Best Learning Management Systems in 2020

Best Learning Management Systems in 2020

Since the turn of the century, online learning has become a crucial component of businesses and educational institutions. Educators and administrators need a reliable and cost-effective learning management system to create, evaluate, track, and customize online learning activities. An LMS software is a digital technology where educators, administrators, and entrepreneurs can administer, document, track, and evaluate online educational courses and training and learning programs. Here the German IT Academy will present the Best Learning Management Systems in 2020.

This remarkable technology has become the secret of improving academics and business performances. It provides a single centralized platform to manage course activities and allows the learners to access it from everywhere. Educators can arrange online classrooms, conduct quizzes and online papers, conduct live sessions, and give grading while students can easily access their assignments and grades even using their mobiles. It streamlines direct connection between teachers and all students to solve the problems of students and get feedback to evaluate the strategies.

You can also integrate an open-source LMS software with other digital technologies to customize and scale this platform according to your needs and requirements. Similarly, businesses use LMS for employee onboarding, training, and organizing the workplace environment, and hunt for talent within the employees.

Core Functionalities of an LMS Software

A good LMS must have the following core functionalities:

  • It must have a user-friendly and intuitive interface.
  • It must be accessible to learners on every device.
  • It must be durable and scalable.
  • It must be flexible enough to adapt to the requirements of the organization, be it small or large, commercial or non-commercial.
  • It must be interoperable i.e., it can integrate, or exchange data with other services (APIs).
  • It must be easy to use and learn for the students, as well as teachers and administers.
  • It must ensure the security and safety of data against any loss, misuse, or unauthorized access.

Best Learning Management Systems in 2020

You will find countless LMS software on the internet and you have to choose the perfect one fulfilling all the requirements you are looking for. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss 3 of the most widely used Learning Management Systems in 2020.

Moodle

Moodle, developed by Martin Dougiamas in 2002, is indubitably the best free LMS software because of the scalability, flexibility, and functional versatility it offers to the educators and businesses. It offers an effective online platform to educators, businesses, and administrators to collaborate in a learning space that stimulates both learning and teaching. More than 60% of educational institutions including 1/3rd of universities across the world use Moodle.

Its multilingual characteristics enable it to be used by all organizations, either small or large, commercial or non-commercial to create a quality online learning environment. It has been translated in over 180 languages, and dialects. In the field of businesses, Moodle is extensively used for employees onboarding to hire, and train employees and acclimate them with the policies and culture of the organization.

You evaluate, track, take feedback, and review the progress of your employees and make objective and holistic strategies to grow your business. Simply put, Moodle has become a standard learning platform for hundreds of thousands of educators and businesses and it can help your organization achieve the set objectives by better planning and implementing strategies.

We at German IT Academy make heavy use of Moodle and are totally in love with it. For us, Moodle is definetly one of the Best Learning Management Systems in 2020.

Chamilo

Like Moodle, Chamilo is a free open-source LMS software that helps users create online or hybrid courses. With more than half a million users around the world, it allows you to set up teaching and training courses, install web hosting, track and evaluate performances, and improve various learning modules, integrate with other IT, mobile video conferencing, and provides visual learning tools on the platform.

This software can easily accommodate 3000 connected users/students/employees simultaneously and compatible with many web browsers and supports both mobile and desktop devices. It also offers you an opportunity to sell your e-learning content to earn money. So, it would be a better alternative for a small organization like a school or private business to enhance performance.

Canvas

According to official figures, more than 30 million learners benefit from the Canvas LMS. This powerful software offers you a myriad of features like online assessment, workbooks, guides, and FAQs. You can also track, and evaluate the learning progress and teachers and it also streamlines the direct connection between the students and teachers or instructors to discuss any issues. Moreover, since Canvas is an open-source software, users can integrate with any software, and learning portals to scale it according to the requirements.

That is why leading world universities like Stanford University, The University of Auckland, the University of Queensland, and the University of Oxford use this LMS software. Its intuitive and dynamic interface helps learners to access each course quickly. It also redirects the learners to useful resources to improve the learning process. All the elements required by successful online learning are offered by Canvas. It tells the instructors what needs to be done for each course and how to do it. That is why thousands of organizations, small and large, are using this powerful LMS software.  

Final Remarks

It would not be wrong to say that modern technology is bringing revolutionary changes in the field of online learning. The majority of researchers and analysts are in unison that online learning is the future of the world. So, it would be the best option for your organization to make use of an LMS software like Moodle to improve the efficiency and performance of your organization.

