A Moodle alternative that’s user-friendly and affordable
You may have landed here while searching for an affordable LMS solution for your organization, and Moodle is likely among the options you’re considering. Alternatively, you may already be using Moodle but are not entirely satisfied with it.
As you may already know, Moodle LMS is an open-source learning management system that has gained popularity for its versatility and cost-effectiveness, with some even calling it a free solution. It has empowered educational institutions, businesses, and individuals to create and deliver e-learning content.
Designed with flexibility in mind, Moodle offers a range of features that cater to the needs of a diverse user base. With a vast global community behind it, the platform is continuously evolving, providing its users with new tools and resources to enhance their e-learning experience.
But are there any downsides to switching to Moodle, and is it really free? Why would you consider a commercial solution like Coursy? Let’s take a closer look.
What to Consider When Implementing Moodle?
As an open-source software, it requires effort to become familiar with the platform and community. Although the community is large and active, finding the right groups and engaging with them requires focused time.
Moodle is not a turnkey platform like Coursy, meaning it requires heavy customization to meet your preferences. Therefore, you need a development and analysis partner to make the customizations. Prepare yourself and your team for potential delays – specialized developers often have long waiting times.
While there are numerous plugins available, finding the right ones that cover your needs without alterations can be tricky. If you build tailor-made plugins, you’ll need to turn to a development partner again. Sadly, Moodle’s documentation is not well-documented, so most of the time, you’ll need to ask the community for the best solutions and fixes. There are many tutorials available, but working with them requires time and dedication. From our experience for anyone working in HR, L&D or training, every minute counts.
What About the Costs?
If you can handle the nuances of an open-source software, you or your team should consider the financial side.
As mentioned earlier, you need to spend your own time or find external development partners. It’s usually not reasonable to ask anyone with coding background but find people that are familiar with coding for Moodle. These people are typically more expensive.
What about help desk or support? Coursy has a dedicated team who knows the limitations and solutions to our product and is just a call or message away. Our in-house developers can work out the bugs in short notice. Moodle users, when encountering problems, have to find the answers themselves. If you are the responsible person in your company, all the questions and frustration will be on your table. So you better free up some time in your calendar to handle these situations.
Like any system, Moodle needs updating, security fixes, and maintenance. Skilled specialists that are not cheap are required for all of these tasks. At Coursy, these tasks are done on the background without you even noticing.
Even if you plan to host the system on your servers, it has a price tag. If your infrastructure is not suited for it, you’ll have to choose a service like Amazon S3 or Rackspace, which is also an additional cost. This is another hidden fee of a “free” solution.
As often happens, other expenses can come up, such as connecting the system to your other software services and building API connections to them.
Finally, when onboarding your employees (with varying degrees of computer literacy), someone has to become an expert on the system. Don’t rely on developers for that, as they are usually not great at teaching and mentoring. Coursy has this part covered with clear onboarding procedures and guidance until everyone feels comfortable using the system.
Conclusion and Moodle alternatives
Moodle and other similar open-source LMS solutions still require a lot of resources (people, time and money) to build and maintain a system that fits your needs. According to a leading e-learning expert Craig Weiss, companies are spending 80K to 150K on Moodle annually, or possibly even more. Issues that arise have to be fixed by someone, training and support have to be provided. There may be situations that come unexpectedly, requiring surprise expenses or unexpected time allocations from your team. And since the solution is free, it’s difficult to hold a specific party responsible.
When choosing a commercial system, many of these aspects are more predictable, from subscription fees to extra developments, from initial setup and onboarding support to ongoing help, software, and security updates. So, before committing to a “free” solution, let us give you a demo of how Coursy can take your digital learning to a new level (and possibly be more convenient and budget-friendly overall).
“Overall, comparing Coursy to Moodle and our group LMS, it is still very much a step forward, innovative, helpful and easy to use.”
Annika from DPD