Organizations that invest in a learning management system, or LMS, have a powerful tool at their disposal. These systems, like Moodle, are flexible and configurable. However, having a system that can be customized to meet a company’s needs comes with challenges. These systems require knowledgeable resources to maintain, secure, and enhance the application to get the most value from it.
Reinforce Your LMS with Plug-Ins
Moodle offers customization options through the use of plug-ins, adding functionality to both the administration of the systems and enhancing the user experience.
There are two types of plug-ins – third party and custom-built.
Third-party plug-ins are additions for Moodle that are commercially available. These commoditized additions add features and functionality that many organizations find useful. Some of the more popular third-party plug-ins are:
- ELIS – this plug-ing provides, business intelligence, data mining, learning management, and content management capabilities and administrative functions
- BLOCK_COURSE_MODULENAVIGATION – Acting like a table of contents, this plug-in shows the user a summary of the course with section names and a list of activities
- BLOCK_CONFIGURABLE_REPORTS – This allows you to build customer reports
- QUIZACCESS_REATTEMPTCHECKER – This module prevents students from re-taking a quiz that they have already passed
- MOD_CERTIFICATE – This plug-in allows instructors to create custom certificates based on a number of criteria
- MOD_QUESTIONNAIRE – Create custom surveys with this plug-in
Some plug-ins are a breeze to install. Others need some configuration and knowledge to ensure they do not disrupt the working of the existing system or open security holes in your system.
You may find, however, that there are no third-party plug-ins that meet your exact needs. With Moodle’s open model, custom-built plug-ins can be developed to create the exact functionality you need for your LMS instance.
Simplifying the Maintenance of Moodle
Applications need regular attention. Whether that maintenance is related to bugs, upgrades for new features, or security hotfixes, it’s critical to keep your system up to date.
Because of the customizable and open nature of Moodle, it is important that the application receive regular updates as they are released to prevent performance problems, bugs, and other issues.
As additional features are added through plug-ins and configuration, upgrades can be tricky. An incompatible plug-in can cause issues that take considerable time to track down and fix.
Bugs – whether the result of an upgrade or because of a newly found problem – can be challenging to find in a system like Moodle, because no two implementations look the same. Although having a system that can be customized to your exact specifications is desirable, identifying the exact source of a bug can be time consuming.
Upgrades and hotfixes are also important for when security issues are found. Regular upgrades increase performance and add new features, while both upgrades and hotfixes ensure your implementation runs securely and optimally.
Maintaining your Moddle application does not have to be so complicated. A simple monthly/quarterly maintenance package can ensure you keep your application secure, efficient, and up to date.
Streamlining Access to Moodle with Integrations
A benefit of modern technical architecture is the ability to connect multiple systems with different functions, allowing them to share data. For instance, you may want to share course access and performance data with an HR system to track who has completed required modules of a class, eliminating the need for HR to log into multiple systems to see the data.
Another common integration is single sign-on, or SSO. With SSO, Moodle users who have logins to other systems within the organization can access their courses by just logging into the system they normally use in the course of their day. Because this is an integration that involves the security of an organization’s account access, it should be developed with protection of the organization’s assets in mind.
Gaining the greatest value from your Moodle requires regular maintenance, while enhancing the system with plug-ins and integrations result in better user experience and a more secure implementation. Contact SunNet for a free consultation to find out how our Moodle experts can help you maintain and improve your system.
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