Richard Kordel | Guest Blogger

Welcome to the TrainingPros blog, Learning Highlights. Entries from our President, Relationship Managers, learning & development thought leaders, and other guest bloggers can be found across a broad variety of topics such as industry trends, talent management, training delivery methods, eLearning, learning decision making, management systems, reinforcement, metrics, and performance support. If you have a blog topic you’d like to see or would like to contribute as a guest blogger, please contact us and use “Learning Highlights” in the Subject field of our contact form.

Content in Moodle – More LMS Exploration

Content in Moodle – More LMS Exploration

In the last few blog entries on Learning Management Systems (LMSs), we have installed a local copy of Moodle and added a course and some students. At this point, I am assuming that you have a working copy of Moodle on your PC. If this is not the case, take a look at the previous posts in this series by reviewing all entries under Richard Kordel. In this post, I would like to conclude this very brief tour of Moodle by adding some content.

Before we start, I would like to restate one point. The goal here is not to learn Moodle in order to adopt it for your business. It is to allow you to work with a real LMS and to make you conversant and comfortable with basic LMS activities. The overall goal of this series has been to provide the background you need to write an effective RFP for a new LMS and to evaluate the responses you receive.

Starting in the next entry of this series, we will look at a WordPress based LMS and follow the same evaluation path we did here. After that, there is an additional LMS that resides in the cloud; this will receive the same walkthrough. In the end, you will be familiar with three learning management systems and be able to compare features and functions. When you write your RFP, you will have a solid knowledge of what you need and how to evaluate what you get.

One of the recommendations from an earlier post in this series, “LMS Analysis – What’s Necessary,” was to develop test suites that would reflect the type of training your organization did. These would be used to allow you to see how the system you are evaluating works with your content and to ensure that your potential system worked the way you did. We are now going to explore that in a bit more depth, survey some types of content that can be added to Moodle, and select two common and representative content types to see how to load these into Moodle.

The two things you will need here will be a PDF document, and a SCORM compliant .zip file. The PDF can represent any document or handout that you want your students to have. It could be presentation notes for your facilitator, a workbook, or any other material that might be shared as a part of your normal training suite. The good news is that for this exercise, it can be anything. The goal is to follow the process of placing it in the LMS.

The other is slightly more complex. The SCORM compliant .zip file is something that will be created by the content development tool you use (e.g. Captivate, Articulate, Adapt) which is needed to load any eLearning component into any LMS. It is a collection of files that travel together and will include the output of your eLearning authoring tool along with several other administrative files that detail to the LMS how the course loads and how it runs. Most importantly, it is the thing that will allow you to test the SCORM compliance of your candidate LMS.

We will work on the assumption here that if your company is creating eLearning, you can ask the training department for a representative SCORM package. In a future series of posts, we will walk through the creation of an eLearning module that can be used for testing purposes.

Moodle allows a variety of content types to be added, divided into two broad categories of “Activities” and “Resources.” Some of these are more applicable to the way schools organize courses that span weeks or months and may not fit your business. Some may fit your needs better than others. As an example, there is an electronic attendance module that can be invaluable because it centralizes all your attendance data in one place. For compliance training, having your attendance at your fingertips and able to be searched and reported will make your life easier.

Moodle allows a variety of content types to be added, divided into two broad categories of “Activities” and “Resources.” Some of these are more applicable to the way schools organize courses that span weeks or months and may not fit your business. Some may fit your needs better than others. As an example, there is an electronic attendance module that can be invaluable because it centralizes all your attendance data in one place. For compliance training, having your attendance at your fingertips and able to be searched and reported will make your life easier.

Some other common activities are assignments which provide the opportunity for students to upload files to the teacher, forums which allow students to discuss topics with each other, and wikis which allow students to create and share a body of knowledge on a topic. There are others which allow a variety of interactions, but a more thorough discussion of these is more appropriate to a class on learning methodologies rather than this discussion of management systems.

R Kordel More LMS1

Whenever you want to add or edit anything in Moodle you need to turn editing on. You will see this link at the top of your course. Once clicked, it will reformat    your page, and you will now see an additional link to “+ Add an activity or resource.” Clicking this will then bring up the dialogue you see to the left. It is divided into two sections, with Activities on the top and Resources on the bottom. In this exercise, we will be adding one of each type.

Scroll down until all the Resources are listed. The second item you see in the list will be File. Clicking on it will display a description of the module on the right half of the window. When you click the Add button at the bottom of the window you will display the Adding a new File dialogue.

R Kordel More LMS2

If you have ever uploaded a file anywhere, this is straightforward. You must give the file a name that identifies the resource for students. Everything else is optional. There will be a window at the bottom of this dialogue that allows you to drag and drop the file you want to add. There are several options you can select that affect how the file will display and if there are restrictions on access. These include things like whether you would like to open the file in a new window. Experiment with the options to see what works best in your situation.

At the bottom of the dialogue are three selections, Save and return to course, Save and display, or Cancel. You should try each to see how it behaves. When you are done, and have returned to the home page of the course, click on the Turn editing off button to see how the newly added asset displays.

R Kordel More LMS3

The other item that will be added in this section will be a SCORM compliant eLearning course. This is not much more difficult than adding a single file. In the Activities section you will find a listing for SCORM package. Click this and you will find the dialogue to add your SCORM package. The dialogue will be very similar to the add file dialogue. The only difference is that instead of adding a single file, the zip file will add all the needed files to run your eLearning module.

As you explore adding these items in Moodle you should note how the system behaves and what the results are of your explorations. When you turn editing on, if you had set a tab format you will see the screen reformat. In some cases, the section you need to work with has now scrolled off the screen. This can become tiresome. When you added the SCORM module, did you run it in a window or did you create a new window? What effect did this have on the screen resolution? Specifically, can you still see all the module’s screen?

Next time, we will continue to explore real LMS actions and interactions.

in Talent Management Read: 423 0 Comments
Rate this blog entry:
0

Dr. Kordel has a D.Ed. from Penn State Harrisburg's School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, and an M.S. from Johns Hopkins University's Carey Business School. These degrees represent formal study of the art and science of electronic learning, and he has published on these topics. He holds an M.A. from Fordham University's Graduate School of Education, and a B.F.A. in film production from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Richard's Recent Posts

Comments

  • Join the conversation, be the first to submit a comment!

Leave your comment

Guest
Guest Tuesday, 25 July 2017