10 Differentiators Between Open LMS and Self-Hosted Moodle™

Moodle™ is one of the most popular learning management systems (LMSs) in the world, with a presence in over 245 countries and more than 41 million implemented courses to date.

Open LMS cherry-picks the best attributes of Moodle™ to offer a unique platform in the LMS market. Open LMS accomplishes this by adding the flexibility, tools, content, and integrations required to create exceptional learning experiences. This is possible thanks to the possibilities of open-source innovation, as well as the guarantees and advantages of a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering.

That said, a common question we often hear is how exactly are Open LMS and self-hosted Moodle™ different if they share the same base technology? This article lists 10 differentiators between the two solutions.

1. User Experience

It’s become increasingly important for platforms to have an intuitive and innovative user experience (UX). Open LMS uses Snap, a graphic theme designed to increase interaction between users and content.

Although Snap is open to the Moodle™ community, Open LMS provides support to maintain the graphic theme. In addition, Snap is constantly updated to improve theme accessibility, ensuring that all types of end users can utilize it. Open LMS also supports other themes such as Boost or Classic, which offer customers more flexibility and customization in their user experience.

2. Automation

Through automation tools, Open LMS seeks to optimize the time it takes for admins and teachers to manage the platform. The goal of the tools is to complete tasks that administrators would otherwise have to perform manually. Two of the most notable are the Personalized Learning Designer (PLD) and Conduit.

i) Personalized Learning Designer (PLD)

Instructors can use PLD to automate course elements and personalize learning for users. They no longer have to manually perform tasks such as following up with students, enrolling them in upcoming courses, recommending training, or managing priorities. The platform will automatically complete these tasks.

There’s a perception that online education instructors lack the tools to customize lessons and content according to the needs of each student. That’s simply not true. In fact, PLD enables diagnostic testing to customize the course content for students according to their test results.

ii) Conduit

Conduit is a tool that enables other systems to integrate with Open LMS at no additional cost. For example, both CSV sheets or RESTful web services can be used to automate the registration of students in the LMS once they enter the system. Likewise, the migration of grades from an LMS to student information systems (SIS) can be automated. Conduit is ready to use and is maintained by the Open LMS team.

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3. Integrations

Open LMS expands the features available in self-hosted implementations of Moodle™ using extensions and integrations from a network of technology partners. These integrations include:

  • Analytics solutions for learning, reporting, and e-commerce via Intellicart and Intelliboard
  • Interactive video creation tools from Kaltura
  • Interactive video creation tools from Instilled
  • A comprehensive catalog of eLearning resources from Go1 and OpenSesame
  • Platform accessibility tools from Blackboard Ally
  • Videoconferencing solutions to enhance classroom interaction and collaboration from Class
  • Plagiarism detection tools from Blackboard SafeAssign
  • Academic integrity and online monitoring technology from SMOWL Proctoring
  • Open LMS migration tools created by K16 Solutions

Combining integrations with an LMS such as Open LMS brings sought-after and customized solutions for users. Open LMS can deliver a limitless learning experience with these types of integrations.

4. Centralization

Open LMS not only seeks to improve the experience for the end users, but also for people who manage the LMS, whether they’re administrators, teachers, instructors, or others. To this end, systems are implemented to facilitate the creation and updating of content within the platform.

Specialized modules such as the Centralized Content Manager (CCM) enable centralized content creation. Thanks to the CCM, instructors can update the master content of a course—the content is then automatically updated in other courses where the instructor had previously replicated the information.

5. Flexibility and Scalability

The current needs of your institution or organization may change completely in the future. A flexible and scalable platform is needed so that your platform can adapt to your future growth.

A scalable LMS means that the system architecture enables peak usage with short-term and/or additional licenses. Open LMS offers the necessary flexibility so that you can expand or reduce the scalability of the product according to your needs.

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6. Mobile Application

The Open LMS mobile app is also based on open-source Moodle™. However, it offers both free and exclusive new features. Some of these features are listed below.

Free Open LMS features:

  • Push notifications
  • QR code authentication
  • Offline working mode (users can download complete courses)

Open LMS-exclusive features:

  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Calendar synchronization with users’ calendar

As an optional extra, clients can customize the application to match their brand and tone of voice. That way, end users can download it from their device’s app store by searching for the name of the institution or company, which ultimately leads to better brand awareness.

7. Multibranding

In addition to the branding service (where clients get advice from UX experts to design the ideal learning experience), Open LMS also enables multibranding. This feature can be used to customize the design and content according to previously established categorizations, even if administratively they remain under a single instance.

The multibranding feature is of great interest to institutions or organizations looking to customize their designs for their different departments or faculties. For instance, a university would like the LMS design for its medical school to be different from that of its law school. Likewise, corporate companies would want the sales department’s eLearning to look distinct from the engineering department’s course content.

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8. Plugins

Plugins are complementary programs that can be added to an LMS to include or improve features. Plugins are very valuable in online education, as they help solve specific use cases that an LMS may not be able to solve on its own. With so many plugins available from different developers, it’s of utmost importance that they’re reviewed and endorsed by professionals. If the programmer of a plugin is unknown and its code is not reviewed, it can represent a security risk to your information and platform.

Open LMS integrates over 1,000 plugins, all reviewed and approved by a team of experts. Wiris is one of our customers’ favorite plugins. It enables a math editor that facilitates the creation of equations for math, physics, chemistry, etc. that would otherwise be impossible to visually demonstrate.

9. Security

Instead of leaving the burden of security to the institution or company, Open LMS has established a defined process and certified data centers. A team of experts makes sure that standard security measures are implemented (for example, ensuring that each user can only have one open session). Self-hosted implementations of Moodle™, on the other hand, allow a user to maintain multiple simultaneous connections with the same credentials.

While Moodle™ is an ISO 27001-certified infrastructure, Open LMS is currently in the process of obtaining a certification for the application architecture. The certification guarantees that the information is secure at all levels.

10. SaaS

In comparison to Moodle™, which can be self-hosted (meaning the institution or company must take care of the servers and infrastructure), Open LMS is a cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) application. SaaS products do all the “heavy lifting” by taking on the entire technological and security management, taking the burden off the customers’ shoulders. This includes platform maintenance, integrations, and code updates and upgrades.

Many companies or institutions using self-hosted implementations of Moodle™ are considering switching to a SaaS service, as it does a better job at providing support and resources that greatly impact digital learning and teaching.

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Open LMS vs Self-Hosted Moodle™

Both self-hosted implementations of Moodle™ and Open LMS have been on the market for quite some time and are well established in the industry. However, multiple aspects differentiate them.

In contrast to self-hosted Moodle™, Open LMS expands its features by leveraging the best of open-source innovation and the guarantees and advantages of a SaaS service. In addition, we offer industry-leading customer service which features 24/7 support, a substantial library of online resources, and a multinational team of experts.

Open LMS is a stand-out option in the LMS market. We have all the tools, content, and integrations required to create personalized and meaningful learning experiences for users.

Want to see these 10 differentiators in action? Contact our experts and see for yourself how Open LMS is the solution that your organization or institution needs.

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