Techworld

10 open source e-learning projects to watch

Choices for e-learning the best option

As corporate and government organizations embrace the Web for delivering more education and training programs, a wealth of free and open source e-learning applications will help lower the barrier to entry. TechWorld looks at the options.

ATutor

ATutor is a Web-based learning content management system (LCMS) designed for accessibility and adaptability by the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at the University of Toronto. ATutor claims to be modular for new looks and functionality.

Like Moodle, ATutor is a PHP application with some 25,000 registered installations. With ATutor instructors and students can manage the courses they teach or are enrolled in, send messages to other participants, create workgroups and collaborate on courses, blog, share and track content, and store files among other things.

Web site: http://www.atutor.ca
Licence: GPL
Commercial support: Project home
Developed with: PHP

Claroline

Claroline is an e-learning and "e-working" platform allowing teachers to build online courses and to manage learning and collaborative activities on the Web. Claroline was started by the University of Louvain in Belgium and since 2004 the research centre of ECAM has also been collaborating on its development. It is now available in 35 languages.

Claroline is organized around the concept of "spaces" related to a course or a pedagogical activity. Each space provides a list of tools that enable creation of learning contents, management of training activities, and interaction with other students.

Web site: http://www.claroline.net
Licence: GPL
Commercial support: http://www.cerdecam.be
Developed with: PHP

Dokeos

Another Belgian e-learning vendor is Dokeos, which produces an open source e-Learning suite of the same name. Dokeos provides learning management, Oogie Rapid Learning for building online courses from existing systems like Microsoft PowerPoint, reporting that can be exported to Excel or an enterprise business intelligence suite, and videoconferencing for virtual meetings and classrooms or training sessions.

Dokeos has a number of customers in the corporate enterprise and government space, and is growing a community of developers writing third-party extensions.

Web site: http://www.dokeos.com
Licence: GPL
Commercial support: Project home
Developed with: PHP

eFront

eFront claims to be an easy to use e-learning and "human capital development" system, making it suitable for both company and educational usage.

The flagship product of Epignosis, an e-learning company based in Greece, eFront enables "community learning" and supports the principles of "collective knowledge". Organizations using eFront include the Greek Ministry of Public Order, and the Polish Ministry of Interior.

Version 3.5 is in beta and claims improved stability and speed, extended courses management, a new Ajax-based file manager and functionality, and core functions have been rewritten to take advantage of the object oriented features of PHP 5. Also new is a PayPal payment module and the ability to install eFront without any Web server or "Documentroot setup hassle".

Web site: http://www.efrontlearning.net/
Licence: CPAL
Commercial support: Project home
Developed with: PHP

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