Wednesday, December 19, 2012

itsLearning vs moodle

              An LMS or Learning Management system is becoming increasingly important in order to organize & deliver 21st century lessons to the students in your school district.  Wikipedia defines a LMS as a “software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content.”
              One of the more popular LMS’s out there is Moodle which a free open source LMS.  Our district used Moodle for five years before switching over to itsLearning for the 2011-2012 school year.  As a teacher I was an avid Moodle user & all of my classes used a blended model of instruction.  As the districts Moodle Administrator I managed the LMS, conducted PD for teachers, & presented on Moodle at numerous conferences.  When our district Tech coordinator brought up the idea of switching to itsLearning I was obviously less than thrilled, as I was deeply entrenched in Moodle.
              As I began to explore itsLearning from both the teacher & admin perspective I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of access, levels of control, & organized help.  As a teacher there were several features that immediately caught my eye for classroom use including video conferencing, the ePortfolios, & the student email accounts.  As an LMS administrator features like Hierarchy Management, user & profile policies, multiple interface skins, the syncing of parent/student accounts, & the install service & support were big plusses.
              One common complaint from elementary teachers was that Moodle did not adapt well for the younger students.  To get any of our K-5 teachers using Moodle was like a trip to the dentist.  They simply did not have any interest in investing the time for something where they saw limited potential.  With itsLearning’s multiple interface skins teachers have been excited to create their sites designed to the level of their students.  K-12 itsLearning is an LMS that can have a positive impact district wide.
              Our transition to itsLearning has been very seemless and the amount of teachers who are buying in has increased dramatically.  With Moodle about 20% of our 300+ teachers used some type of online/blended learning approach in their classrooms.  After seven months of itsLearning we already have 60% (214 courses) & rising now using online learning.  The Professional Development sessions have gone great with many teachers scheduling additional time during their plans to work creating their courses.  As an edtech enthusiast it has been quite refreshing to see such a positive acceptance of something new.

For more info see my webinar on switching from Moodle to itsLearning  Click here  or check out the article Explosive growth in user adoption by itsLearning.  To see examples of the different interface skins scroll on down.

With Moodle being open source, you can change your look, color scheme, etc., but you only have the one standard interface as seen below.

With itsLearning one of the great advantages are the multiple interface skins they provide including one for Early Learners.  Teachers create content using the same format, but it is facilitated to the students through the appropriate skin as seen below. (What grade levels we use each skin for is in the () below)
High School Skin (7-12)

Intermediate Skin (5-6)

Animal Skin (3-4)

Early Learner Skin (K-2)

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at