ClassroomRevolution Helps Albany Analytical Stay Alive!
With superior Moodle hosting and support Albany Analytical is able to transform its business to meet new challenges.
In 2005 Albany Analytical was at a crucial point in its history. For over a decade, this niche consulting firm had flourished in the growing US economy, providing consulting and training in Six Sigma quality methods to the world’s largest corporations. But times were changing; travel was becoming more difficult and companies were beginning to cut back on both travel and training expenses. Traditional face to face training workshops were being trimmed out of most budgets. Penny Mondani, the owner and principal consultant of Albany Analytical, was intrigued by the opportunities of the Internet and believed strongly that e-Learning was destined to become an integral part of future corporate training initiatives.
After a frustrating and expensive eight months, Albany Analytical found a Moodle Partner, ClassroomRevolution who rescued its Moodle installation, BeeLearn.com. Just four months later Albany Analytical successfully launched BeeLearn.com in June 2006 with a full range of courses in business process improvement techniques. Within two years the Six Sigma business had dwindled, but because Albany Analytical received so many inquiries regarding the use of Moodle features and the design of BeeLearn.com they were able to successfully transform the business and began offering Moodle content development services to clients of all sizes and industries.
Ms. Mondani began her quest for software and methods to convert her training materials – and her “teacher’s voice” – to an online format. She had written detailed instructor notes before and had created self-paced training manuals for clients, but she wasn’t sure how to create an online course that would capture her anecdotes and jokes or be as engaging as her face to face workshops had always been.
Her online searches brought her to a few names, all with fantastic claims. She knew what was critical to the success of adult learning, but she didn’t know the first thing about online learning. One of the companies she contacted had nothing to demonstrate, and as she quickly learned, their “enterprise” software was completely customized; they wouldn’t even give her a quote. As the adage goes, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.
Finally, after a few such inquiries, she thought she had found the pot of gold in a small software company offering a solution that was self-contained – “in a box” – and was “just $5000”. Five months passed and it was back to square one; this “easy solution” did nothing that it was supposed to do and was miserably dysfunctional.
Albany Analytical had gone online the previous year and that site’s web designer’s search of SourceForge.net yielded Moodle as a highly-praised LMS open source application. One of Albany Analytical’s Six Sigma clients, who had just finished her master’s thesis on e-Learning, sent a study from Humboldt State University showing that Moodle held its own against the “big guys”. The right solution had been discovered in Moodle!
The web designer installed Moodle on a new site, BeeLearn.com and agreed to help Ms. Mondani “figure it out”. He suggested they create a third website to serve as a “catalog” of Moodle courses, with listings and full descriptions. This site, built in a popular open source content management (CMS) application was quirky to use, costing several hundred dollars for the web designer to install, maintain, and host.
Ms. Mondani spent the next several weeks attempting to create courses on BeeLearn.com. The pages loaded so slowly that she timed out most of the time. And this was without any student traffic! Features didn’t work as promised and links broke every day. It became apparent that the web designer could not “figure out” Moodle and he was more of a hindrance than a help. He continued to bill her for his time and his hosting fees despite the lack of performance of the site.
By February 2006, Ms. Mondani had spent eight months and over $7000 on software and labor. She had an entire binder of all the passwords, login ids, and special instructions for the components of the three websites: News, Forums, Shopping Cart, CMS, course content, etc. She had learned a lot, but had nothing to show for any of the time or money.
Things were looking bleak.
It was then that she found a Moodle Partner, ClassroomRevolution, who rescued BeeLearn.com, and through their support plan, taught her to use Moodle. Albany Analytical successfully launched BeeLearn.com in June 2006 with a full range of courses in business process improvement techniques. It had taken a frustrating eight months to go nowhere; it took only four months to go from nothing to a full-service Moodle site – once the right software, the right host, and the right people were involved.
A few months after the new, functional BeeLearn.com was launched, Albany Analytical converted the original business website – AlbanyAnalytical.com to a Moodle installation and closed out the third site. With Moodle, there was no need for a “catalog site” – features such as news, forums, content management, and PayPal enrollments – were easily accessible because they were integral to Moodle. All of that functionality was already built into Moodle, but the original web designer didn’t know that. A lot of money was spent on him, setting up sites that weren’t needed and/or that didn’t function properly and attempting to integrate shopping carts, billing software, content management, news, and forums with each other. The content management (CMS) in Moodle was so much easier to use than the CMS site and it was free with the Moodle installation!
Over the next two years, Albany Analytical received many inquiries regarding the use of Moodle features and the design of BeeLearn.com. Other Moodle users wanted to have their sites look as “clean and crisp” with “cool stuff” like BeeLearn.com! Because of increasing interest in training design and the creative use of Moodle features, Albany Analytical began offering Moodle content development services to clients of all sizes in all fields in 2008.
With CR’s hosting support, technical expertise, and Moodle know-how, Albany Analytical is able to offer even the smallest clients superior Moodle services. Through a small network of highly skilled and dedicated professionals, Albany Analytical offers copy writing, editing, research, graphics, test design, and superior course creation services to ensure that clients’ training objectives are met. Our clients reap the benefits of Ms. Mondani’s 25 years as a professional trainer, her course design expertise, and her new found passion for Moodle.
To learn more about Albany Analytical’s Moodle content creation services, please visit Albany Analytical for plans, pricing, and success stories. To view courses demonstrating just some of the features and capabilities, check out Pluto, Fort Swampy, and Sunny Hospital at BeeLearn.com!