Moodle, a leading learning management system of the time. An e-Learning platform originally developed to help educators create online courses with a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content, and is in continual evolution.
If you know what Moodle is and how business operations can benefit from it and just want to read about integration possibilities please jump to Moodle integration section
Introduction to Moodle for business:
Moodle can be used in many types of environments such as in a learning delivery tool in educational institutes, and for business settings as a community and collaboration tool, can be used for compliance and training. The modular design of Moodle allows it to address wider range of business issues then other most closed source alternatives.
Open source content management system is now more common than ever before. While Open source Linux gaining market share in server, supper computers and handheld devices, many business organizations are using more open source applications starting from file sharing, email and webhosting to complex content management systems like Drupal, Joomla, and AlfrescoOpen Source Enterprise Content Management System including document management, web content management, SharePoint alternative and content repository. Open source databases and middleware, like MySQL and JBoss, are being widely adopted for their Openness, flexibility and stability.
Moodle is Open source and free. The Moodle market share has seen a tremendous growth over last 7 years of years. While is started from less then 100 thousand and now over 1.2 million. The reason for this with loyal user base would be Moodle features, scalability and reliability. Open sources This eliminates the possibility of any vendor lock down. There is no requirement for per user licensing. Moodle millions of registered users who constantly share the ideas, codes, information and free support. This makes scope and possibilities enormous. On the other hand the system requirement for Moodle is fairly simple. Moodle run out of the box on top of Apache, mysql and php; which is basically free on software licensing and the choice of OS in production environment is Linux. Which means any AMP can host Moodle. Anyone can have Moodle server up and running under 20 minutes even on their windows of mac laptop.
According to the eLearning Guild 2008 Learning Management System survey, Moodle’s initial cost to acquire, install, and customize was $16.77 per learner. The initial cost per learner for SAP was $274.36, while Saba was $79.20, and Blackboard $39.06. They also reported Moodle went from a 6.8 % corporate LMS market share in 2007 to a 19.8 % market share in 2008.
There are many models open source business Like Moodle can work on. Moodle is supported by the Moodle Partners, a group of 50 companies around the world who provide a range of Moodle services. Moodle Services offered by these partners are installation, consultancy, integration, customization and development, hosted service, administrative and end user support and training. Each of the partners provides a portion of its Moodle revenue back to the Moodle project to ensure the continued development of the shared platform.
So how Moodle does helps business:
These are list of example application of Moodle in a business operation. Most of the time HR, training, compliance, quality departments can use as a business tool. Listed some of the actual application can very well be achieved using Moodle.
- Hiring and InterviewingAbility to allow potential employees to access more about the company and the advertised position. Allow take sample test to evaluate them selves and submit it to the Human Resource department for evaluation, self submit information and documents in a pre-defined format.
- Rollout Products and Services
- Managing Compliance TrainingCompliance training refers to the process of educating employees on the laws, regulations and company policies that apply to their day-to-day job responsibilities
- Competency TrackingCompetencies are areas of knowledge or skill that are critical for producing key outputs in an organization. Ability to track and Competency using a tool as a part of Learning Management platform
- Create and maintain collaborated knowledge base
- Inter organization discussion forum,
- Web Conferencing
- Running workshop
- Getting employee feedback
The modular and open source build on Moodle opens up all possibility of Integration. The list and application is continuously growing so it the level of integration.
With a quick search you can see the range of applications, CMS and authentication systems Moodle supports:
- Authentication and user info: LDAP, active directory, Microsoft live, Google app, alfresco
- Content management: Gallery, Drupal, Turnitin, Joomla, Drupal, facebook, SCORMSharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning. It defines communications between client side content and a host system called the run-time environment, which is commonly supported by a learning management system. SCORM is a specification of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, which comes out of the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense., alfresco
- Collaboration: Google app, webex,
- Application integration: Open office, MS office
This makes it a better fit business compared to any other LMS of its class.
A good place to start integrating Moodle to your existing system would your central user information and authentication system. This could be your active directory, LDAP, Radius, IMAP or even an external database etc.
Moodle with LDAP
Most commonly used one is Active directory or LDAP. This works very well when organization has its own Directory service infrastructure. To keep the description simple we shall call it LDAP integration with Moodle. This will let LDAP users to start working on Moodle right away. User information mapping enable Moodle to populate user details from LDAP as soon as one logs in. With LDAP integration you may also assign course creators in Moodle as per LDAP OU. Administrators may also enable single sign on (SSO) with LDAP integration.
Moodle with Google apps
Google is taking over the world! If you are not paranoid like me you probably are using or planning to use Google app. Google apps can closely be integrated with Moodle.
How does Google apps and Moodle integrate?
Once you integrate Google app with Moodle this is what you get
- Using the same login for Moodle and Google apps, also supporting single sign on
- Gmail block in Moodle front page with latest Gmail messages
- Also other Google app blocks like Google doc, calendar for user access in Moodle
- Moodle can use Google doc repository importing files
Moodle with Microsoft Office:
Moodle is a web application is designed to store HTML, plain text, wiki and other interactive content type in its native from. However Moodle is also heavily used to store other document types like Work, excel, power point. This process of creating, salving locally and uploading takes several steps and is time consuming. Editing an existing document in a Moodle could be even more time consuming as it adds one more step of downloading and saving the file before you can updated and upload it once again. Office Add-on for Moodle allows a user to use Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) to create, open, edit, and save Moodle documents all from within the Office application itself. User can find the Moodle websites he/she uses and browse her courses, folders, and files without launching a browser.
Moodle with Open Office:
OpenOffice can be integrated into Moodle. It goes even one step farther compared to MS Office. OpenOffice.org plugin enables users to work with various OpenOffice supported content type from the Moodle web interface. Find more on OfficeOffice.org plugin
Moodle supported repositories:
Like Google doc Moodle supports various repositories for importing document. This allows users to use files from any of these repository from Moodle interface. The repositories are following, Alfresco, Box.net, Legacy course files, Dropbox, Flickr, Merlot.org, Picasa web album, Amazon S3, WebDAV, Wikimedia, youtube and more.
It’s probably time for you to take a quick look at the process Moodle can address in your business. You may also want to talk to a Moodle specialist, who cans advice on Moodle use in your business environment operation.
We shall try to follow this article with step by step integration procedures of various listed application in the future.