Today more and more organizations are choosing to manage their corporate learning through a cloud based LMS (Learning Management System). Cloud based software or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is software where data is centrally hosted on the internet by a vendor or service provider and users can access it by logging in using a web browser. Improvements in technology and the availability of broadband worldwide have been the driving forces behind the shift to the cloud. It is not only e-Learning that has moved to the cloud, other functions such as: Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing, Project Management and other HR functions are now commonly hosted on a cloud. Consider the following benefits of SaaS:
- There is no need to purchase and install software on your PC
- As the software is online, everyone uses the same version, and they don’t need to worry about upgrading
- It is accessible from anywhere, at anytime
- The software is scalable and unlike in the past, now there is no need to purchase the full package if only need access to limited functions
- This scalability has made it affordable for small and medium sized enterprises to use this software
The above documents the benefits of SaaS in general, however I would now like to focus on the benefits of SaaS, with a specific focus on Learning Management Systems. Cloud based LMSs are much different from the “homegrown”, difficult to manage LMSs that were popular in years gone by. Previously peace of mind may have been gained if you knew your data/information was hosted on your server, behind your firewall; but today there are too many advantages associated with utilising a cloud based LMS.
With an estimated 200 Learning Management Systems available today, it is almost impossible to compare them all, so for the purposes of this article, I will use Moodle as an example. Moodle is one of the most popular LMSs on the market today and has many advantages. For example:
Cost - With the relevant know-how Moodle is free, affording your organization the opportunity to save money to spend on designing of the content, as opposed to the infrastructure of your LMS. However if you needs help with hosting Moodle, Paradiso Solutions can provide a variety of very affordable hosting services for your company, such as pay per student or pay per month.
Social Learning - “Social” is the current buzzword in the E-Learning industry. Moodle promotes social learning as it is interactive and collaborative. That is, learners can communicate with each other and learn from one another. They can share their own information and knowledge alongside the specifically designed corporate training courses.
Repositories - With Moodle it is very easy to import files from Flickr, Google Docs, Dropbox, Youtube etc. These files can all be saved together in one location for ease of access later. This video demonstrates just how easy it is to import and manage content from the web to your Moodle.
Repositories in Moodle 2.0
Discussion boards - The Moodle Community is full of discussion boards in many different languages, therefore users can communicate with people from outside your organization as well as your employees.
Support - There are a plethora of support options for Moodle users. On the Moodle site you can find books and manuals, documents including frequently asked questions, and a forum where you can ask questions. The forums usually have plenty of other users and even computer programmers who are happy to offer help, advice and recommendations, whatever the issue.
Open-Source - Finally, the Moodle platform is “open-source”. This means that the source code is free to be edited by users. It is flexible and fully customizable. Paradiso Solutions can customize the Moodle platform for you. For example, they can customize how you Moodle appears, in line with your corporate brand image, add features such as video conferencing, social media integration (Google+, Windows live etc.) and even games to foster learning.
Learning in organizations is extremely important and no organization can afford to fall behind. Motorola projects that for every $1 spent on training, there will be $30 in productivity gains in three years. More benefits to E-Learning implementation can be seen here. As highlighted above, it does not need to be expensive to start using an LMS. There is no big investment, no license or hardware to buy. If you are not already using an LMS, what are you waiting for?
Sach Chaudhari is an expert in the field of eLearning platform development. He is the CEO of Paradiso Solutions (www.ParadisoSolutions.com) which focuses on developing eLearning platforms. Sach is based in Silicon Valley. He studied business at Harvard Business School and computer science at the University of Cincinnati. He has various patents in software engineering under his name. Before starting Paradiso Solutions, Sach worked at various start-up and fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley.Website: www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=4106933&locale=en_US&trk=tyah