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As I shared yesterday, I hope to feature a few Moodle book reviews this week. In fact, these may be the last of my book reviews for Packt Publishing since I may have worked my way through all their Moodle books!
This particular title--Moodle 2.0 for Business--caught my eye because I recently had the opportunity to interact with, not one but TWO, businesses using Moodle. They essentially emailed me and asked, "How can you help us?" To be honest, I hadn't given much thought to providing assistance except to provide answers to questions they had. What was different about that experience is that they wanted to pay me (one actually did!) for that expertise. It was a novel experience for me, since I am eager to share most of what I know at no charge...I often just charge for my time, not the knowledge-sharing.
When I saw this title, I realized what a great opportunity it presents to business owners who want to take advantage of Moodle. This isn't the first time I have considered Moodle in the business arena, but it is the first time I've seen a book on the subject!
Using Moodle to make money? To run a business?It's a use for Moodle I hadn't imagined--which is what makes Moodle usage so intriguing for me, since I'm always running into fresh ideas for using this free, open source course management system--and reminded me of Gary Stager's quote, “The blame lies within the bankruptcy of our imaginations.” (Read More)
OVERVIEW and REFLECTIONS
As I read this book, and I reflect on my main take-aways, two thoughts come to mind:
- Great organization and use of case studies to illustrate the use of Moodle tools.
- Wow, school districts need to read this book and take its lessons to heart, especially in the Human Resources Department area!
This book does a wonderful job of providing real life examples that illustrate the use of tough Moodle concepts (e.g. grouping, Mahara ePortfolios, repositiories) and the expertise of the authors really comes through. You get the experience of using Moodle through solving problems. This has to rank as one of the best books I've read on Moodle since I started reviewing them!
Yet, a part of me also questions whether novice Moodlers--for whom the book is advertised for--will be able to grasp the "Gestalt" of Moodle as a tool to solve problems and issues. That said, the authors do a great job of making Moodle use fit to solve real problems.
MOODLE 2.0 FOR BUSINESS TAKE-AWAYS
Here are some of my take-aways from Moodle 2.0 for Business...some may be direct quotes that caught my eye or my comments. Either way, they are brief and I encourage you to read the book for more context:
- About the authors:
- Jason Cole: Anyone who has played around with Moodle will recognize the name of one of the authors, Jason Cole. He wrote one of the first books (the first book) I read on Moodle and is now the Chief Operating Officer for Remote-Learner, US, an official Moodle partner.
- Jeanne Cole: Although I haven't read any of Jeanne's work, she is a Senior Project Manager for Remote-Learner.
- Gavin Henrick: Moodle Consultant and blogger at http://www.somerandomthoughts.com. Come to think of it, he's in my PLN! Find him on Google+ here. Wow!
- "Many corporations have found they can save money and provide critical training services with Moodle. According to the eLearning Guild 2008 Learning Management System survey, Moodle's initial cost to acquire, install, and customize was $16.77 per learner. The initial cost per learner for SAP was $274.36, while Saba was $79.20, and Blackboard $39.06. "
- "What's sold to customers better than saying 'We can save you money' is to show them how we can give you more functionality within your budget." (Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Redhat)
- According to the eLearning Guild LMS survey, "Moodle went from a 6.8% corporate LMS market share in 2007 to a 19.8 market share in 2008."
- A lot of time is spent on installing Moodle, customizing, adding a forum.
- I like the discussion of an implementation framework...ADIME. The questions in the Align section are right on target, as are the others. But the Align questions jumped out at me more. In case you haven't heard of ADIME (not that I have either), here's the broad strokes:
- Align - explore potential organizational impacts of your Moodle initiative
- Develop - develop the solution to meet the objectives outlined in the Align phase
- Implement - roll out your solution to your intended audience
- Measure - measure if the solution is valid and how audience is doing within the context of the solution.
- Evaluate - measure the impact of the solution on the organization and the goals set out.
- A case study is presented that walks you through ADIME in the form of questions and answers:
- What was the business problem(s) for which Moodle was chosen as the solution?
- What was the solution and how did they arrive at the solution?
- Why did they choose Moodle?
- Was the project a success?
- What were the benefits gained?
- What lessons were learned?
- Do you have any advice for future businesses who plan to implement Moodle?
- Chapter 2 - Moodle in Hiring and Interviewing
- Wow, who knew you could use Moodle to facilitate the hiring process? Use it to receive resumes and applications, evaluate them, administer competency tests, schedule interviews, and collect reactions from multiple interviewers.
- This walks you through the how-to of using Moodle Assignments to collect resumes.
- As I read this, I'm wondering how many school districts could use this approach instead of some expensive system (e.g. Winocular).
- Phenomenal chapter on using Moodle and walking people through the process of setting it up for hiring and interviewing.
- Case study provided matches the questions outlined in Chapter 1 but really makes things understandable. Kudos to the authors! I love the ideas expressed in this chapter!
- A great quote that summarizes the chapter's approach: "We used Moodle in a way that it had never been used before. We came at Moodle from a different angle and harnessed its unique functionality to meet our requirements. Release the potential; throw away the box!"
- Chapter 3 - Rollout Products and Services with Moodle
- "Before you set up a course it is important to know what the goals of the training are; that is, what are the learning objectives for each part of the course. Traditionally this has been done for face to face with a curriculum structure of a Scheme of Work. This becomes the map which you configure your online course with."
Make a 2-column table then fill it out:
- Module Name
- Module Level
- Requirements and Assumptions
- Technical Requirements
- Required Outcomes
- Lesson details (Make a 2-column table then fill it out):
- Lesson number
- Lesson name
- Lesson objectives
- Lesson activities
- Trainer/Facilitator Guidelines
- Discussion of course settings, glossary, Mahara ePortfolio setting
- Chapter 4 - Moodle for Managing Compliance Training
- Use of a case study approach to guide lesson design. They are actually showing one how to use the Lesson Activity! Great stuff!
- Use of Groups and Groupings to manage employees going through training. Yet another tough subject made easy!
- Enrollment keys.
- Completion tracking
- Another case study that wraps it up.
- Chapter 5 - CPD and Competency Tracking with Moodle
- "Outcomes are specific descriptions of what a student is expected to be able to do or understand at the completion of an activity or course."
- Use of Mahara
- Sample course outline online at http://www.moodleforbusiness.com/
- Adding outcomes in bulk via CSV import
- Case Study that had this great diagram:
- Chapter 6 - Communities of Practice in Moodle
- Communities of practice are "groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in the area by interacting on an on-going basis".
- Use of a wiki
- Collaborative glossary
- Creating Community Moderators
- Using RSS feeds to improve communication in forums and blocks
- Chapter 7 - Web Conferencing with Moodle
- Adobe Connect Pro in Moodle
- Big Blue Button with Moodle
- Chapter 8 - Integrating Moodle with Other Systems
The repository system of Moodle 2 allows you to store and manipulate content outside of Moodle and easily add it to courses. By managing content outside of Moodle, you can provide users with a more robust editing experience.
- Using Alfresco content repository
- Using Moodle with GoogleDocs
- Using Moodle with Mahara
- Chapter 9 - Integrating Moodle into Enterprise
- Everything you wanted to know about authentication modules (e.g. LDAP, etc.)
- Enrollment flat files (CSV)...good for importing users.