is advisable to use PHP 5.24 or higher for Moodle 2.0.<br />PHP Extensions<br />Moodle Packages<br />Standard<br />Mac OS X - local<br />Windows – local<br />
    24. 24. Installing and Configuring:Required skill/knowledge assets<br />Knowledge assets<br />PHP (installation)<br />CSS (graphical look, positioning, etc)<br />MySQL (installation)<br />HTML (installation)<br />SCORM (course configuration)<br />Course design/development (course creation)<br />Social media savvy (informal learning)<br />Personality assets<br />Patience (installation, configuration, development)<br />Confidence (i.e. can’t be afraid to try stuff and see what happens)<br />
    25. 25. more on configuration…<br />
    26. 26. MaintainingMoodle<br />
    27. 27. Maintaining Moodle:<br />Three considerations<br />Site administration<br />Course administration and development<br />User involvement<br />
    28. 28. Maintaining Moodle:Site and Course Administration<br />
    29. 29. Maintaining Moodle:User Involvement<br />
    30. 30. Data Tracking <br />
    31. 31. Data tracking:What you CAN get<br />What reports can you get?<br />Site level:<br />All/Individual activity logs across entire site or by course<br />Course level:<br />All/individual participant activity logs<br />All participant grades<br />Individual participant reports<br />What do these reports tell you?<br />Activity logs: what the user did, not how they did.<br />Grade and participant reports: completion, score, and activity.<br />
    32. 32. What if you want more? <br />Add-ons are available. Here are a few we have found but not tried:<br />Category Activity Reports<br />Completion Report <br />Moomis<br />Data tracking:What you CAN get<br />
    33. 33. The costs – really.<br />
    34. 34. “Soft” costs (translate to personnel to make Moodle successful) can be more than people think.<br />Hard costs – pretty minimal<br />The costs – really.<br />
    35. 35.<br /><br />