What do you like best?
Moodle has a wide range of functionality providing SCORM compliance, quizzes, completion data, badges, lessons, books etc etc. It is relatively easy to install and has an active support forum.
The platform is robust and mature with some excellent plugins including Office365 authentication, instructor led class bookings, a powerful database builder with notifications (used for online custom course bookings) and a rich custom SQL reporting tool.
Once you know your way around the administration tools the Learning Management System is quick to maintain and quite easy to extend with a little custom PHP or MySQL databases using Dreamweaver and Navicat.
What do you dislike?
Despite the Report plugin reporting can be tricky and the underlying database is not documented very well with the database schema complex and hard to follow.
The software developers release updates very often, almost once a month it seems and you have to keep it current otherwise you can run into problems when upgrading over a few versions (and you cannot let the installed version grow too stale without running into browser compatibility issues and security problems).
Although Moodle has lots of themes and plugins available, many of them cause problems when not supported in updated versions of Moodle so its not worth using them with a PHO developer to hand.
It can be hard to get away from slightly cheesy Moodle look with extensive CSS code and tweaking.
Recommendations to others considering the product
1. Determine what reporting you need, what are the KPI's and groups of users to be reported on.
2. If you will self host you will need basic html, web server, MySQL and PHP skills, not too advanced but a little.
3. TSOhost.co.uk provide very good cheap hosting for Moodle sites, and have great support but you need no. 2.
4. Don't get too carried away with custom themes, often they are buggy and are not supported with upgrades.
5. Think through how you be authenticating users, how will they sign up?
6. Be wary of allowing just anyone to create accounts.
7. For public sites plan on frequent upgrading for security, so limit PHP customisations to avoid future bugs.
8. Others may disagree but the best and most robust platform is Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP.
9. Whilst the Moodle Books and Lessons are ok for e-learning they lack interactivity and can look unprofessional.
10. Use Captivate or Storyline to author content rich trackable SCORM e-learning on Moodle course pages.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Whilst Moodle is aimed at educational use, it is a very good LMS for business applications. I have deployed it to:
Securely authenticate users to Instructor led course pages with PDF manuals for download and certificates available for each course (e.g. Word Excel etc) and well as provide an interface to a course schedule database.
Provide SCROM training needs analysis e-learning and content for end users.
Deploy public e-learning to a secure group of client users authenticated by email domain suffix with certification exams and certificates all essentially automated.
Host internal staff e-learning and content for both technical and soft skill training.
Offer a dedicated staff candidate portal with competency tests from pools of questions, CV upload and interviewee notes on each candidate.
The essential business problem is how to provide online content securely with interactions that can be tracked. The Moodle benefits are flexibility, relatively low costs, ease of use, rich support forum and wide user base. The aspect to bear in mind is that PHP/MYSQL developers can be sourced and assist with custom development if needed.