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The rise of the multi-tenant Moodle

Back in 2013, when LEO released its first multi-tenant Moodle instance, we thought we were servicing a fairly narrow customer segment: resellers of learning content. That seems to have changed fairly significantly in the past two years. Now, this unique VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) deployment is increasingly used as a backbone business services delivery, particularly when the product differentiation in the market is learning content.

The types of clients now using learning content as a core business service (and business differentiator) include financial products training organisations, awarding bodies for vocational qualifications, consulting businesses (including business practice and leadership), membership organisations, and hospital networks. What we once thought was a highly specialised deployment of Moodle is now delivering core B2B services fairly routinely.

What is a multi-tenant Moodle?

If you are wondering what a multi-tenant Moodle is, think of it like an incredibly efficient builder of virtual learning environments. But when I say efficient, I mean that in two minutes you can build a new Moodle VLE complete with customer branding, courses, curricular programmes and resources for cohorts/learners to join. In as long as it takes to dial a number to tell your customer that they have a new VLE ready, you have already built the VLE, rebranded it and populated it with content.

Multi-tenant diagram

From an admin point of view, the Tenant Manager sets how many tenants can be built, limits how many learners can join any given tenant, controls which courses are distributed to which tenants and reports across all of the tenants on usage/activity. In essence, our multi-tenant customers are extending their learning storefronts into their clients’ organisations – a trend that keeps growing.

Keeping up with trends

So why now? I think customers are responding to broader business trends:

  1. Content is currency – both in terms of the resale of content and the value attached to content accuracy, brands have realised that their content and learning materials can be easily monetised. Providing accurate, up-to-date and well-designed product training is a service differentiator that their customers perceive as high value.
  2. Marketing and learning are converging – product training is increasingly being considered as an extension of the overall brand experience. Companies are re-using many of the same visual assets from marketing campaigns in both internal and external product training. Marketing and Learning are aligning their messaging and approaches in order to hang onto those hard-won customers. One example we see is the timing of new learning content that aligns to wider marketing campaigns or imminent product releases. The timing of the learning content is geared to encourage new product sales.
  3. Customer training – more than single purchased product training, customer training is on the rise. B2B service providers are positioning their overall service to their customers, including preparing their customers with the skills and information they need to better use the products and services offered and even enable their customers to self-select their own products or services going forward with live interactions being devoted to higher value sales.
  4. Renewed emphasis on data security – data security never went away. But now the learning function retains more information on learners and learner experiences than ever before. L&D and IT now work together to ensure user databases are secure. With most multi-tenant systems holding all tenants as groups within a single database, the LEO multi-tenant deployment provides each tenant with their own separate and secure database which ensures database bleed can never occur.
  5. Learning analytics leads to revenue – learning analytics is helping customers make informed decisions about where to target their resources to improve both uptake and results of their programmes. The learning function now has the tools that their marketing teams have had for the past ten years: the ability to target and track learning touchpoints wherever those may be, personalise their communications based on user activity, and provide data-driven or peer recommendations as a means to encourage content consumption. After the content has been consumed, these same measurement tools enable the learning function to quickly determine what content is under-performing and make adjustments even down to the page level to improve engagement.

A tablet with a graph on it

Using the Moodle learning platform to increase revenues

Each of our multi-tenant customers are using the flexibility afforded to the open source platform to provide a consistent and secure learning experience to their individual customers or members. They are all extending their brand positions by promoting their learning expertise. And they are using the data to further enhance their offering to improve content consumption. It is fascinating to see the Moodle platform find a new market where it delivers key operational services that drive revenue generation.

LEO is the global leader in workplace Moodle implementations. As part of the Learning Technologies Group, LEO integrates the products and services from the wider group to deliver transformational results in learning and engagement.

Want to know more? Talk to us to find out how learning analytics can help your organisation.

Patrick Thomas is Product Design Director at LEO.

Want to know more?
Read LEO’s report, ‘The growing appetite for measuring the impact of learning at work’