On a recent phone call with a prospective client who was evaluating Learning Management Systems, the individual commented that she “has never heard anything positive about Moodle.” Although the boldness of that statement was surprising, the sentiment unfortunately was not…
When speaking with prospective clients we frequently find that one of the most common objections to Moodle is usually due to past experiences with poorly implemented Moodle sites. At eThink, we like to call this the ‘sins of Moodle past.’
Most commonly, any objection to Moodle stems from having been exposed to a poor implementation of Moodle or hearing about such an experience secondhand. Although poor software implementations are hardly unique to Moodle, what IS unique is the wide range of reasons to explain a poor Moodle implementation, owing to the fact that Moodle is open-source and freely available – which yes, is one of the great strengths of the product, but this also facilitates and even promotes the ability to implement it poorly. Now, let me explain…
Lack of Appropriate Self-Hosting Resources
It is very common for prospective clients who are self-hosting Moodle to share that the reason they adopted Moodle in the first place was because it’s a free software. While Moodle is indeed free, we like to say that it is ‘free like a puppy’ in the sense that you still need to invest time and resources in taking care of the puppy (or the Moodle site).
Too often, however, organizations that self-host Moodle are under-resourced, understaffed and otherwise lacking in the time and expertise necessary to optimize Moodle. In many cases, even keeping it upgraded and secure can be a hassle for too small of a team… And when that is the case, these teams usually don’t have the bandwidth or expertise to optimize their site with Moodle’s user-friendly and visually appealing themes, tight integration with other systems, or thoughtful site and course organization. This lack of appropriate IT resources leads to poor user experiences and to objections about Moodle as a platform… Thus, this sin of Moodle past becomes an obstacle to overcome.
Previous Sting of a Lackluster Moodle Vendor
Self-hosting is not the only source of a poor Moodle implementation, however. There are also countless vendors across the globe that provide various types of services for Moodle. Some are Certified Moodle Partners (like eThink) and some are not.
Unfortunately, we also hear many stories from prospective clients who have been dissatisfied with their previous Moodle vendor, which taints the entire Moodle experience and sometimes (incorrectly) causes users to attribute issues to the Moodle platform itself.
Moodle Customization Gone Wrong
We also encounter prospective clients who have gone the route of customizing Moodle to meet specific requirements they might have. Since the Moodle code is open, the ability to customize the platform is one of the things that attracts organizations to Moodle. Too often, however, we find that organizations that have extensively customized Moodle become stuck and unable to upgrade, which not only creates security vulnerabilities but prohibits them from enjoying new product functionality in future releases down the road.
In this case, it sometimes seems easier to simply move away from Moodle altogether. However, all it takes is the right Moodle provider to help you keep your Moodle site secure, current, and optimized for continuous improvement.
Overcoming the Sins of Moodle Past & Highlighting the True Nature of Moodle
These sins of Moodle past can manifest themselves as preconceived notions about what Moodle is and what the platform can or can’t accomplish, which can cause some Moodle users to move away from Moodle and others not to consider Moodle at all. To overcome these ‘sins,’ it’s our job at eThink to show prospective clients the nearly endless possibilities available with Moodle.
We show them user-friendly themes, robust mobile functionality, the ability for tight integrations, and the extensive reporting capabilities that Moodle can provide. We listen to what prospective clients need and what they want to accomplish and we illustrate the many ways that Moodle can get them there.
With the best team of Moodle experts in North America, eThink offers the most exceptional customer service available in the LMS industry. Moodle provides the tools. We provide the expertise and world-class support that helps our clients overcome any reservations due to sins of Moodle past to make and keep them happy Moodlers!