Review of LMS Course Layout for Training Coordinators

posted Aug 31, 2012, 1:58 AM by Tania Jordan

Dear Training Coordinators, I have been looking at the LMS based on Totara Moodle, and I have worked on a suggested Course Design/layout which I trust you can help me validate with your feedback. This is important to ensure we agree on the same basic course structure/layout for all subsequent courses that will be designed in the LMS so we can tell the provider to use this as the model for all courses. 

In particular, the HP01 course has the layout I am proposing if you want to see it live: http://ocs-training.cgiar.org/course/view.php?id=26

Please provide your comments using the 'Comments' box below. Remember to click on SIGN-IN to login and see the comments box and be able to comment or send me your comments by email if preferred. 

Thank you,

Totara Moodle selected finalist of best elearning tools in 2012

posted Aug 23, 2012, 3:23 AM by Tania Jordan

The Learning Management System which will be used for OCS Training: Totara Moodle has been selected finalist of best Elearning tools in 2012: http://news.yahoo.com/totara-lms-selected-finalist-best-elearning-190029591.html 

They have also recently released a new version of Totara Moodle 2.2 too: http://www.sfgate.com/business/prweb/article/Totara-Learning-Solutions-Provider-of-the-3803236.php which will bring additional useful features for enterprises. The LMS Totara Moodle instance for OCS will be upgraded by the provider to this new version soon.

Given selection of provider - LMS is back in the picture!

posted Jul 18, 2012, 12:20 AM by Tania Jordan

Considering the OCS Centers will need to deliver Training to over 5000 people distributed in over 50 countries through a blended delivery methodology approach based on Roles Learning Programs, and given the selection of Unit4/Highpoint as the provider, they will setup an LMS based on Totara Moodle for those Centers who are interested. The LMS will ensure:

ü  Remote learners are able to complete the self studies, enroll in courses and track learning

ü  Monitoring and reporting by Training Coordinators and Centers to see progress of booking and training  /Delegate self administration, reducing overhead

ü  Costs of travel significantly reduced

ü  Sustainable training materials for future use (easy to edit and update)

ü  Modular materials for assistance during Go Live support

ü  Successful Learning Program for ongoing Business as Usual and change of staff


More soon!

No LMS for OCS - SharePoint or Google Apps instead.

posted May 11, 2012, 1:35 AM by Tania Jordan   [ updated May 11, 2012, 1:35 AM ]

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the End-User Training for OCS and change of plans around implementing LMS for OCS. As you know, the Training Requirements Analysis (TRA) is the first stage in the engagement with the End-User Training providers, and this exercise is needed to know:  


1. Who needs to be trained? (Identify the users in Centers that need to be trained) / 2. What needs to be trained? (Identify the training courses that need for /delivered) /

3. When and where do users need to be trained? (Identify and confirm suitable venues and locations to deliver training) 4. What material needs to be developed? (Scope of training content that needs to be developed) 5. What are the key learning points for each course? /6.  Which examples can best describe the processes to be demonstrated

After analyzing two different end-user Training providers: Unit4/Highpoint and Optimum; we have contracted the Training Requirements Analysis (TRA) exercise with Optimum for the first implementing Centers (IRRI, CIP, WORLDFISH, Consortium Office). This exercise is being carried out from May 7- 21, 2012, in time to present the analysis to the Steering Committee on May 23rd.

We started the Training Requirements Analysis with the provider this week, and Dave and I discussed further details on the Training strategy and methods for delivery with the provider today.

As you know, the idea is to use the OCS base system build as the Training environment to create the end-user training materials. Given that the base build may change slightly, even after the first Center roll-out, we have agreed with the provider to keep things as simple as possible when developing training materials, hence use more written guides (quick cards, quick guides, etc which are easier to modify) than eLearning which take time to produce, and if the eLearning is created too early, it may deliver the wrong messages, and will be costly to modify, so following my messages in which I suggested the implementation of an LMS as an option to host eLearning materials and help us coordinate the eLearning/classroom trainings for OCS, we have determined with Dave, that we will forget about the idea of implementing an LMS for OCS at this point, which I believe, would have been a nice to have (fancy!), but it would have been complex to get the requirements right at this point, not to mention the costs implications and governance issues to ensure its’ continuity.

Bottom line: ‘Simplicity’ is the rule of the game now. We will not embark in the LMS business for OCS, and instead, we should think about how to adopt/ use the workspaces available in your Centers today (even if we use eLearning/ emovies for some courses) to store OCS Training materials for your Centers.


