If you stop learning, you risk losing positions on the labor market. Many business owners know this, so they keep the their employees' skills up to date. Innovative learning management systems (LMS) organize the studying process, making it accessible for learners. If you build your own educational platform, you will help hundreds of business owners develop and support their businesses.
At AnyforSoft, we strongly believe that Drupal 8 is the best option for building an LMS from scratch. Here, we describe how to develop a learning management system, what benefits it brings to the business, and how much funding such development would require.
The purpose of Modern LMS Platforms
The learning management system (LMS) is a type of software which allows the sharing of information and controlling the studying process within an educational program. Students have access to study materials and can pass tests, while teachers and admins track the students’ progress and share their knowledge. An LMS is part of a broader e-learning concept, which focuses on efficient electronic education.
Building an e-learning website doesn’t have to be complex, it can be just a simple informational platform. We have all used e-learning at some point, be it a YouTube tutorial, or a wikiHow article. Learning management systems are highly interactive platforms with different user roles - users can track their progress and communicate with mentors.
User roles in the LMS:
- A teacher (trainer) who prepares the learning material and gives feedback.
- A learner who studies materials and passes tests.
- A system admin who has access to the entire system and can make changes from the admin panel.
- A reporting manager who acts on behalf of a company and monitors the progress of employees.
5 Advantages of Learning Management Systems over Traditional Education
Why would an entrepreneur invest in building a new LMS? The answer is simple: organizations find it more beneficial to use online platforms rather than traditional educational methods. You will understand your staff better if you know how they think and what they want.
- Reduced costs. Working with an LMS means no printing materials, renting classrooms, or paying a teacher's travel costs. Company owners can save more money for their marketing activities.
- Single data source. All course materials are stored on the platform, in a neatly organized file system. More importantly, students can access these files from any device, including mobile.
- Transparent result tracking. Investing in education, business owners want the highest possible return. An LMS can track learner progress. If one person lags behind, they probably need more supplementary materials. If the entire group has low results, certain lessons might need to be improved.
- Convenient updates. Teachers can easily add or modify material, and the changes will be immediately available to every student. This is a strong contrast to the traditional approach, where entire textbooks had to be reprinted, and students received updates individually.
- Broad socialization capabilities. A modern LMS will allow users to share content and achievements via social media. This is useful during the learning process as students can share their questions and progress with like-minded people.
Here are a few examples of businesses that benefit from e-learning:
- A real-estate company teaching its brokers. Employees in this industry must master sales techniques, and be aware of legislative regulations.
- An in-home care company teaching its nurses. To be prepared for client demands, nurses receive supplementary training.
- Offline educational courses providing students with additional studies. Extensive programs require more time spent on learning, so part of the teaching process goes online.
A company in any industry can benefit from online education, so you’re on the right track if you want to create your own LMS.
How to Build A Learning Management System on Drupal
No matter how good your LMS looks once it is developed, each user will have particular demands, so your platform should be easily customizable. Drupal allows for the creation of agile and easy-to-use web solutions, enabling students and teachers to enjoy each moment of studying. The following features will help developers achieve this goal.
1. Delimitation of User Profiles and Roles
We’ve already mentioned several user roles typical of learning management systems. These are necessary since different users require different access rights. Drupal allows setting several user groups out of the box, such as “authenticated user”, “anonymous user”, and “confirmed user.”
User profiles should allow users to fill in different data. For example, teachers may have additional or more advanced fields. Drupal has a number of modules for this purpose, such as Multiple Registration where users are divided into general users and hosters (ie, students and teachers.)
2. Organization of Online Classrooms
Virtual classrooms must preserve the “feeling” of an offline community. Drupal developers offer an Organic groups module for this purpose. With Organic groups, each group consists of subscribers. For example, students can have their own community which is not accessible to other users ("selective groups”), in addition to a homepage where they can write blogs or stories.
Another tool is Group, which has everything you need to create organic classrooms on a website. The teacher is an admin creating content, while students have access to this content. You can also create forums for participants to ask questions and discuss tasks.
3. Content Adding
Just adding text materials to the website is not enough for a well-organized LMS. Teachers should be able to easily navigate through the content, and be able to upload and modify images, music, folders, etc. All of this can be achieved by a Drupal module called IMCE. It seems as if IMCE was created for learning management systems: teachers can resize pictures, create private and public folders, sort content by several categories, in addition to many other options.
4. Content Classification
The Taxonomy module is part of the core Drupal functionality, so is pre-installed with the Drupal platform. The module’s name is self-explanatory: it allows you to sort all kinds of content into classified clusters. In this case, it can keep educational materials in order.
The Taxonomy’s work is based on vocabularies, which are big groups of data. Each vocabulary contains a set of terms. The content is finally displayed as a well-organized system with themes and subthemes.
5. Management of Video Content
We haven’t mentioned video content yet. It is important for an LMS platform to at least allow the embedding of files from video hostings (such as YouTube or Vimeo). Developers use Video Embed field since it detects links from a number of providers, allows the adding of thumbnails, and provides responsiveness.
Texts, images, and videos are not enough when it comes to modern education. When a student is constantly on their device, engagement must be kept high. To help teachers create additional content types, developers use modules such as Quiz and Votingapi Widgets.
Quiz was specifically created for either an LMS or standalone educational activity, so it has everything you need in one place. It offers different types of questions, the ability to add feedback (manually or automatically), the ability to display scores and statistics, etc. The teacher’s work can be also graded by students with a simple star rating. Votingapi Widgets allow developers to easily add this functionality to any content type and customize it in different ways.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Drupal LMS?
What will the development process look like, and how long will it take, if you hire a dedicated team? Each project is unique, so we can’t pinpoint the exact amount of time needed to accomplish a certain stage, but we can provide approximate numbers:
- Business analysis - 50-100 hours
- Website architecture (optional) - 50-100 hours
- Design - 40-80 hours
- Front-end and back-end development - 60-120 hours
- Testing - 20 hours
If there is additional work needed for management, content creation, and code reviews, a preliminary time scope may reach 500 hours (around 3 months.) The hourly rates of Ukrainian developers vary between $30 to $40, so the cost to create an LMS with Drupal can be around $15000-$20000. Contact our team, and we will gladly provide you with a more precise estimate, and additional details.
The world is changing quickly, which means knowledge gained at school is not enough for solid professional skills. Farsighted company owners are investing in staff education now in order to have more advantages in the future. This makes learning management systems a wise investment for startups and enterprises.
Today, we outlined how to build an LMS with Drupal. This CMS works miracles with its set of tools and modules: it both speeds up and simplifies the development process. Platforms built on Drupal allow for easy customization and intuitive user flow. This is how we see a quality educational platform, and we can prove it by translating your ideas into reality. Use the form below to contact our manager or click here to schedule a call.