A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content. An LMS, based on the focus can also be called as e-Learning software, Virtual learning environment (VLE), Course management system (CMS), learning delivery platform, course delivery systems etc.
A virtual learning environment (VLE) is also a prominent term which stands out. It is an education system based on the Web, that models conventional real-world education by integrating a set of equivalent virtual concepts for tests, homework, classes, classrooms and perhaps even museums and other external academic resources. It normally uses Web 2.0 tools for 2-way interaction, and includes a content management system.
LMS is a software for planning, delivering, and managing learning events within an organization, including online, virtual classroom, and instructor-led courses. For example, an LMS can simplify global certification efforts, enable entities to align learning initiatives with strategic goals, and provide a means of enterprise-level skills management. The focus of an LMS is to manage students, keeping track of their progress and performance across all types of training activities. It performs administrative tasks, such as reporting to instructors, HR and other ERP systems but it is not used to create course content.
In this article we shall be reviewing the following open source LMS/e-Learning software.
Moodle (abbreviation for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a free source e-learning software platform, also known as a Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of December 2011 it had a user base of 72,177 registered and verified sites, serving 57,112,669 users in 5.8 million courses
Moodle is used to host online/offline classes. It can also be used in various other aspects of business, besides classroom delivery platform
- Hiring and Interviewing
- Roll-out Products and Services
- Managing Compliance Training
- Competency Tracking
- Create and maintain collaborated knowledge base
- Inter organization discussion forum,
- Web Conferencing
- Running workshop
- Getting employee feedback
Moodles modular design allows hosting various different types of activities and resources.
Moodle supports various different learning delivery formats and can be integrated with platform both in software and application layer.
In this article we shall try to give an overview of the feature and capability list of Moodle. This article can also be used as a reference/list of modules for activities, resources, block design and reports supported by Moodle right out of the box, with a brief description of that module.
An organization needs to maintain a repository of information. This includes common knowledge or business specific information such as white papers, user manuals, policy document, knowledge tags, or answers to frequently asked questions. A general purpose document management system can fill the void, however a single purpose knowledge base system will be a far better fit.
A knowledge base provides a means for information to be collected, organized, shared, searched and utilized. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_base)
Contents stored in a knowledge base are usually HTML; they can also be accompanied in various other formats for document and used
We can imagine a knowledge base build on articles, white papers, troubleshooting information, FAQs, manuals, policy and procedures. Following could be some of the attribute of a knowledge base.
There are various application platform that can be used as a knowledge base
Following are some of them:
Media Wiki http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/MediaWiki
As we decided to investigate more, media wiki was one of our obvious choices but once we tried out phpMyFAQ, we found it to be interesting and easy to use. phpMyFAQ looked like a great choice. It has all features you can ask of a knowledge base.
Details on phpMyFAQ
- Content management system: - You can administrate your users, groups, news, categories, FAQ records, attachments, comments, glossary items, stop words in the password protected administration backend.
- Categories and tags: - You can create unlimited categories and subcategories for your FAQs. Your users can browse through the categories. You can tag all records and an automatically generated tag cloud helps your users, too.
- Powerful Search: – Your users can easily find questions and answers using the search feature with search in all languages or in one category. Using the Instant Response frontend your users will find questions and answers while they are typing like in Google Suggest! You’ll also get a list of the most popular searches and you get a graphical report about the search in the administration backend.
- FAQ Statistics: - Analyze the way of your users through your FAQ with the built-in user tracking; analyze the quality of your records with the statistics of the user voting and the number of views on each record. You can also download an extended reporting sheet as CSV download.
- Most popular and sticky faq’s:- The start page of the public area shows an automatically created list with the most popular records and of the latest FAQ entries. You can also define “sticky” FAQs which always appear on the main FAQ page. The sticky FAQs are also the first ones in the category FAQ lists. The most popular and the latest FAQs are also available as RSS feeds.
- Question answers with Attachments
- Revisions: - Store the old entries in wiki-like revisions, so you can switch back to old versions of the FAQ entry.
- User comments: - Get more feedback by your users and visitors, by allowing them to comment on your questions and answers.
- Community modules:- All users can write questions to the system, so that other user can answer these questions. They can also answer these open questions or add translations for existing FAQ records. All these user-generated entries have to be enabled by the administrators.
- Easy to use HTML editor:- Add your FAQ entries using the integrated WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor based on TinyMCE and create rich text, links, lists directly through your web browser. Your links will also be automatically verified during saving your new FAQ record. The Ajax-powered Image Manager provides a web interface to browse for image files (JPEG, PNG, GIF, and others) on the web server.
- User and group permissions:- You can assign permissions to users and groups, you can create users and user groups with permissions and category and even record restrictions for viewing and creating/editing content. It’s even possible to secure the whole FAQ frontend.
- LDAP/AD support: Add your company’s OpenLDAP based user management into the system for authentication or just secure your whole FAQ by using HTTP authentication. System also supports LDAP-data mapping, e.g. against an Active Directory Server, including multi-domain-authentication, e.g. against an ADS-Global Catalog
- Various database system support:- MySQL (libmysql and mysqlnd), PostgreSQL, SQLite, Sybase, MS SQL Server, IBM DB2, IBM Cloudscape, Apache Derby
- Export: FAQ can be export as PDF, printed or emailed from the same screen.
- Advanced spam control: - System uses captcha’s, bad word lists and IPv4 and IPv6 ban lists to prevent spam.
Integration aspects (with systems and policy)
This boils down to, phpMyFAQ, a knowledge base system which can be use used in various environment. For example knowledge base for a software, service, business process, educational institute or for a business.
Special thanks to Vikram for helping me out with the research work with testing and a demo implementation for the review of phpMyFAQ