Moodle (the open source VLE) one of the most popular VLEs in the FE sector is proving to be a real hit in the secondary sector.
The Guardian reports that:
Schools are becoming increasingly attracted to open source virtual learning environments (VLEs), according to a report by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa), which also reported a solid increase in spending on the software packages that assist the development of personalised learning.
The report, Personalised Learning in Schools, questioned more than 600 schools in England and found Moodle, a free e-learning platform, was now the second most popular in schools, but with the preference split between primary and secondary. Moodle was the virtual learning platform of choice among secondary schools and the third most popular among primaries, after Digital Brain and My Grid for Learning.
However are they going for Moodle because of the benefits of the open source system, the flexibility and the fact that it “works”, or are they attracted because they believe that it is free and are under the impression that this means free as in no cost.
Anyone who has every run a VLE realises that when you take in all the costs of running a VLE, the licences are a very small part of the overall cost of the implementation, development and operational costs of running a VLE.
Hopefully those schools which are using a VLE (and that means any VLE not just Moodle) are not relying just on the efforts of a sole enthusiast and have a scalable and costed implementation plan. Anyone can install and run Moodle (personally I have three versions running on a single Mac mini) however it is a different story when that implementation needs to be accessed by hundreds of learners from across (and outside) the institution.