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Moodle vs Blackboard: which LMS is better for enterprises?

By  Vinny Stocker

Moodle and Blackboard are two learning management systems (LMS) mostly used in K-12 and higher education. The Moodle vs Blackboard comparison is very common among educators and training managers worldwide. Blackboard offers a variety of solutions for companies and government agencies, while Moodle is open-source and customisable by any organisation.

To guarantee success in your staff training, you’ll need a reliable LMS and professionally designed elearning solution. Determining which learning management system to use for your organisation can be a difficult job. There is a lot of choice in the market and most platforms are challenging to test drive.  

To help you settle the Moodle vs Blackboard debate, we have compared two of the most common LMS systems on the market.  While both systems have many more features and benefits available than listed, these are the most relevant and prominent in terms of enterprise priorities.

Moodle

Moodle is an open-source elearning management system, primarily aimed at assisting schools and universities in their efforts to educate their students. The Moodle infrastructure comes with a modular design that allows teachers to create their curriculum by plugging in different workflows, content, and activities. Moodle is also used by corporate organisations and Government agencies for their Learning and Development programmes.

Users may choose to have their Moodle account installed on their servers or on the cloud. A cloud-based platform offers many advantages, including flexibility, scalability, and a quick deployment process.

Blackboard

Blackboard Learn is a web-based LMS that helps students and employees develop their learning experiences in both academic and business settings.

K-12, higher education, corporations, and government are all served by Blackboard Learn. The key features include testing/assessments, discussion forums, and a dedicated user learning profile. The solution is available in three configurations: cloud, self-hosting, and managed hosting.

You don’t purchase Blackboard, you simply rent it.

However, with Moodle, you maintain full control of the code.

Two Core Differences | Moodle vs Blackboard

1. Pricing

Moodle is an open-source solution, which means it is available for free download. However, you’ll need a way to host your courses so that anyone can access them, which involves extra costs. Moodle can be accessed through cloud-hosting options, in which you are charged you dependent on the number of learners. There is also a self-hosting option, through which your team purchases and manages a dedicated server for your company. Self-hosting costs might include paying staff to manage the server and covering overtime hours to get the solution online.

Blackboard’s pricing structure is determined on a case-by-case basis, so you’ll have to contact the vendor to accurately estimate the full costs that apply to your situation. However, estimates are varied. One source states that the average cost of a license for a full Blackboard package, used by a university or school district, can go up to $160,000 a year. Another source reports one school was quoted $1,200 per student every year, which adds up to about $36k for a class of 30! Some might say Blackboard has a history of being expensive as an out-of-the-box LMS.

Pricing, of course, is subjective. Different users have different ideas of the derived value for each of these LMS choices, based on their price points. What’s clear is that Moodle, being the open-source alternative, has the potential to be cost-effective in the initial phase of development, even if there are additional expenses along the way. What’s more, Moodle is flexible in its offering, compared to Blackboard’s rigid premium offering. So pricing-wise, the Moodle vs Blackboard comparison tends to favour the former.

2. Services and Community 

When it comes to community sharing and participation, there’s no doubt open-source usually excels over more commercial solutions. In fact, the open-source concept relies on the integral, community-driven input of an army of developers, technicians, and other related specialists. It’s a key feature of Moodle because the community plays a role in progressing the system by sharing and implementing changes, adding features and solving problems.

Moodle is also renowned for its responsive support community, comprising instructional and technical advice from experienced developers. In addition, Moodle is constantly being upgraded and modified, with a focus on integration with many other digital tools. We live in a digital era where a system’s strength is tied directly to integration strength, which means Moodle is a very powerful LMS.

Blackboard does offer a good deal of flexibility and a comprehensive range of features. However, its community is not as prominent as Moodle. The system also lacks collaborative features and falls short in some aspects of integration, like email integration. However, Blackboard does offer self-paced instruction methods and a range of implementation programs and training options, along with extensive resource management capabilities to help its new and existing users.

Developers and administrators troubleshoot problems in a conventional way behind the scenes, in sharp contrast to Moodle’s communal, open-source problem-solving approach. 

Ultimately, implementation is where you find the greatest difference. Moodle is an effective LMS packed with powerful features, a great support network and affordable costs. However, you need to be very hands-on or hire a third-party partner or use cloud storage. Only Moodle or an authorised vendor can charge you for services

Blackboard, on the other hand, has a comprehensive training curriculum for implementation but is expensive. It is also time-consuming, which means that it may be lacking in convenience for business owners.  Moodle’s user community is more active outside of deployment, while Blackboard offers similar tools as well as a variety of paid services.

Shortcomings

There is no such thing as an ideal product. Both Moodle and Blackboard have flaws that should be carefully considered with students in mind.

Moodle’s one disadvantage is that it can be slightly tricky to set up and fine-tune. Most LMS options worth the time and money are usually packed with complex components for added value, but this also means there’s a bit of a learning curve. 

Fortunately, companies like Pukunui exist to help business owners and LMS users with all these issues and more. Pukunui provides LMS hosting services as well as assistance, ranging from support and training to consulting and site design for Moodle. This means you won’t have to deal with most of the confusing and painful setup procedures on your own. You’ll have expert help ready to make things fast and easy.

On the other hand, Blackboard offers a solid mix of features and solutions for educational institutions looking to set up an LMS quickly and effectively. However, it can be very expensive and take a lot of time to organise and finalise your LMS with the software provided. As such, Blackboard might not feel like the most convenient option for businesses. Some users have expressed dissatisfaction with Blackboard’s graphical user interface, believing it to be outdated and not always intuitive.

At the end of the day, both LMS options are powerful and effective systems that could power up your educational offering to the next level. Just do your research, understand the pros and cons of each option, and seek help whenever you need it. 

Pukunui provides LMS hosting services, support, training, consulting and site design for Moodle™ software along with BigBlueButton™ and Mahara™ integrations

Learn more at: https://pukunui.com/

Vinny Stocker


Vinny is an experienced educator and technologist with over 25 years of leadership experience in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. He is the Managing Director of Pukunui Sdn Bhd, a leading Learning Management Systems provider in Malaysia, where he has successfully implemented e-learning systems for some of the largest universities in the country. He is also a recognised expert in the field of Moodle, having trained hundreds of teachers on various versions of the software and regularly presenting at educational conferences in South East Asia. Vinny is known for his progressive and driven approach, as well as his ability to provide practical and effective solutions that promote student progress and learning. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, published author, and a down-to-earth and approachable individual dedicated to improving education through innovative integration of ICT.

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