Here’s the scenario: You are about to setup your Moodle LMS installation, and you aren’t sure where to start, what to consider, or what you should know. The good news is if you are outsourcing your Moodle hosting - which is the recommended method - the Moodle installation process will be taken care of for you. Moodle hosting vendors, like Lambda Solutions, help take away the headache of installing the site on a server, and remove stress surrounding the optimization of your Moodle site's performance.
Regardless of whether you have outsourced hosting or not, it’s best to have a good understanding about what is involved in the Moodle process. This guide is a compilation of step by step directions, best practices, and tips designed to assist users who are about to install their first Moodle site, but it also provides great background information if you are a more experienced Moodle user. For the full guide, click the link below.
This article will cover the planning process of your Moodle installation, as well as provide steps to follow during course creation, course management, and site configuration.
Terms to Familiarize yourself With
These are terms that will be commonly used not only throughout this guide, but during your installation as well.
Blended Learning - combination of online content and instructor led sessions
Self-paced or Independent Learning - all the material and course is online so students can progress at their own pace
Synchronous activities - Activities that have to be completed during a set time-frame and could include involvement with other learners (group work)
Asynchronous activities - Activities that can be completed anytime and anywhere
Open enrollment - Learners start and finish the course at different times
Communication Channels - different types of message outputs that can be used to communicate across such as email and/or popup window notifications when logged in
Standard Plugin - module or program that provides a feature and extended functionality and is included as part of Moodle out of the box.
Contributed or Community Plugin - module or program that provides a feature and extended functionality and has to be installed in Moodle.
Moodle Installation Planning Process
Before getting into the meat of this Guide, there are a few different things that you need to consider before installing your Moodle site. Understanding the learning needs of your organization is crucial, as this can shape the way Moodle is setup to reach your business goals. The questions below can be used to help with identifying the requirements of your setup. Often the answers to these questions will determine how courses are setup, and how your site will operate.
Q: Who is your learning audience?
Your learners will likely fall in one of three categories: Internal team members, clients, or partners. The category that your learners belong to will play a big role in deciding what kind of training they will need, and who will manage them.
If your learners are internal team members, the list of users is likely already known, and will be managed by an administrator. Courses will focus on products, processes, and certifications required to perform a job.
If your learners are clients, courses can focus on products, or they can be related to different topics specifically related to your business such as safety, language, business, or licenses. With clients, the list of learners can sometimes be known, but if you have new clients sign up frequently, they will most likely be unfamiliar.
If your learners are partners, courses can be formatted in any of the two ways listed above, either product, or topic, depending on learning objectives. With partners, your learners will most likely be known, save for any new partners you might obtain during the learning process.
Q: What will the delivery style of your courses be?
You can format courses to be fully self-paced with no instructor involvement, or you can take a blended learning approach, with a combination of online material and instructor facilitated sessions.
A blended learning approach, or a self-paced learning approach is recommended if your learners are geographically scattered (i.e. not in one place), or if they have unconventional schedules. An instructor led course is usually chosen if learners can easily be gathered in one space.
Q: Do you have some ideas around how learner accounts will be created?
For example integration with an existing system (LDAP, HR, SIS) or database, use of a file upload containing a list of user accounts, or self-based user account creation. You should brainstorm a few options beforehand.
Part 2: Moodle Course Creation & Management
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