eCreators’ Dani and Prathiba made room from the regular scheduling of the “Talking Moodle” series to let us sneak a very tiny peek on Moodle Workplace, the new gamble to conquer the corporate’s hearts and minds.
Along with a few selected screenshots, this is what the team had to reveal for Moodle’s venture into proprietary LMS for the corporate sector.
Moodle Workplace is strictly business
To clear things right off the bat: Schools, colleges, universities and even B-schools are most likely better off staying with license-free, “vanilla” Moodle.
As Prathiba explains, Moodle Workplace is designed for corporates and organizations with a large number of users. It deviates from the academic calendar model that is predominant on the license-free counterpart as well as the competitors.
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It's meant to excel at onboarding and ongoing training
While the education settings of traditional organizations following an academic calendar are usually very similar, the same cannot be said for organizations that do not need to abide by these constraints. Many ideas about levels or curricula do not make much sense here. These organizations also tend to be more experimental on their course and learning design, but remain formally structure and tied to HR and operational systems and metrics.
This is in fact one of the main selling points of Moodle Workplace, which include:
HR System. In some places it would seem Workplace will fashion a basic HR reporting system built in. In others, the easy integration with existing HR systems is touted, without naming any specific software or ERP.
Ubiquitous training. It could mean employees can take training on their own time, on off-duty hours, or in-location if relevant.
Custom reports. Organizations can automate the generation of their vision and strategy-specific indicators through a brand new "Report Builder", which should be readily available in real time.
Automated workflows. Making the time of the company's workplace and development professional is a major theme of the software. A "Dynamic rules" tool seem that it will enable Moodle to speed up routine tasks.
Dedicated mobile app.
It offers a crisp redesign that remains professional and stays 'on brand'
While not a lot of the visual interface has been shared (except for the screens we grabbed thanks to the Moodle Users Association—see link below) we see a clear departure from Moodle's classic look and feel and the default "Boost" theme.
Many elements do come from vanilla Moodle. The improvements on the dashboard from recent major releases are there, allowing easy sorting and filtering of courses, which can be displayed on tiles or as a list.
A side panel also shows handy blocks and widgets, easy to customize: Files, calendar, online users, badges.
It adds a layer of organizational hierarchy
Depending on its setup, trainers, leaders and regular employees may see the full learning offering of the organization, including Courses, Plans and Certifications.
Organizations can now update them, add expiration dates, and keep a record of past versions of the offerings. This is essential for compliance issues.
Organization structure and users could also be accessible for all or some member of the organizations, in which case the principles of social learning could have key implications in a company's networking, talent and human capital policies and expectations.
By transporting the company's hierarchies into the software, the process of determining access and permissions is mirrored.
It debuts features never seen before in Moodle, some in LMS at all
Some of the features available on Moodle Workplace will become available for vanilla Moodle at a later date. The length of the embargo is not clear.
With Workplace, Moodle catches up with long demanded feature requests. Perhaps the most notable of all is Multitenancy. This allows a training provider to manage different clients from the same LMS without any one of them ever knowing of the others. It would also allow a conflomerate to provide unique experiences for each division, while still be able to maintain central control and provide the same content to all.
Technologically speaking, there is not a real precedent for Moodle. While there have been major project put forward (the Moodle apps, Learning Analytics and MoodleNet come to mind), they are usually iterative, open to the public for testing and feedback, and more or less rooted on Moodle's core philosophy.
Another critical diference is the almost 2 years Moodle Workplace has been in development before it's become widely available.
While there were rumors that Moodle Workplace would launch by MoodleMoot Global on November 18, nothing is confirmed. Pricing is also TBD. It would seem some of the larger Moodle Partners will be able to provide Moodle Workplace on their own hosting solution and set the rates, while others would only be able to provide a version hosted directly by Moodle Pty Ltd at a pricing point set by them.