I believe Moodle Workplace is going to be one of the biggest and most exciting developments in learning technologies in 2020 with Moodle making a move into the workplace with a vengeance.
Sure, Moodle has a significant position in the market and we already have seen the success of the Moodle derivative Totara, but the arrival of Moodle Workplace is still hugely exciting for LMS and learning platform followers like me.
Unlike core Moodle code, Moodle Workplace is only available through Premium Moodle Partners such as eThink Education.
Over their 12+ years of providing Moodle, eThink has become the largest Moodle Partner in the world. As one of the few official Premium Moodle Partners, they have the ability to host and service Moodle Workplace which non-Premium Moodle Partners cannot. Their ability to configure Moodle Workplace to meet very specific need sets combined with their high-touch customer service model make for a very intriguing solution.
The Moodle HQ team has obviously paid close attention to the corporate learning technologies market and crafted a major new upgrade and product extension onto the already powerful Moodle ecosystem.
I have dug deep into Moodle Workplace looking for the messy compromises and quick and dirty fixes and I cannot find any. Yes, Moodle Workplace is a work in progress, as are all LMS (and if your LMS vendor does not have a development pathway, be very afraid – they have either given up or been acquired).
The development of Moodle Workplace has been quite deliberate in its focus and very good in its execution, building on Core Moodle effectively without compromise and there are a series of key areas where much of the work has been done.
Moodle Workplace Theme, UI & UX
Moodle Workplace has a new and modern theme – the workplace theme that delivers an engaging and appealing UI and UX. From the get-go, the dashboard is nice and informative, giving the learner a really lovely feel of control with much more well-presented detail available than in the usual and too often over redacted Netflix view of learning.
Push notifications really work, appointments have their own “register feature” and there’s a real recognition that workplaces work as teams. This UI works and works well.
The Mobile App for Moodle Workplace is really nice and adds to the flexibility and an enhanced mobile learning experience that is well designed indeed.
Naturally, within the Workplace theme there is an awful lot of flexibility in what you can do with the UI and UX in terms of appearance, colours, branding, layout, language packs and more.
No more WordPress front ends and expensive hand coded solutions to make a Moodle look good for a corporate now.
For administrators, the UI and UX has also been comprehensively thought through and that is very welcome and very important as Moodle Workplace has some exciting new features that have long needed to be addressed, and as I remarked earlier in this review this is emphatically not a messy compromise.
Here we are talking administering multi-tenancy and organisational structure. These have long been the Achilles Heel of Moodle (and well-known derivatives).
The admin UI and UX is an excellent example of making life efficient for those hard working LMS administrators.
We will look a little more on the wider UX later in this review.
Multi-tenancy (and organisational structures)
The Moodle Workplace multi-tenancy solution is very robust, can support multiple different use cases and is well thought through, with powerful but easy-to-use set up and configuration workflows.
This is really apparent in the organisational structure (hierarchies, workflows, automations) that Moodle Workplace now has and all too often were the deal breakers for organisations with detailed structures and hierarchies but who loved how Moodle made learning work so well.
Well, what is particularly good news is that Moodle now offers a fully flexible configuration option set that is very granular and capable of meeting most organisations’ needs, alongside powerful business logic features and, even more significantly, the ability for each tenancy to be configured differently.
Very neat and potentially very useful for training businesses and those looking for extended enterprise solutions.
More on the UX – Moodle Workplace calls these Learning programmes
You may want to call these Learning Pathways, but they are a little more than that. There is lots of flexibility around learning programmes and multiple groups with the business logic feature set allowing the flexibility to make sense and be used quickly for maximum benefit.
This means courses can be shared across multiple tenancies while learners are hermetically sealed in their specific tenancy. You may smile at this, but this feature for a training business or extended enterprise is actually crucially important.
What this focus on Business Logic brings to Moodle Workplace is efficiency and pragmatism. Learning Programmes (groups of multiple courses) can be created, scheduled and managed with real time-saving ease.
Certification, re-certification and time bound certification management can be automated quickly and easily with dynamic rules to populate certificates with expiry dates as well as a verification page with URL to ensure certificates are genuine.
Building further on the efficiency approach (and with a healthy dose of pragmatism) is reporting. This is some of the best reporting I have seen.
It is very clear, auto scheduling is easy, drag and drop around what you want is even easier and there are multiple export options. The auto-scheduling functionality includes the ability to push reports on a recurring basis to specific departments are members of a specific hierarchy with custom messaging.
Moodle has always been open and Moodle Workplace still is very open to integrations with other systems, and an API is available to allow integrations specifically into HRIS even at the tenancy level, which will prove very useful.
Unlike Totara, Moodle Workplace is staying aligned to the wider Moodle project and if you are operating Core Moodle it is quite possible to benefit from the features of Moodle Workplace with a little help from an approved Moodle Workplace vendor (or Premium Moodle Partner).
Summing Moodle Workplace up
Moodle has long been a hugely impressive collective movement that has transformed learning in the digital world across the world. Moodle Workplace builds on that and does more than fill in the gaps and deal with the frustrations of using Moodle in the workplace.
Moodle Workplace is a new and exciting entrant to the corporate market on its own terms that delivers an industry leading UI and UX alongside a platform built for efficiency and learning effectiveness.
Moodle Workplace has now really narrowed the gap in features and is showing the way in UI and UX. There are not that many use cases left where Moodle Workplace cannot deliver, so if you are a training business or delivering training internally in your organisation it should be on your list.
So, if you are interested in Moodle Workplace (and it is a very good solution, I hope you agree), you’ll be pleased to know that it is also a very competitively priced solution.
Therefore, my advice indeed is you need to get in touch with a Moodle Premium Partner to see the product for yourself. If you need a recommendation, I have no hesitation in advising you talk to eThink, who were kind enough to provide Learning Light with such a good demo and visibility into Moodle Workplace.
As mentioned above, eThink is the world’s largest Certified Moodle vendor, so their team has years of expertise there when it comes to set up and configuration and getting the absolute best from the whole Moodle ecosystem.
They are also a truly global vendor with unlimited LMS support across the world’s time zones that really does deliver on their service-first mission. Ask to see the stats around their average response time to support tickets!