Why Your Organization Needs Moodle

Why Your Organization Needs Moodle

The novel Coronavirus has provided a stimulus to the online learning. Researches from all over the world show that more and more businesses and educational institutions are embracing online teaching and learning. In such unexpected times, the role of LMS (Learning Management System) has become more critical than ever. That is why the demand of Moodle, an open-source software, has witnessed manifold increase since the last few months. Its robust, secure, and integrated system has helped businesses and universities to continue discharging essential services.

It is pertinent to mention that Moodle was most widely open-source LMS even before the pandemic because of its learning-centric tools, and tremendous compatibility with businesses and educational institutions of all nature, however, since early 2020, it has collaborated with global academic, and business stakeholders to foster online learning objectives. It would not be wrong to say that Moodle is the future of online teaching and learning and the quicker your organization embraces this online learning platform, the better it will be. The below paragraphs will validate this notion.    

What is Moodle   

Moodle, developed by Martin Dougiamas in 2002, is an open-source Learning Management System that is designed to provide an effective online learning platform to educators, businesses, and administrators. Being the most popular LMS, Moodle ensures a robust, integrated, interoperable, and highly-functional system to create personalized and private learning environments. Moodle has been adopted by all levels of educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other community systems of all nature because of its tremendous scalability, and adaptability. It helps businesses to create a collaborative learning space that stimulates both learning and teaching.

Why Educational Institutions Need Moodle

Moodle is used by more than 60% of educational institutions in over 180 languages and dialects all across the world. It helps teachers, and educators to create quality online classrooms to improve the learning outcomes for students. This System fosters online learning objectives of your organization because:

Inexpensive

It is an open-source software which means it is free to download, customize, and use according to your requirements. It is a perfect solution for organizations having budgetary constraints. Having customer support from more than 80 certified Moodle Partners, you can better customize the performance of the Moodle site. So, anyone can use it for both commercial and non-commercial online teaching and learning.

Moodle is Scalable and Flexibility

The best thing about Moodle is that it provides a highly flexible learning environment for your organization, be it small or large. Since it is an open-source software, it can easily be customized to individual needs. It uses free plugins to integrate external applications to achieve specific goals and functionalities. It can be scaled to support the requirements of a few to millions of students in small, and large educational institutions.

Enhanced Security and Privacy

Many people have the misconception that Moodle is less secure software compared to its closed-source alternatives. But in reality, it is a highly secure and private platform with regular security updates by developers to ensure users’ data security and privacy, and provide multiple-tier protection against data loss, misuse, and unauthorized access. Moreover, if you want complete control, you can easily deploy Moodle on any private secure cloud or server.

Accessibility and Compatibility

Moodle is specifically designed to help all learners access it from anywhere. Its default mobile-compatible interface and cross-browser compatibility, it can be accessed from many web browsers, and devices. 

Up-to-Date and Future Proof

Having support from over 80 certified Moodle Partners, it is regularly reviewed, updated and customized to meet the evolving needs of educators. Similarly, you can secure your investment by integrating the LMS with other digital tools, and technologies to create an effective and interoperable online learning ecosystem.  

In short, Moodle offers an all-in-one learning platform to enhance the learning outcomes of educational institutions. From quizzes, online exams, and live discussions to online grading, Moodle has become the standard online platform for over 1/3rd of the universities and countless schools and colleges across the world.

Why Business Organizations Need Moodle LMS?

The role of Moodle in improving the efficiency of workplaces cannot be over-emphasized. It can help your business grow in a myriad of ways.

Starting from employee onboarding, Moodle helps to create a perfect virtual workplace to hire new workers, train them, and help them understand policies, procedures, and culture of your organization in the simplest possible way. This methodology offers significant cost savings. 

Similarly, Moodle helps to enhance the development and retention of employees. You can use this platform to design courses that will help to better train and evaluate your employees and keep them up-to-date with market trends. At the end of the day, it will greatly help you optimize your company, boost sales, gain more revenue, and expand the reach of your products.

Likewise, Moodle cloud-based service offers 24/7 availability and accessibility to learning. In the light of prevalent pandemic, it is the best option to allows all the employees to learn from a single platform while sitting at homes. This single-source learning provides a centralized, coherent training, and evaluation mechanism for your organization to better respond to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Final Remarks

In a nutshell, Moodle has become a standard learning platform for hundreds of thousands of educators and businesses. Its extraordinary adaptability to all types of educational and business environments makes it the best open source LMS software in the world. Hence, it can help your organization achieve the set objectives in this digital era of cut-throat competition.

Organizations switching to online teaching for Students and onboarding employees

Organizations switching to online teaching for Students and onboarding employees

The novel coronavirus has brought such unforeseen disruptions in all aspects of our lives that we haven’t thought in our wildest dreams just a few months back. From businesses to academia, and from politics to worship, no facet of human life is left unaffected by this global pandemic. All the countries around the globe have placed severe lockdowns and stringent SOPs to enforce social distancing and minimize the contagion. According to medical researchers, social distancing has become a reality and we have to live with it, at least, for a foreseeable future.

