Learning management systems are contributing to changing the way we view education and training. Once upon a time, education was looked upon by the majority as one of those necessities that was unfortunate due to being tedious and unpleasant, as well as difficult for many by design.
Requiring rigorous schedules requiring presence in classes and lectures (which are not productive environments for everyone), many people, especially adults already busy with their jobs, will let out an audible sigh when told that they have to endure training.
The digital age, bringing in ubiquitous internet connectivity and powerful, flexible learning management systems, is changing this. Now, with the mobile systems available to put computing and internet in your pocket anywhere, any time, along with the platform independence and power of SaaS, you can learn on your own schedule, from anywhere you like.
Teachers can digitally manage and design courses, track student progress, and work in new, unique teaching methods with digital materials and better, more engaging techniques. This has made these systems a billion dollar industry in a matter of a few years, meaning there are a lot of systems to choose from. Which one is the best? Well, for once in our SaaS reports, we’re going to buck the trends and give you an actual ranking of three of the big ones from best to not quite as good.
#1 – Moodle
Moodle, oh my gosh I love Moodle. This is the most comprehensive and easy to use LMS I have ever seen, and very few people who have used it as a student or teacher has said otherwise. With an extendibility system similar to Salesforce (as well as integration capabilities with it), compatibility with Wiki systems, integration of web video and files, dynamic tracking of student progress with customizable grading standards and a load of support and communications features bringing in social network functionality, a comprehensive BBS and chat system and much more, you really can’t go wrong with Moodle.
And, that’s just a truncated summary of what Moodle can do. We aren’t even scratching the surface of the extension systems available, or the power of onboard systems like WalkMe which have plugins based around Moodle. This is the best one, and very few people disagree. But, it’s pricy and learning to use it to its absolute fullest is a little bit of a commitment, so smaller operations may find something a little less powerful to be more practical for them. That said …
#2 – Wikispaces
Most people are very used to Wiki systems, thanks to Wikipedia and the endless communities built in Wikia. This means that putting someone in front of a Wiki, and asking them to learn with it, isn’t going to be asking them to do something they’re not already somewhat used to.
Wikis do have a good, comprehensive design for information access and research, and their interfaces are quite easy to work with from the end of content creation and teaching. While Moodle has a fully fleshed out Wiki system built in, if all you want is a secure, training-oriented Wiki system by itself, Wikispaces is exactly that. There’s not much more to say.
#3 – Edmodo
Some would argue for Edmodo being higher up than Wikispaces, but this is my list so deal with it. It’s designed to provide similar functionality to Moodle, but with a cosmetic and procedural design to reflect Facebook. I don’t like Facebook. Of the social networks out there, I love quite a few, such as Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit. I don’t like Facebook, it’s over-engineered and kind of directionless.
This same kind of directionless over-engineering is reflected by Edmodo pretty much one for one, so it drives me just as nutter in that aspect. However, given how accustomed to Facebook a lot of people are (I am an exception not a rule), this is a good way to harness some of Moodle’s diversity in a familiar shape. But, it’s certainly not Moodle, it lacks the extendibility and feature count. And again, while its mimicry of Facebook brings in familiarity, it also brings in the mess that makes me and some others not like Facebook.
Learning management systems are extremely useful, and they are revolutionizing the way we see training. Moodle is the best thing going, but as you can see, you do have options.