Articulate and Moodle - made to be together?
Shaping the future of learning
Kineo has been stirring things up State-side recently. To mark the start up of Kineo US, we ran a series of well-attended seminars in Boston and Chicago. We had over 100 people join us at the seminars, and though it would be nice to think everyone was there to wish us well in our new venture but really they were there to learn more about Articulate and Moodle, the twin themes of the seminars.
Kineo has been using these tools for learning successfully for some time now. So, not surprisingly we had a lot to say and, better still, many of our participants did too.
What emerged from the sessions was a clear vision for a low cost yet really attractive learning environment for corporate learning. In the search for more for less, both can play a crucial part. Here we catch you up on the trends we’ve seen at the seminars and elsewhere, and share some ideas for how to join up Moodle and Articulate to hit the e-learning sweet spot.
Money’s too tight to mention
The first theme that came through loud and clear in the seminars (as if anyone needed to confirm it) is that we need some radical low cost solutions in the training world. We talked people through a recent ASTD survey, which showed that:
- Over 50% of training managers are being asked to do more with less
- 49% of organisations have reduced training travel costs
- 28% have moved classroom courses to online courses
- 34% have frozen recruitment in training departments
- 13% have made training staff redundant
These trends have created a real thirst for elearning – but elearning on a tighter budget than ever.
As elearning takes more of a centre stage in challenging times like these, it has to tick a number of boxes. It replaces travel (TICK), it reaches people at much less cost (TICK), it is much easier to track (TICK), it engages and delivers effective learning (ahh... now that is the challenge if money is tight).
Rapid elearning tools have promised low cost solutions – because they are easy to use. But too often there has been little value to the end result. Even if you have exciting elearning it is too often hosted within bulky labyrinthine hugely expensive LMSs which bore the pants of anyone who comes across them for the first time. And all that time spent looking for content – well, that’s the sound of more productive time (and life) being sucked out of the organisation.
There’s another way
What if you can have content which is on par with more traditionally expensive custom-build alternatives and launched from a learning management system that can look exactly how you want it. What if the learner doesn’t realise they have moved from the LMs to the elearning and vice versa?
And all of this for budgets that any CFO would be happy about?
When we asked those questions in our seminars, you could feel the whole room lean forward. Yes, Kineo, what if indeed…now show us. And we did.
Adding style and sizzle to Articulate
Let’s look at Articulate first. Out of the box, it was agreed by all participants that it was ideal for them as an entry-level tool. It represented an easy entry point for many of the attendees. It’s easy to pick up and a tool that most people can get their heads around – PowerPoint. There was quite a user group for Articulate already in the seminars, which is encouraging – some people clearly doing the right thing.
For many though, the challenge was that it was hard to make Articulate programmes look like custom-made solutions and this is what they needed to do to get real buy-in from stakeholders and learners. Nobody wants to produce poor-quality stuff rapidly – that solves no problems.
So how do you raise the game? At Kineo, we have worked hard to resolve this with our flash-based skins which are added automatically at publishing to provide a seamless, highly brand-able look and feel to the finished programme. See the example below.
So, that’s the first part of the equation dealt with – relatively low cost but good looking e-learning. Of course, you need learning design abilities –that’s a non-negotiatible. With this approach to Articulate, you can ensure your look and feel lives up to your great learning design approaches.
That’s all good stuff, they told us, but how are we going to host, launch and track it, without going bust in the process? Glad you asked, we said (we thought this might come up). Let’s talk about Moodle.
Moodle is fast becoming everyone’s favourite LMS. With hundreds of thousands of users all paying no licence costs. It’s not surprising it’s no longer just in the education space – far from it. 18% of corporates in the US already use it, and that figure is going to keep rising as more people wake up to the fact that old school proprietary commercial LMS approaches cannot justify their fees.
It is still seen by some (who maybe feel there is no such thing as a free lunch) as a rather basic LMS great for academia but not ready for the Corporate Enterprise solutions. This just ain’t the case. We at Kineo are managing one Moodle LMS for a UK government department with 80,000 users. If it works at that level, you know it works.
What really makes Moodle exciting (and it excited almost everyone at the recent US seminars) is the fact that being Open Source you can easily play with the code or add your own interfaces. You can’t do that with someone else’s propriety LMS – unless you pay them a lot for the privilege.
We’ve been doing a lot of this customization for clients. It costs very little to build flash front ends that take Moodle to another level visually. What’s crucial is you can make it look just like your elearning. For one client, they couldn’t work out what was their own website and what was their newly created Moodle. Branding can be seamless. The learner experience can be seamless with single sign on.
Add in custom reporting and a whole range of features that are rapidly being added to Moodle by us and of course the whole open source community, and you have something that is getting to look very like a Corporate LMS offering that threatens the established thinking about learning infrastructures in large organisations.
The marriage made in heaven?
If Moodle is easy to get going and immensely flexible in how it can be used. It gets even better, if you already are a committed Articulate user. This is because the two tools work seamlessly together out of the box. Now that is seldom something you heard said of an LMS and authoring tool combo.
Many who came to the seminars were committed to one or the other of these tools from the outset, but had questions about whether they can really form the building blocks of an elearning strategy.
It was clear at the end that many saw Moodle as a serious solution to their needs and Articulate as a very valuable development tool they could turn to. We’re already in discussions with many attendees at the seminars to help them with Articulate and Moodle. In short: worth the trip for everyone.