Upgrading our Learning Management System
July 1st, 2012
Pristine has been in the business of training candidates for the past four years, and during these years, we have come to realize that there is a requirement of a system which can not only provide course materials to our students but also provide an assessment platform for them. A lot of the premier educational institutes also have similar requirements. This is where the need of a educational content management system (CMS) is felt … a learning management system (LMS). The open source movement has created one such popular package and that is Moodle. Moodle is an open source learning management system which our students can use to access courseware, give practice tests, discuss doubts and give the mock exams.
We are with some stellar company, among institutes using Moodle, there are some famous names such as IIT-B, IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C have been successfully using Moodle for more than a decade now. As a training provider for CFA, we also use Moodle to provide courseware and quizzes to our candidates.
For the past three years we were using Moodle 1.9 … a system which has now become archaic. The system works, yes … but over a period of time we have been studying the usage patterns and somewhere in the busy work schedule of our students, using Moodle only becomes a priority during the final weeks of the examination.
In our quest to upgrade our systems, I was looking at different options such as Dokeos, Sakai, even Wordpress and finally decided to settle with a known beast … albeit a higher version … Moodle 2.2! The good part of any open source package is that it’s generally free of cost and open to customizations … the bad part is that well … there’s almost no documentation and virtually no support. You have to figure most of the stuff by yourself and use forums to get past your stumbling blocks, and this takes time.
Having said that, I was pretty happy with the latest Moodle, here are my findings -
- The system has gone more and more object oriented. If you wish to change any behaviour in the core modules, simply extend and over-ride!
- Reporting has substantially improved
- Theming has become more complex, but once you go through the steep learning curve then you should do fine
- The core modules are MVC based, so although it is not suggested, you can jump into their codes and alter away!
- The documentation is virtually absent, the wiki is a mix of versions 1.9, 2.0, 2.2 and 2.3
- Quizzing modules have been substantially improved
- Course progress and objectives tracking has been implemented
- Adaptive quizzes have been implemented, however I have yet to test these
- Question randomizations are there ensuring that the quizzes students give are random every time
We are currently tweaking this system to suit our needs and once rolled out, I will post on how you can enroll in the first course for free! Stay tuned for more updates.
About the Author
Prasad 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.
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