When (not) to use Moodle or LearningStone
In the past half year, while we were working towards going live, we often got the question why not use Moodle for professional training. Some of our first clients actually used Moodle in the past and have chosen LearningStone. You probably want to know why.
If you need to upload scorm objects (e-learning packages) and track performance data, Moodle is a great platform. If you need to build custom modules, custom integrations, want to be able to change the HTML, if you want to host it yourself, use it as a student administration or do grading: you should go with Moodle. If you need an e-learning environment (so everything is virtual), then go with Moodle.
If you need a nearly instant way to combine communication, learning material and integration with external media and don’t want to do the development yourself, LearningStone is a better choice. If you need to be up and running without talking about: hosting, versions, databases, domain registration etc, use LearningStone. If you are a face-to-face trainer and your primary need is to support the training you are providing with easy to use digital tools, go for LearningStone.
Moodle is open source and totally free. At LearningStone we also use and contribute to open source projects so that’s a good thing. But fact is: open source only means that the application is free, not the use of it. Installing and maintaining a system like Moodle might be easy if you’re into server software but to get it working perfectly is complicated. In some cases when you’re serious about it, it becomes really hard. This doesn’t always matter: if you have an ICT department and some basic server infrastructure, it’s really doable and then the other advantages of Moodle might outweigh the operational costs.
If you love hosting…
A big difference between Moodle and LearningStone is that Moodle needs hosting and LearningStone is a so called cloud application (the hosting is part of the service and all things like backups are taken care of). If you do want to host Moodle, have a look for specialized hosters but make sure they can help you with versions of PHP and MySQL as well. Our focus at LearningStone has been to take all those subjects off the table and let a training professional focus on getting started with a course.
Are you a multinational?
Our experience with Moodle in the corporate learning arena is that it works for large organizations (Colleges, schools included) and multinationals centralizing their learning. This makes it worthwhile to invest time in Moodle. But many training agencies don’t have the focus to work on such a long project and will benefit from a cloud based system like LearningStone that offers what they need right away.
More about Moodle: www.moodle.org
More on LearningStone: www.learningstone.com