Book Reviews

Book Review: Moodle 2.0 for Business Beginner’s Guide

Moodle 2.0 for Business Beginner’s Guide is a very solid resource for any organization exploring the benefits of administering its own Moodle site for a variety of business purposes. [blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”] This is a superb beginner guide to expose you to the features and benefits of Moodle. It provides solid hands-on practice and sound business cases.[/blockquote]As a former administrator of Moodle in corporate environments, I found this a welcome guide showcasing the business benefits of Moodle. This is a departure from the more common perspective that Moodle is a CMS specifically targeted for educational institutions. The book illustrates some less common, much more creative and complex applications of Moodle for business. Topics covered include staff recruitment, product rollouts, compliance training, continual professional development, communities of practice, web conferencing (very solid content here on evaluating and configuring options) and system integration (how to integrate tools like GoogleDocs, Alfresco, and Mahara to extend the utility of the product). Basic Organization The book is well-organized, and follows a consistent, easy to follow flow. This enables the reader to understand and navigate the resource quickly. There is a nice balance between screenshots and supporting text to guide activities, followed by thoughtful reflection prompts to help provide deeper context. As it is a beginner’s guide, it assumes no previous experience. The introduction provides superb insight into the industry landscape and addresses some key questions such as why Moodle should be considered as an option to vendor-based software options, and the viability of open-source solutions in corporate environments. After the brief, effective introduction, the book is primarily project-based. You execute the tasks to support the business goals defined by each chapter (i.e. setting up a moodle environment, create forums for recruiting, develop test questions and groups for compliance training, etc…)  Easy-to-follow instructions guide you through tasks (beginning with the headers “Time for action” and “Have a go hero”). The tasks provide some decent exposure and experiences to the tools in an appropriate business context. I think a key differentiator for the book is extending a simple step beyond leading users through the click experience. The authors prompt you to reflect on the activity (headers “What just happened?” and “Time for reflection”).  There are many technical training books that lead users through the clicks of a task but miss the critical task of reflecting. So often in technical training books, users follow the actions outlined, but miss the context because they are so focused on the steps, they don’t relate it back to the larger process. I was pleased to have found the step-by-step guide for the entire process complimented with an explicit, designed “step back and think about what was performed, and why the tasks flowed as they did to produce the result”. For even deeper (business) context, each chapter ends with a case study which presents a real-world, real-results business case for the application of the tasks performed earlier in the lesson. Each case outlines: [list style=”arrow” color=”blue”]

  • What was business problem(s) for which Moodle was chosen as the solution?
  • What was the solution and how did they arrive at the solution?
  • Why did they choose Moodle?
  • Was the project a success?
  • What are the benefits gained?
  • What were the lessons learned?
  • Do you have any adivce for future businesses which plan to implment Moodle?
[/list] Given the business focus of the book, this format is extremely effective in allowing an organization to ask the same questions about their own business cases and requirements. This should allow them to relate the the printed case to their own business and evaluate if Moodle could be a solution to provide the same benefits for their organization. I highly recommend Moodle 2.0 for Business Beginner’s Guide to any business considering Moodle (or a competitor’s tool) for their organization.