-          SharePoint –for those who have their own Center Intranet. SharePoint is used widely in these initiatives by other companies who have implemented Agresso as a place to store Training materials) or  

-          Google Apps – a combination of Sites, Docs, Video, Calendar) to share the training materials with your staff, allow them to discuss, send feedback, etc could be explored too..


I will do some more research of how to design these workspaces with the two platforms above to help guide Centers in the design, and will get back to you.


In the meanwhile, let me know what you think and if you have any ideas, do let me know.

Moodle or Adobe Connect?

posted Apr 26, 2012, 4:16 AM by Tania Jordan   [ updated Apr 26, 2012, 4:16 AM ]

Should we first decide the platform (Moodle or Adobe Connect) as a first step? Or can we assume that we should use Moodle as the platform already selected in OLR project?    your thoughts?

Eummena - ARIADNE Quote - questions?

posted Apr 26, 2012, 3:34 AM by Tania Jordan   [ updated May 2, 2012, 12:45 PM ]

- Phase I: Needs analysis, goals and project - will take one month. to work on a Roadmap -> one meeting or two to discuss better the needs. (~3 weeks - blueprint). They will prepare some questions / what kind of learning materials will be used (storage to estimate the BW).

- 1.  Phase II- Software Installation and Config - you have not yet determined where this will be hosted. Any implications on costs or is this transparent to us? 

Option 1. to host on a dedicated server (1 server) - up to 10,000 users and this works well.- we would probably start with this..
Option 2. Cloud installation - they have tested, but do not have experience in a working environment... *buy more storage/more CPU as needed (Amazon). They will decide this on the way forward. No additional cost implications with either. 
2- Exportability of Moodle? - yes this is possible. Whole Moodle can be moved from one installation to another, or host it elsewhere.Since the courses will be implemented with (Moodle 2.2)

3. Modules development and integration - AD mostly, can be 1/3 of cost if we don't use any custom features.

One Moodle for all. 
6 departments - classes (courses) - Groups/Departments /Courses

- 2. Courses setup -  please quote the setup per course. What does 'setup' mean exactly? We would need help in the setup for the 1st Center perhaps, but our own people should be trained to setup the courses ourselves. 

Estimate of 1-2 weeks before each training when the trainers, will want to adopt the environment of the course enable/disable features, do some customization/colors. integrate learning materials in the course. 
Cost per course / Training: 

How much would it cost to give us a virtual training course on creating courses? A. Yes, they will quote.

maintenance cost will be adopted to meet the estimated needs, in terms of “active” users, an approximate cost being in the range of € 5 to € 10/ user/ year or they can provide a fixed cost/month.  but the typical way of charging is per user. 
- maintenance, backup, patching, technical support, reporting (analytics).

- 3. Normal Deployment and ongoing support - please quote this differently. 
We also need to know how the ongoing costs will be charged before committing further.I would prefer a fixed monthly fee for hosting/backup that all can distribute based on # of staff or something like this.. Your thoughts?

- 4. Did the proposal take into consideration the option to link access to our Active Directory?

A/ Yes, this is their reply to this question: The linkage will be performed with the "PHP LDAP" module. This could mean some configuration on your AD', so for example all account that are made available on the LMS should belong to a "LMSusers" organisational unit. Then we could query the forest's Global Catalog for something like: "ldap_contexts = ou=LMSusers,dc=center1,dc=cgiar,dc=org. A non-privileged LDAP user account will be needed to bind to the LDAP server. The users passwords will not be stored in Moodle at all, and users shall not be able to change their passwords through Moodle's GUI.  

 - 5. What are the possibilities for expanding the use of the LMS after the OCS project? This could be a useful argument for justifying the initial cost. The design should consider this as a potential for expansion in the future.

Option 1- Secure connection with Active Directory - Domain controller (no need to store accounts in Moodle).  - Moodle LMS users

Option 2 - Sync of users (Open LDAP Server that they will host - in parallel with the Moodle server)

Providers for LMS

posted Apr 26, 2012, 3:26 AM by Tania Jordan   [ updated Apr 26, 2012, 3:26 AM ]

At the moment, I have the following 3 quotes for LMS:

  • Eummena/Ariadne - based on Moodle, including analysis, moodle design, AD integration, hosting) 
  • Nivel Siete - Moodle hosting costs only
  • Unit4/ Highpoint - will propose an LMS (not Moodle); although no costs have been provided to date

any others you suggest?

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