We know you’re new at this!
We know it is sometimes hard to understand “tech-speak”, so here are some (hopefully) simple answers to some common questions about Moodle, our role in Moodle e-Learning development, and how Moodle will work with your business.
What is Moodle? Moodle is software that was designed to create online training (e-Learning). Moodle has built-in features that promote learning, such as peer interaction forums, glossaries, quizzes, online meetings and many other ways in which students and teachers can interact with each other. Moodle is a full-featured Learning Management System (LMS), built on strong pedagogical principles.
How is Moodle better than anything else? Well, we’re partial to Moodle, but studies of university students have shown that Moodle is well-received, as compared to other applications. Moodle is designed for learning, where many LMS are designed for tracking. It all depends on what your training objectives are. We like to teach, not count heads, so we use Moodle.
If Moodle is free, why do I have to pay you? Moodle, the software is “open source”, meaning that it is not only free of charge, but that the source code can be changed to suit the users needs. While this sounds cool, it doesn’t mean that it is easy to rewrite code! A group of people, known as Moodle Partners and “Moodlers”, do this for fun, and for a living. They will do it for you, for a fee. Albany Analytical does not rewrite Moodle code, but we are highly proficient at creating Moodle courses. Our core expertise is instructional design and we have found that Moodle supports our blended learning approach. We design, create, upload, and maintain content such as flash animations, graphics, stories, external links, examples, activities, audio, video…all those pieces that make a Moodle course fun and interesting.
What does Albany Analytical have to do with Moodle? Albany Analytical began using Moodle in 2005 (after a year of searching for the right LMS). At that time, it was our objective to create a complete online curriculum of our existing training material in Six Sigma, Quality, Lean, and Data Analysis tools and methods. We climbed the “learning curve” and soon had gained a reputation for creating “clean, interesting, and well-formatted” Moodle pages. As inquiries came to us regarding Moodle, we decided to expand our business to include Moodle content development. This fits in perfectly with our original business because Moodle is a high-quality method to provide excellent learning opportunities to a wide variety of people. We create the content, design your site layout (what pages and features to include and where to put them), and upload it. We help you get started, so that you don’t have to climb that learning curve…you won’t have to plunge to the ground several times the way we did!
What’s the difference between creating my course and teaching me how to use Moodle? Why won’t you show me how to do it? Well, if you hire a bookkeeper, she might use QuickBooks Online®. You hired her to keep your books, not to train you in how to be a bookkeeper. If you hire a graphic artist to design your logo, he most likely will use Adobe Illustrator®. He’s going to give you some artwork to choose from, but he isn’t going to train you in how to use Illustrator®. Hardly anyone hires a typist any more because word processing software is pretty easy to use. QuickBooks®, Illustrator®, and Moodle are easy to do something in, but they are not easy to master. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do it yourself or focus your energies elsewhere.
What makes Moodle a good Learning Management System (LMS)? Moodle is highly stable (it doesn’t lock up your computer if you press the wrong key), popular (lots of people use it and have contributed ideas to make it better), and it was designed for learning. Unlike those ghastly CD-ROMs of a lecturing Professor Boring of yesteryear, Moodle promotes the exchange of information. Students are not expected to “sit there and listen”. Discussion (albeit electronic) is encouraged. Moodle facilitates this communication; Moodle was designed with a social constructivist approach. While Moodle provides grades and reports on student activities, it is not merely a database of “checkmarks”; too much training (in person or online) is focused on the number of people who completed the training instead of seeking to teach those people something! Moodle facilitates learning.
Does Moodle have a shopping cart? Since Moodle is a Learning Management System, not a lot of emphasis has been placed on ecommerce. However, if you have books or other materials that you sell as part of your training, you can include them as downloads in each course. You can also create “courses” that require payment to enter, and the only content is your material for download. If you have a large volume of book, DVD, etc. sales, you might consider opening up a store front on a third party seller, like Amazon.com. They do a great job at order fulfillment! There is also a Moodle plug-in, by Course Merchant, that has been recently developed. Their service is specifically designed to work with Moodle and is very reasonably priced. We will work with you to determine which of these methods is best for your business needs.
Why should I host my Moodle site with a Moodle host instead of the web host I already use? Moodle uses a lot more memory (RAM) than many other applications, because students are submitting answers, downloading files, accessing quizzes, and doing other things that load up a server, so you need to have a server that can handle it. Trust us; we tried a discounted host! Our Moodle site was so slow on a well-respected and reliable host server that it was practically unusable. We had no support (to install modules or adjust settings) and it was so slow, we couldn’t even up date a page!
What is a Moodle Partner? The Moodle Partners are a group of service companies guided by the core developers of Moodle. They provide a range of optional commercial services for Moodle users, including fully-serviced Moodle hosting, remote support contracts, custom code development and consulting.
How do I get started with Moodle? Contact us!
Please check out our BeeLearn.com Free Demos to see what we can do in Moodle!