Thursday, January 08, 2009

10 Open Source e-Learning Projects to Watch - They missed Drupal

Okay, so Drupal was not specifically created to support education and e-Learning.  However, its a powerful open source web framework that has grown a supportive developer base over the years and is getting much more user-friendly. 
I'll be posting my review of the new book:  Drupal for Education and E-Learning soon. 

But for now this post is about e-Learning Open Source Projects.  The TechWorld blog has a great post listing 10 of the most popular projects.

MOODLE gets a lot of press but the others are fairly under-represented in the blogosphere.  Have you heard of Fle3, Dokeos, or eFront?  Not me.

Sure, some of these projects are directed strictly at the academic community, but its important for corporate training managers to look at these solutions seriously.  And not because you want to test them all behind the firewall with the hopes of replacing your million dollar SABA implementation. But because these projects point to the future.

So check out the list and see what functionality each project supports.  I think you'll be surprised how many of them just might be all your need for YOUR next project. 

6 comments:

Steve Sorden said...

Claroline and Dokeos started out as the same project before one of the original developers left Claroline and founded Dokeos. My team evaluated most of the LMSs including Moodle. We eventually settled on Dokeos to manage and track our organizational learning. It's a nice product and should definitely be on the "Projects to Watch" list. They are also working on a module to integrate it with Drupal 7 when it's released.

I agree, though, Drupal would have been good to include.

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi Steve! Thanks so much for the feedback. The Dokeos web site looked like drupal and so wondered if there may be a connection of some sort. I was going to start a Drupal project, but now I think I'm going to wait for Drupal 7. (I fear upgrading ;-)

Do you have any documentation of your evaluation experience with these projects? I'm certain the e-Learning community would find your results quite helpful and interesting.

How is Dokeos working for you so far?

Cheers!
Brent

Bryan Ollendyke said...

Drupal should DEEEEFINITELY be included there! I think the problem is that people have to configure Drupal too much to be in the "projects to watch" category. We're all Drupal for all our courses we offer (10 active and growing). I've personally found it better to take a project NOT geared towards education and making it educationally focused. Too often people think to narrowly in scope when placed within a context like education. Then everything becomes "how does this better education" or "educators" or "students" instead of just "users".

Thanks for following me on twitter, like the blog :)

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi Bryan! You are SO right. I'm going to reference your comment in a couple presentations I'm giving soon.
I'm not a DRUPAL developer, professionally, but I love web development and try to keep my skills up whenever I can.
I love all technology and how we can actively utilize tech to improve learning and the transfer of knowledge.
Cheers!
Brent

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm the lead developer of Dokeos, so yes, I heard about it :-)

We've been active for quite some time and are just behind of Moodle in terms of popularity and project activity (says ohloh.net projects comparison tool).

We are also connecting more and more things to Drupal (we now have a starting Drupal 6 module and a Drupal 5 version that I have not yet put online), the objective being of offering a website with Drupal, with the e-learning portal right behind it.
The Drupal module (still in pre-alpha version) allows you to connect a Drupal with the new Dokeos 1.8.6 beta version in order to:
- get a list of courses available in Dokeos inside a Drupal block
- get a list of personal events from Dokeos scheduled for a specific Drupal+Dokeos user, inside a Drupal block

I have already discussed the feasability of avoiding authentication, and it would be possible through the use of OpenID (third entity in the Drupal+Dokeos duality)

While I love Drupal, I have yet to try what exactly the e-learning side of it is. Reading excerpts of the book and comments by users, I decided not to buy it because it seemed more like the explanation of a pedagogic way to use blogs and an intranet.

Could someone give me more details about the whole stuff?

A very simple/shortened list of Dokeos features is available here: http://www.dokeos.com/node/56
and the Drupal module is available here:
http://drupal.org/project/dokeos

This module will only work with the new 1.8.6 Dokeos version (currently beta).

I hope this helps clear the point :-)

For a blog about the Corporate eLearning strategies and development, I would have seriously hoped you would know about more than Drupal and Moodle though (there are only two projects I don't know in this list).

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi Dokeoslead,
Thanks for the update. I don't normally publish anonymous comments.

But in your case you've provided some valuable links to this conversation.

I also appreciate your enthusiasm for your project and respect how frustrating it must be to not be recognized for your efforts. I do my best to stay updated on the software and resources important to the corp.elearning community and open source has only recent, barely, hit the radar screen for learning professionals. So forgive me for not knowing that Dokeos existed. For the record there were 4 in the list that I had not heard of before.

And in case you were wondering, US corporations have only recently even entertained the thought of testing out open source Learning systems within the enterprise.

I'm happy to help promote your project to the large US corporate eLearning profession and the links you've provided are a good start. But what I'd really like to find is someone who has implemented dokeos within an enterprise environment in the US. I could definitely promote that.

Good luck in your efforts with open source and elearning.
Cheers!