And “in times like these…”
Why pay for a pricey LMS when you can Moodle or Drupal or Sakai?
Why do companies continue to pay huge dollars for products that are now being offered for free? Web conferencing services like DimDim now offer the equivalent of WebEx. For free.
(I’m a recent convert, perhaps on the path to open source evangelism.)
So what are some of the hurdles to overcome in the corporate market? Here are just a few:
It’s free. Because it’s open source, there are no licensing costs. This, apparently, freaks people out. Free must mean sub par, right? Wrong. Moodle and other open source products have huge communities behind them. Talented individuals who can program like hell and believe in the open source philosophy. (Note: Hosting costs aren't free and any customizations you do or support you'll need may require some moolah.)
Support. There’s no vendor who creates Moodle per say. That means there’s no 800 number or help desk you can call. That means your IT department has to know how to do all the code. Sure they can. Or you can contract with a company like Kineo that can host and support your Moodle for you (at the risk of sounding like a company shill!)
It’s not for corporate use. Well, it’s true that Moodle was originally created for academic use and it already has a great foothold in the academic world. But Moodle is increasingly being used in the corporate market. According to an eLearning Guild survey conducted in 2007, 18% of respondents in corporate settings reported using Moodle.
Out of the box, Moodle may not have all the features an enterprise needs, but simple add-ons can be created. Kineo has recently worked on creating a classroom management add-on for a corporate client and has a fabulous Moodle reporting tool.
It looks so very bland. Moodle out of the box is like vanilla pudding. Pretty plain. But the beauty of open source is you can customize it. Kineo has done some really fabulous interfaces that look slick, modern and way beyond what you might think possible. We’ve integrated Flash animations into Moodle home pages and replicated clients’ existing web sites. Take some vanilla pudding, add raisins or rainbow sprinkles or a caramel swirl.
I think the time for open source is now. What about you? Do you think we're at a tipping point?
Update: Want more evidence of the tipping Moodle? Check out a more recent post from May 11, 2010 profiling Tesco's Moodle.