Pros and cons of Drupal for eLearning

Academic institutions need to build a solid and powerful website for their alumni. Let’s see the best and worst of Drupal for eLearning.

Guadalupe Lareo
5 min read

Modern learning, modern challenges?

Institutions have always needed to think carefully about their infrastructures. After all, these buildings are their day-to-day scenarios and a presentation letter for the newcomers. Every decision is important: the floor, the walls, the windows, and even the plants. For example, would you choose a slippery and delicate floor for a school corridor? No, unless you want your students to fly in the air and their parents to go through the roof. A robust and resistant option would be way better, right?

 

The same goes for the virtual world, where you build according to your needs. In the case of academic institutions, they need to focus on having a website that can enhance their students' learning experience—an equivalent to the floor that can handle tons of people but virtual.

 

How can we achieve this? Here is when we say the magical word: Drupal.

The books, the notes, the pen... and Drupal.

Drupal is an open-source Content Management System widely used among many academic institutions. The University of Oxford, the University of Toronto, and the University of Minnesota are among the long list of universities that choose this CMS.

 

But why? What’s the deal behind it? We tell you. Drupal lets you create simple to complex websites and applications. It's like a master tool to build a fully customized and robust virtual campus. Either way, we know that each project has its own demands. Before starting your Drupal adventure, you should study the pros and cons to make the best decision.

Let’s start with the pros!

  • Adapt to any viewport: people will navigate your website from desktops, tablets, and (more frequently) smartphones. Drupal offers a responsive design that adds extra and needed flexibility in these modern days.
  • Make your path: Drupal's wide range of integrations adapt to any requirement. Colleges can have live chats, cross-promotion between platforms, and social media posts on their main page.
  • Everyone is welcome: your students shouldn't be virtually crowding together during enrollment day. You should be able to build scalable sites that can handle your entire alumni, families, and pets, all at the same time.
  • A solid community: what tool can be better for a university than one in which learning is at its core? Drupal is based on the open-source philosophy of collective work and community. Also, as we mentioned before, plenty of universities and schools use this CMS. Many of them will be more than willing to exchange knowledge with you!
  • Talk to everyone: Drupal allows you to translate your site to more than 100 languages! This possibility is great if the college has international alumni or exchange programs. At the same time, a single codebase can be used for multiple websites, so managing more than one campus isn't a problem.
  • Security comes first: users can rest assured that Drupal provides seamless security, so you don't have to worry about data leakage.

The dark side (also known as cons)

  • Steep learning curve: I won't lie to you: Drupal can be hard for beginners. Many feel discouraged and leave before making any progress. The most important thing is to be resilient; once you master Drupal, it will be your best friend.
  • Unfriendly interface: Drupal isn't intuitive (quite the opposite). On a brighter note, the intricate UX can be somewhat arranged with plug-ins that make our lives easier. Sadly, the additional help can have an extra cost and need to be chosen according to your case.
  • It may require extra help: due to the complexity of the CMS, it's not something we average janes and joes can build alone. I mean, imagine having to construct an entire university. It would be out of the question. You would call an architect before even daring to grasp the idea. For the same reason, it's better to reach out to a software factory to create a solid website.

 

My advice? Rely on a group of devs to create the website, and ask them to explain the interface to you and your team. They know the CMS like the back of their hands and will be the right guide.

The final decision

Are you in two minds? I understand. No wonder so many academic institutions choose Drupal, benefits are second to none. This CMS creates robust and powerful websites that can handle any college's virtual building. But: is it the right path for you? As you see, wherever there is light, there is also shadow. All the pros come hand in hand with three big cons that you should consider before hitting your head against a brick wall.

 

At the end of the day, there isn't a fixed or unique recipe. Take your time and don't make snap decisions; consider all the cards on the table. And, if you are still curious or decide to go for this CMS, don't hesitate to tell us. At Awkbit, we are Drupal experts and would be happy to help create a unique website for your institution.

 

Would you like to build your virtual campus with us?

Reach Out!

Sources & further reading

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