Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moodle Pros and Cons Update

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming arrival of Moodle 2.0, I thought it might be a good time to revisit what we love and hate about Moodle 1.9.  In a previous post, "Moodle Pros and Cons" I set out on a mission to build a robust list of Moodle Pros and Cons that would be a great resource to someone researching whether Moodle would fit their needs.  I thought a list created on my own would not be nearly as useful as a list created with the help of fellow moodlers who come from different perspectives so I created a wiki page and posted a call for help compiling the ultimate Pros and Cons list.  While the response wasn't enormous there were some great pros and cons added to the list from Joseph Thibault and other fellow Moodlers.  Now that we are getting ready to say goodbye to Moodle 1.9, I thought it would be a good time to post the updated pros and cons list and send out another call for help adding more pros and cons to the list.  If you have any contributions please click on the link below to add your thoughts to the Moodle pros and cons wiki page. 
Moodle BenefitsMoodle Drawbacks
Open Source - Free to download and lots of great plugins to customize to your needs. - Joe DeeganReporting - There is no simple way to run a site wide report with users grades in multiple courses. You are stuck going into each course site to view one courses grades at a time or using the overview report to view grades for one user at a time. - Joe Deegan
Great Community - There is a great community of Moodlers more than willing to help you solve any problems you may come across. - Joe DeeganUser management - No easy way to manage groups of students. It would be much easier if there was a way to manage groups site wide rather than on a course by course basis. I need to use groups for position and region which requires a lot of maintenance of the groups in each course site. - Joe Deegan
Customizable - There is a huge selection of plugins and add ons freely available to help you customize Moodle to your needs. - Joe DeeganTakes a little tech savvy - Not just any trainer or teacher can download Moodle and be up and running with a quality LMS. It takes a little tech savvy and access to IT Dept resources to implement. - Joe Deegan
Widely Available - Most low cost hosting solutions on the web will install Moodle for you at no cost through simple scripts or an easy to use interface (which makes starting up much easier than having to know/install php, etc.) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )Closed - if you're looking to create an open repository of information that anyone can browse and engage, Moodle is not necessarily the best tool. You can "open" your Moodle, but most installations require registration, and even more courses require course passwords (enrolment keys) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )
Actually, it is possible to set up a Moodle site so that anyone can read without registering and without login. And anyone can edit via self registering.
Sell content - one of the less talked about benefits is that for small businesses, Moodle offers a fully capable course delivery and sales platform. Just plugin your paypal email address and list prices. Though users will have to register before being able to make a purchase (which might be viewed as a drawback) - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )the admin side is not very user friendly. many info on the web but its not that easy getting used to the Moodle logic as admin, especially as the whole thing is strictly course oriented (as pointed above). also the "helps" are rather brief and hardly offer help for a begginer.
but generally i do like moodle. guess im just a cons kind a guy...
Familiar - During workshops I like to put teachers at ease by letting them know if they've filled out an online application or form, they can master Moodle. All activities and resources are driven by similar form templates (title, description, etc.), if teachers can look past the fact that there are a lot of choices, working with Moodle to build content is easy - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC )The Real Cost - Upside Learning wrote a good post highlighting some important factors to take into consideration before implementing Moodle. While Moodle is free to download but in reality the costs can add up if you go with a "Do it yourself" approach. - Joe Deegan
Content - Moodle's backup and restore functions are two of my favorites. The shear number of sites and courses on the web is HUGE...so if you're willing to do a little research/searching odds are you can find a pre-constructed course that the author is willing to share with you. Check out sites like Moodlecommons.org and Moodle.org 's course exchange for free resources - Joseph Thibault (MM - GC

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3 comments:

Dan said...

Joe

Two negatives I'm afraid:

Discrete content
Maybe I'm missing a trick, but if you want to use the same activity in a couple of courses, particularly a SCORM package, but the same might be said of Books and other additions, it appears necessary to add it separately in each instance. Makes updates awkward.

Usability
Compared to alternative CMSs such as WordPress, Moodle's a pig. Yes you can learn, but it's not nearly as intuitive as other systems. I'm really not a fan of the administrative environment being the same as the user environment, but I guess any alternative is difficult to arrange with so many levels of user (as opposed to a simple author/reader distinction).

Ralf Hilgenstock said...

@Dan
You can define an external place for SCORM package updates in 1.9. That may help.

@Joe. There is a sitewide overview about a users grades in the gradebook available in 1.9.
Sitewide groups are on the roadmap for 2.0. They are called cohorts.

EJ said...

With open source applications, you can expect drawbacks and lack of features. I guess what we look for in a paid corporate learning solutions is the reliability, customer support and comprehensive features.