Under such circumstances, it is virtually impossible to hold regular classes in schools and colleges or conduct in-person interviews to hire and train new employees. For many companies, it wreaked havoc, but others adapted modern technology and digital tools to continue providing services to the people and avoid the total shut down of their supply chains. That is why online onboarding new employees with LMS (learning management system) has become a new normal and more and more companies are shifting towards online training of their workers.

Similarly, majority educational institutions have embraced online teaching which rhymes exactly with working from home. This exponential growth of online learning has put much load on the learning management system (LMS), an EdTech platform, and almost all the universities and colleges in North America and elsewhere have almost completely transitioned to virtual or distant learning. The chart showing the transition of higher education enrollments in Canada and America is:

A chart from Enrollment Transition in North America

Online Learning During Pandemic

Needless to say, Covid-19 has significantly affected the field of education. Online teaching and learning have become more necessary than ever as around 1.2 billion students were out of classrooms due to the closure of educational institutions. In such times, we witnessed a dramatic rise in the usage of Moodle and other LMS around the world. Research studies conducted during the past few weeks show an exponential growth in the usage of online learning management systems like Moodle.  As per data from LMS and Moodle Usage.

  • Instructure: Witnessed a 60% increase in concurrent users on LMS Canvas in just two weeks.
  • Blackboard: It saw an increase of 400% in the total number of logins for the Learn LMS, and almost 3600% increase in the number of virtual classrooms.
  • Moodle: The usage of Moodle has increased significantly during a pandemic. We cannot predict the exact number of users at any time however, the total number of sites registered with Moodle increased by 30% in a single, and similarly, the use of Moodle Cloud also increased by 4-times during last few weeks.
  • In the same way, Schoology witnessed a 4x increase in its LMS usage from the previous maximum.

It is pertinent to mention that there already was a stimulus towards online teaching and learning before Covid-19 and the total investments in this filed (EdTech) were around $19b in 2019, but, not surprisingly, it is forecasted to reach more than staggering $350b by 2025, thanks to Covid-19. It shows how many companies and universities are investing in online learning tools to offset the losses caused by Covid-19. From open-source LMS like Moodle, and video conferencing tools to video tutoring and online boarding, the world has witnessed an exponential boost in the usage of digital tools for online learning and teaching.   

Employees Online Onboarding During Covid-19 Era

It is projected that LMS (learning management system) will accelerate employees online boarding and training in the years to come. It is no more a luxury or perk used by tech-giants to bring in new workers rather a new normal that all the companies have to acquaint themselves with. The majority of companies including Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have instructed their employees to work from home since many critical and essential businesses cannot afford to have complete shutdown so they are resorting to virtual onboarding and working to continue providing essential services to the people. Almost all the workplace tasks like hiring new employees through in-person interviews, acclimating to the company’s policies and culture, and learning required skills to carry out individual and team-roles are being done by online boarding.  

Data from Udemy

Udemy is the largest online teaching and learning platform. It released a report on April 30 to analyze the surge in its customers due to Covid-19. The statistics shows:

  • 4.25x increase in consumer enrollment.
  • Instructors created 55% more content
  • Businesses and governments have used the Udemy platform almost 80% more than pre-COVID levels. 

To conclude, it would be wrong to say that because of Covid-19, every domain of human life is affected especially education and employment as governments imposed stringent lockdown to ensure social distancing. However, it provided an unprecedented stimulus to online teaching and learning and all the educational institutions and businesses are resorting to remote education, online boarding, and telecommuting. That is why the usage of LMS like Moodle has witnessed tremendous surge and this trend is likely to only increase in the future.

How to Run Moodle with Docker Compose

How to Run Moodle with Docker Compose

In this tutorial we are going to have a Moodle Instance up and running on a Virtual Machine – inside Docker Containers.

First of all, install and get Docker up and running. Then, download Moodle or make sure you have a Git-Repository ready at hand. We are going to use docker-compose for this task. Now let’s try and Run Moodle with Docker.

