Here’s a quick guide to help you take those first steps in developing your site, your users, and your courses with an open source LMS such as Moodle. Moodle is the most adaptable Learning Management System on the market, so no matter what your needs are, it’s likely to be the best place to create your eLearning experience.
If you’re asking “What is Moodle?” take a quick peek at the Moodle User Guide Chapter 1: Introduction to Moodle.
Step 1 - Developing Your Site
Your homepage is part of your pitch to new users and a welcome back to current ones. The decisions you make concerning its appearance will affect how the rest of your site is viewed. At the start, you need to decide what users should or shouldn't see—what’s accessible without logging in. i.e. Will you have a landing page with courses offered, a scrolling announcements banner, or a welcome video?
The trick here is to provide enough information to make future learners want to know more about your products, without overloading users, or giving too much content away for too little ROI. Different themes offer different homepage and login options, so it’s important to spend time browsing all the design possibilities available.
What is a theme and what do you do with it? We’ve got you covered with a time-saving guide conveniently titled: Moodle Themes: Which is Best for Your LMS?
The theme you eventually choose for your Moodle LMS should match the user experience you envision for your learners. Good themes are clean, functional, and make your LMS easy to navigate. Great themes sell your organization’s vision without you needing to say anything. To get started, here are five examples of effective themes for your Moodle site: 5 Best Moodle Themes for Version 3.5 and up.
Moodle themes are just the beginning! Grab the comprehensive Moodle User Guide Chapter 2: Top Moodle Features for more time-saving resources and step-by-step instructions to make building the foundational elements of your learning management system a snap!
Step 2 - Developing Users
The first stage of introducing learners to your courses is enrollment, and with a Moodle LMS, this can be handled in several ways. Manual enrolments can be inputted individually, or by using the Upload Users CSV method. Enrolling in this way allows administrators or eLearning consultants to configure individual user’s roles, their duration, and the notification threshold before being unenrolled.
Users can also enroll themselves in courses, which is another way to set preferences on an individual basis. Moodle LMS allows customizable welcome messages—helpful for conveying information such as expiry dates, as well as for making a personal connection with learners.
The alternative to user-by-user enrollment is cohort or group syncing. This method enrolls entire groups of users in a single instance, and tracks membership status according to membership of those groups. As an admin, you can give groups default roles, which is a good way to isolate and manage whole cohorts at once. Read about enrolling cohorts and other advanced features in part three of our Moodle LMS guide: The Complete User Guide To Moodle Chapter 3: Advanced Moodle Features.
Step 3 - Developing Courses
eLearning Course Development and Tracking
The way you approach the initial stages of online course development will again depend on the nature of your eLearning business. The more straightforward method of creating a course for Moodle is to design and configure it in-house—but you may only be dealing with premade courses. In which case, the process is similar to creating users with a CSV upload.
Deciding on a format for your course is a stage of initial development when things often begin to visibly come together. Many course designers like to set a default course format, which ensures a cohesive user experience across their content. Switching between multiple formats may sometimes be necessary to accommodate different types of material, but in general, a single look and feel is preferable.
Once your program is up and running, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is see how your learners are progressing. To do this, you’ll need to enable Completion Tracking. Completion Tracking with Moodle LMS includes customizable settings for the way student progress is calculated, so you can manage your courses in exactly the way you feel is best.
The trick to getting the most from your Moodle courses is to make them as effective as possible. Completion tracking is a great way to start, but the best results come when you understand how to Capture Data to Improve the eLearning Experience with Analytics, which we cover in this on-demand webinar.
If you need to start developing your courses from scratch and are wondering how to install Moodle, we’ve got you covered right here with The Moodle Installation & Setup Guide.
But if you’d rather have your specific eLearning development questions answered, feel free to Ask Us Anything! Our eLearning solution experts have learned a trick or two after working with the platform since 2002.
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