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Tech Update: Our new Learning Management System

March 8, 2013
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Initially we chose Moodle 1.9 to act as a courseware repository to support our classroom trainings. Once we started focusing on online asynchronous learning, we realized that Moodle 1.9 was not going to solve our problems.

About 6 months back, we decided to commit to Moodle 2.2 for being our primary LMS and started working on customizing the same. It took us ~4 months to change Moodle as per our requirements. I think choosing Moodle over our own custom implementation helped us quickly migrate to a new system, kept our development time and cost under control and helped us focus on real customer pain points. If we had developed our own system from scratch, I am sure that based on customer review, the first implementation was not going to be approved.

I have benchmarked our implementation against the other ones (typical implementation done by a well-funded company in quite some time) and I think that the following features match the best:

Re-skinning of the themes

We created our own theme based on the default set of themes available, and started to understand how the theming in Moodle is being done. The idea was to assume that the people who contributed to Moodle's code would have built in methods that somehow abstract the programmer from the nitty-gritties and give him an easier way (other than brute forcing) to get things done. Sadly, here we found that some of these awesome features are simply not documented enough and you have to hit the code or the Moodle forums for finding this!

Click here to see an enlarged Course Dashboard View

Click here to see the Course Dashboard

Cut out the non-essential features

After studying our own usage of Moodle, we realized that there are a tonne of features which we are not using (we do not have teachers logging in to grade students, the grading is calculated as a report based on quiz and test performances), so no grading, no teachers logins, etc. Moodle has a rich set of features, in fact more than any of the other open source learning management systems.

Treatment for different resources

In Moodle, all the items that you upload in one course is treated as either an activity or a resource. We thought that since our resources are specifically excel sheets, videos and pdf files, each of them should get special treatment. Keeping all the resources in one page can lead to a lot of confusion for users. So we added a new feature wherein the student could choose specific resources and view all the videos in one filter, all the quizes in another.

A list of All Courses

Re-defining the Content Granularity

In Moodle, within a course you have sections/topics and within those you have resources. However, most of our courses had three around each other (a video explaining a concept, an excel sheet demonstrating the concept and a quiz testing the concept). Thus, the smallest learning unit in our course was a mix of three resources. Using filters we redefined the learning units and combined multiple resources to deliver better understanding for our users.

Multiple Resources for Each Topic

Removing the forums

The forums offered in Moodle are not as stable as other open source forums easily available. We integrated the popularly available phpBB with Moodle, so that the discussion around each course directly shows up within the course.

Integrated Forums in the LMS

Search Suggest feature

Since most of our courses had more than 100-150 videos, we decided to implement a strong search feature with auto-suggest.

Auto Suggest Search Feature

Reporting and Grading

EduPristine provides training for financial certifications such as CFA®, FRM and PRM. These exams have relative grading. We decided to implement relative grading for our students, based on the scores they achieve in the course quizzes and tests.



Most of our video based courses are asynchronous courses (where it's not according to a batch), wherein a clear plan needs to be provided to the student as to how a course is going to pan out over the next few weeks and what are the actions expected by the student. For each of our topics, we added course planners where the user gets clear instructions on how to tackle that particular topic.

Modification is still not complete. We continue to experiment , introduce and remove features. It will take some more time for us to understand what is the best way to teach financial courses. We were also featured on Moodle News recently.

To check out this new Learning Management System for yourself, click here for the Demo.


About the Author

Prasad Ajinkya is the Chief Technology Officer at Pristine. Prior to joining Pristine, he has worked in leadership roles in the education sector, the retail sector and the e-commerce sector.


Global Association of Risk Professionals, Inc. (GARP®) does not endorse, promote, review or warrant the accuracy of the products or services offered by EduPristine for FRM® related information, nor does it endorse any pass rates claimed by the provider. Further, GARP® is not responsible for any fees or costs paid by the user to EduPristine nor is GARP® responsible for any fees or costs of any person or entity providing any services to EduPristine Study Program. FRM®, GARP® and Global Association of Risk Professionals®, are trademarks owned by the Global Association of Risk Professionals, Inc

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