May 1 2014

LMS Reliability: Uptime and Learner Engagement

Written by Lambda Solutions

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imagesUptime. We all want it. We all need it. When you are a large training organization with thousands of learners and a need to track, monitor and assess those users, choosing the right provider is critical to attain this state of nirvana, otherwise known as “uptime.”

Reliability is Serious Business

Whether in-house or outsourced, having a reliable LMS should be taken seriously by your organization. Which means continuously monitoring the performance of your servers and offer an optimized, fully redundant and high availability hosting architecture that boasts an average of 99.99% uptime and less than two-second average server response time and a page response threshold of two seconds. Translation? These are the standards in order to have a stable platform and the ability to keep users happy and engaged.

As a case in point, we recently worked with ETR Associates-- an agency facing reliability issues. ETR offers evidence-based health and education products and programs providing solutions that work for health professionals, educators, and consumers throughout the US. They service over 7,000 learners annually, many of whom work in healthcare and community services. At the time they called us in, their customers were asking for more capabilities for managing users and reliable uptime. Uptime. There’s that word again.

Reliability For Learner Engagement

To add an extra twist to their challenge, ETR’s customer base includes clients who need to train volunteers. The thing about volunteers is that they don’t have the same incentive to stick with your program; they can leave at any time with little consequence. One bad experience and you have probably lost them forever. In order to keep your volunteer learners engaged reliability is a key requirement.

etrLogo

When ETR came to us they had already been using Moodle. In fact, the agency was an early adopter of the Moodle LMS, implementing it in 2008 to provide training services for a US federal agency focused on volunteering and community programming. They had previously used a proprietary system and were unhappy with the lack of flexibility. Moving to an open source LMS solved part of that problem, but it soon became apparent that their Moodle support vendor was not providing the responsive support they required to keep their users happy.

“For the most part, we have an out of the box Moodle setup, but Lambda’s development team upgraded our customization and did a Moodle upgrade,” says ETR Associates E-Learning Project Coordinator, Matt Cherry. “They added an enrollment plugin to allow us to better organize groups and set permission for availability of site resources and added customization to the Moodle Book plugin to enable chapters.” Important from ETR’s perspective, the changes were implemented with minimal downtime to ensure end-users were not inconvenienced.

ETR used to experience downtime of several days for code upgrades. Working with Lambda, that downtime has been reduced to just a few hours – ensuring end-users have the access they need.

Have the Reliability Chat With Your Provider

So thinking about the ETR experience, before signing on with a Moodle provider, have a serious talk about response time. Are they truly committed to addressing your needs for a quick turn-around when issues arise or upgrades are required?

Reliability? Go ahead and ask us.

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