Moodle: OSS Online Learning Platform Brings Biz Opportunities
Having had much involvement myself with delivering e-seminars online, I've come to closely track the fast-growing world of online learning (e-learning). It's becoming a huge business, with big publishing companies such as CNet offering free online courses, and top universities such as U.C. Berkeley offering free webcasts and podcasts to the public. The United States is the single largest e-learning market worldwide with revenues exceeding $17.5 billion in 2007, according to a report from Global Industry Analysts. Did you know that one of the biggest players in software and platforms for e-learning is a free, open source offering? If not, meet Moodle.
Moodle is a course management system (CMS) that leverages developers from all around the world and has a user community of over 330,000 registered people. Educators and businesses interested in providing e-learning coursework can use it deliver courses, downloadable materials, and thriving online learning communities. Over 40,000 web sites use Moodle for e-learning purposes.
In addition to many resources on Moodle's site, HowtoMoodle.com is an excellent resource for people who would like to deliver online courses. It includes manuals you can access, workshops you can attend for learning Moodle and more. Next week, a HowtoMoodle expert will be exhibiting at the big HRD (Human Resource Development) annual showcase at ExCel in London. It attracts visitors from 70 countries. You can also find other Moodle resources at OneVLE. The book Using Moodle, seen at left is also a popular resource for people just dipping their toes into delivering online courses.
As Bob Walsh notes on our sister site WebWorkerDaily.com "with moodle, you can create anything from the online equivalent of a major university down to a tiny mini-site used to introduce new hires to your online business." Moodle is also hip to new media. You can include forums, wikis, podcasts, videos, slide presentations and more in Moodle courses without ever touching any PHP code.
Bob also points out some good examples of people generating revenues with Moodle: "Brian Clark, the guy behind the popular Copyblogger site created a paid site, TeachingSells, using Moodle. He used it to sell the idea and provide training of how to go from popular blogger to online training guru without going broke. Aaron Wall of SEO Book fame has converted from ebooks to a paid moodle site to provide ongoing instruction in the complexities of search engine optimization."
There are many videos online that are good for getting to know Moodle. Also check out the numerous resources available at the Moodle home page.
In my experience, many people tied to delivering information and teaching in old formats don't realize the opportunities they have in using new media to do so. That includes many bloggers, writers and others I know who could reach large audiences via online courses, webcasts, podcasts and more. If that sounds like you, getting to know Moodle could be a good first step for you.
Do you use Moodle for taking or delivering online courses? Do you use it for other purposes?