Drupal for LMS—pros and cons of the industry giant
Drupal for LMS stems right from the Drupal CMS strong foundations. Let’s see Drupal pros and cons as a learning management strategy.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system, a.k.a. LMS, is a software solution for administering, documenting, tracking, reporting, automating and delivering educational courses or training programs. This concept emerged directly from e-Learning and has been around since the late 1990s.
LMSs were developed and designed to both help learning students and train employees. It allows the administrator or teacher to use analytical data and reporting presenting all contents in an automated online platform.
This technology enables people to take both synchronous and asynchronous courses—a thing you might take for granted today, but that was quite impossible before the invention of the internet. At least with the current characteristics.
Novel learning software can even include endorsed courses and career paths, considering what you have done in the past. Think of Netflix’s recommendations but for educational purposes. Let’s just hope it is accurate.
What’s Drupal LMS?
I’ve talked a lot about Drupal before, be it its commerce possibilities or how it works as a perfect CMS. But today it is all about Drupal as an LMS. Let’s review the basics first.
Drupal is free and open-source software, and as such, it offers three key attributes: lower costs, flexible development thanks to contributions from the open-source community, and maximum security.
Drupal advantages as a CMS make it one of the best possible starting points to develop a Learning Management System. Drupal is multipurpose and highly configurable. It enables publishing articles, images, and multiple files and allows users to include forums, surveys, and blogs while managing users and permissions.
But, as we know, every light casts its shadows. Drupal can be an excellent foundation to build an LMS on top of your existing CMS, but the result can feel rough around the edges. Here are some pros and cons.
What can Drupal offer? Pros and cons.
There is no doubt: Drupal is great, both as a CMS and, almost by extension, as an LMS. Its free and open-source nature makes it inexpensive, but it has a steep learning curve requiring at least one developer on board. Its versatility and scalability make it perfect for a growing business, but you can get overwhelmed really quickly when choices start to pile up.
Some pros first
- Educational sites can be used by teachers, students, parents, friends, and guests, all with different access rights.
- An interface translated into more than 100 languages, enabling developing sites for educational institutions across the world.
- Systems are compatible with mobile devices by default and allow user synchronization between devices.
- A community of enthusiasts is constantly coming up with solutions to aid distance-learning evolution.
- Easy commerce implementation thanks to Drupal Commerce plugin and LMS integration.
What about the cons?
- A steep learning curve, but worth it. Drupal’s main issue: people run away before being able to make significant progress.
- No out-of-the-box feature. Even if Drupal 9 is trying to be more friendly to site builders, there is still a long way to go.
- It can be slow to load if not configured correctly. Not Drupal’s fault. But considering the points already mentioned, it can be hard to set up.
- Adding a module, updating the platform, and changing layout options could be easier to do. Again, Drupal worst enemy is it’s complexity that, when you master it, becomes your greatest ally.
- Not really user-friendly, at least on the inside, and overlooking the user experience is a modern-day sin.
Opigno, Wrupal, and Dokeo: Drupal’s LMSs
So I already described Drupal’s pros and cons when operating as an LMS. What about the possibilities, though? You may not want to deal with everything yourself or pay a big team of developers. Well, if you feel represented by that, let me present to you three viable options: Opigno, Wrupal, and Dokeo.
Opigno is a Learning Management System based on Drupal 8 aimed at managing online courses. It provides an end-to-end LMS solution based 100% on Drupal technology.
It offers a high-class functionality package for students and is compatible with SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model). SCORM refers to a set of specifications for eLearning, i.e., it is a beacon to follow when sharing educational content.
Opigno 2.0 is a stable, robust, and flexible tool, which is also compatible with all Drupal modules offering thousands of additional extensions. It is one of the best options to provide ready-to-use eLearning experiences these days.
Wrupal stems from world play that uses Web+Drupal. This Spanish LMS is also derived from the Drupal-based Opigno distribution and remains open-source.
It is an alternative for academies, training centers, companies, and other organizations because of its qualities: flexibility and versatility. It is functional for students, teachers, employees, clients, and businesses.
Wrupal supports the creation of virtual classrooms, individual and group training, student performance statistics, webinars, content uploading, and market available courses.
Dokeos is not exactly 100% considered an LMS platform but offers every resource for eLearning while delivering live online classes and organizing your business’s knowledge, hence being ideal as a video conferencing solution.
It was released under the GNU General Public License and can be downloaded and installed on a server or used directly from its website. Its services include an LMS solution, webinars, courses, design instructors, coaching, and compliance audits.
Before finishing up, I’ll bring to those who are never satisfied by the mainstream options some honorable mentions for Drupal-based LMSs.
- Adrenna - Adrenna Academic
- OpenEDU - OpenEDU | ImageX
- Open Academy - Open Academy | Drupal.org
- Open Scholar - OpenScholar | Drupal.org
- Course Module - Course | Drupal.org
Today, businesses, organizations, and educational institutions are more challenged than ever in trying to keep up with the quality of education and training for people at home all around the globe. That is why Learning Management Systems have become a cornerstone the same way content managers did a decade ago. Would you like to design a digital learning experience like no other? Are you ready to start the wheel of educational compound interest?