Moodle with Docker

We need a container that will have all the needed technology to run and serve the Moodle source code (your repository). This configuration will come from an Image, that we will use and configure through a docker-compose.yml file. Create a file docker-compose.yml and insert the version of docker-compose syntax that we are going to use:

version: "3.3"

These Technologies are needed:

  • Moodle Container
    • Operating System (Ubuntu)
    • Server (Apache2, Nginx)
    • PHP7.x (incl. php-curl, php-mysql, etc.)
  • Database Container
    • MariaDB 10+

Database Docker Image

We are going to use a simple and straightforward solution from bitnami. We simple create a service that will use this image, and set some parameters like username, db_name, etc.

services:
  mariadb:
    image: "bitnami/mariadb:10.1"
    networks:
      - moodle-net
    environment:
      - MARIADB_USER=bn_moodle
      - MARIADB_DATABASE=bitnami_moodle
      - ALLOW_EMPTY_PASSWORD=yes
    volumes:
      - type: bind
        source: /home/maria_data
        target: /bitnami
    ports:
      - "3306:3306"

We call our service ‘mariadb’, expose some ports (3306) and bind a volume to persist our data on our host machine. We also attach ‘mariadb’ to a network moodle-net. Also, make sure that docker can read/write the /home/maria_data folder on your host. We set rwx access for now (which is not recommended), please make sure to set the proper rights.

sudo chmod a+rwx /home/maria_data/

Server Docker Image

There are already built images for these technologies: webdevops/php-apache:7.3 & bitnami/mariadb.

Let’s pull and test the PHP & Apache image first.

#Download
docker pull webdevops/php-apache:7.3

# Run Image (Copy image ID. 'docker images')
docker run -d -p 80:80 efec3d223189

Now navigate to localhost or your public IP Address. You should see an empty Apache2 page.

Moodle and Docker

This page is the result of the file ‘index.php’ in container in folder /app. Worked fine. To use this image as a service in our config file, we need to create a new service in docker-compose.yml.

  moodle:
    image: "webdevops/php-apache:7.3"
    networks:
      - moodle-net
    environment:
      - MOODLE_DBHOST=mariadb
      - MOODLE_DBPORT=3306
      - MOODLE_DBUSER=bn_moodle
      - MOODLE_DBPASS=''
      - MOODLE_DBNAME=bitnami_moodle
    ports:
      - "80:80"
      - "443:443"
    volumes:
      - type: bind
        source: /home/moodle_data
        target: /moodledata/moodledata
      - type: bind
        source: /home/gita-moodle
        target: /app
    depends_on:
      - mariadb

We specify the image that we tested previously. Specify the network to be same as the network of mariadb container. The Env Vars that we define, will be used by moodle in config.php. We open ports and specify the volumes. We make sure that moodle container only starts after mariadb container is up with the depends_on option. Make sure /home/moodle_data is writable.

sudo chmod a+rwx /home/moodle_data/

Before we continue, in these courses you can learn how to create backend and frontend application. Both of which you can easily deploy and serve with Docker. And now you know how to use docker-compose. Expand your skill-set with these courses.

Finish line

At last, we need to define our network and volumes:

networks:
  moodle-net:
    driver: bridge

volumes:
  mariadb_data:
    driver: local
  moodle_data:
    driver: local

Now let’s boot up these containers with and visit localhost or your public ip.

docker-compose up -d

You should see the installation process. Enter your Database data (see ENV VARS in MariaDB Service. After that a config.php file will be created. If not, copy the code and create a config.php file in root folder.

Moodle Installation process Docker

After finishing up the setup process of moodle, you’ll finally see your ready working moodle instance. Now you run Moodle with Docker Containers.

After setting up moodle. Your host volumes/folders will be filled with data that comes from containers. E.g. moodle population a predefined folder structure in moodle_data.

ls moodle_data/
cache  filedir  lang  localcache  lock  moodle  muc  sessions  temp  trashdir

Same, and more importantly, applies to mariadb container. Our Database is now persisted on our host machine.

/home/maria_data/mariadb/data# pwd
/home/maria_data/mariadb/data
/home/maria_data/mariadb/data# ls
aria_log.00000001  aria_log_control  bitnami_moodle  ibdata1  ib_logfile0  ib_logfile1  multi-master.info  mysql  mysql_upgrade_info  performance_schema  tc.log  test

Andrey Bulezyuk

German IT Academy Coach

Andrey Bulezyuk is the founder of German IT Academy and a course creator. He mainly covers topics from Web Development (NodeJS, VueJS, Django etc.) to Data Science (Pandas, Numpy) and Machine Learning (Tensorflow, Keras, etc.). He published a German book “Algorithmic Trading“, giving his readers the opportunity to learn how to code automatic trading systems for the stock market or the Forex. He has experience as a Backend and Frontend Developer. In his early years he worked on Web Projects as a Freelancer. Switched later to Financial Market System Developing. Currently employed as Machine Learning Engineer. He takes part in different projects and acts as a Co-Founder in different small start-ups. Andrey Bulezyuk was an employed Full-Stack Developer in Munich. Currently his duties do cover areas of Machine Learning and ETL.