Project: An interactive and advanced learning management, content creation and content display system for effective conduct of classroom teaching and learning.
Our client wanted to set up an online network for the exchange of knowledge between professionals. A platform that would serve as an ever-expanding knowledge repository. The teachers, professionals, and mentors who registered with the portal would be able to contribute to the repository creating an ecosystem of shared knowledge accessible not only to students, but to the educators and professionals themselves. Additionally, our client wanted to the solution to serve as an online tool to facilitate formal certification programs.
The portal was required to be designed and developed supporting the following major functional areas:
- Content management
- Database management
- Membership management
- Learning management
- Communication management to include mail, blog, chat, and forum
- Relationship management
The following factors determined the selection of technology:
- Limited budget
- Non-proprietary technology/freedom from vendor dependence
- Scalable, robust, secure, and search engine optimized system
There were three options to developing such a portal.
- Use commercially off-the-shelf systems, COTS.
- Develop from scratch or use a combination of COTS and development.
- Use open source systems.
The COTS systems evaluated were cost-prohibitive and did not meet the client’s expectations and developing a solution from scratch would require more time than we had to meet project specifications. At this point we looked to open source solutions and were able to identify mature solutions that met all the project requirements. Utilizing these solutions we were able to architect a system that integrated 3 open source solutions (a CMS, LMS and CRM) that met all the project requirements while accommodating the clients budget and project timeline.
Having decided on the open source technology, the next major decision revolved around the architecture of the system. Designing a system, which deals with CMS, LMS, and CRM at the same time was a concept never tried before. Decisions such as the system workflow process, how to use the selected components, how to put them together, how and which parts of these components should be talking with each other, data exchange details between the components and user interface design were crucial aspects of the system architecture.
The system was required to serve many purposes – create different projects, exams, quizzes and assignments, content upload, one-on-one messaging.
Our designers, architects and system engineers at Web Access have created the system using all of these components together
Integration of all these components and custom development to integrate the components to make the entire system more versatile resulted into creation of a new LMS. The LMS has, since it was developed in 2009, seen many implementations and customisations to suit client specific needs.
Tools used: Drupal, custom CRM.