Joomla

From the website (www.joomla.org) "Joomla is one of the world’s most popular open source CMS (content management systems). With millions of websites running on Joomla, the software is used by individuals, small & medium-sized businesses, and large organizations worldwide to easily create & build a variety of websites & web-enabled applications."

Why Content Management?

Because it makes life easy.

You get a whole bunch of stuff for 'free' (meaning no extra effort), such as automatically generated menus and  integrated content searching.

Why Joomla?

Open source, supported by my web hosting company, lots of add-on modules both free and commercial, lots of existing design templates for ideas and/or purchase.

There's more information about Joomla in the post Making the move to Joomla.

Moodle

From the website (moodle.org) "Moodle is a course management system (CMS) - a free, Open Source software package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learning communities. You can download and use it on any computer you have handy (including webhosts), yet it can scale from a single-teacher site to a 40,000-student University."

Why On-line learning?

On-line learning systems are an excellent solution for many training deliver requirements, but they are not the best choice in all cases.

On-line learning is good for:

  • Technical training which conveys detailed information and factual content.
  • Distance education where the students may be remote or otherwise unable to attend a normal classroom.
  • Ad-hoc delivery where the training materials need to be available at short notice to individual users.

On-line learning is less good for:

  • Teaching soft skills where direct teacher-student interaction is required.
  • Practical training where physical presence is required.

Why Moodle?

The best choice for an on-line learning environment will depend on the particular requirements of the organisation involved. I like Moodle for a number of technical and ideological reasons.

Open source So not only is there zero cost of acquisition, there are many developers and supporters who can fix bugs and develop enhancements.
Fits with standard web infrastructure Moodle uses the PHP scripting language and, by default, MySQL database engine. These are easily supported on the most popular web servers and can generally be supported on other web servers with appropriate configurations.
Flexible There are many built-in content modules and delivery modes which can be combined to provide a rich learning experience for the end-user. Because Moodle is open source, there are many developers around the world who create and share custom content types if the standard elements are not enough.
Fits with corporate infrastructure Moodle supports many authentication methods which, in many cases, will allow potential students to use the same usernames and passwords as they use for other systems.

Planning for Success

Before implementing Moodle (or any other on-line learning environment), you should carefully consider how different types of users will need to interact with the system and how the proposed system will support these requirements.

These questions are far from exhaustive, but give some idea of the planning requirements involved.

Students

  • How do I log in?  Can I use the same username and password as I do for my other systems?
  • How do I find out about the courses available?
  • How can I see who else is online?  If I can see them, can they see me?  Which of my details are visible to other users?

Teachers

  • How do I see what students are enrolled in my courses?  Can I remove people who shouldn't be enrolled?
  • How can I give students a mark for the course?  What sort of things can I give marks on?
  • How can I interact with the students doing the course?

Content Creators

  • What sort of content can I use in a course?
  • Can I reuse courses or content from other places?
  • Can I show different content depending on how a student answers a question?

The importance and complexity of good content creation is often overlooked in planning for on-line learning. It's hard and it takes time, to pretend otherwise will lead to disappointment.

Administrators

  • What do I need to run Moodle?  What web server?  What other software?
  • Can I run Moodle on the same server as my other web site?
  • How do I manage who can do what with Moodle?
  • How do I backup the on-line learning data?  What's included in the backup?
  • Where can I go for support?

Interested?

Dropbear Consulting has experience in planning, installing, configuring and supporting Moodle course management systems.

You might want to read this article too.

 

 

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