The Open Source revolution: low-cost, no cost - too good to be true?

Price: £195.00
12 July 2013

Booking Information:


How should you procure the technologies to support learning in your organisation? There’s a vast array of LMSs, authoring tools and other technologies to choose from: Exe, Ilias, eFront, Moodle, Xerte to name but a few. A day of practical case studies, sharing experiences and your chance to join the debate.

Video credit: Doug Belshaw

The key questions we expect to be looking at on the day are:

  • Are there any examples of open-source software that isn't designed for geeks?
  • When is it a good idea to look at open-source software?
  • How can we make open-source software work in our organisation?
  • Why would you choose software that doesn't come with any support?
  • What are the objections your IT department may raise about opensource and how to address them?

This workshop will be useful to:

  • In-house L&D staff under cost pressure to get more from learning technologies
  • L&D practitioners (both in-house and consultants) who want to offer a wider blend of learning than classic self-paced e-learning
  • People who are frustrated that the proprietory softwares they use for learning are not flexible enough/customisable to their needs

Connect with participants on


eFront - a robust learning platform, with enterprise, education and open-source editions.

eFront logo

Speakers and Panel Members

Mark Aberdour

Speaking on: An introduction to open source elearning tools

Mark looks at the explosive growth of open source learning technologies and showcases the top 10 open source tools that learning and development professionals can use in developing and delivering their learning programmes, and provides some guidelines for how to pick a good open source tool.


Mark Aberdour is Head of Learning Platforms at Epic. He has over 15 years’ experience in elearning production and tools development and has overseen the development of open source services divisions at several elearning companies including Epic. Mark is a regular contributor to open source projects and speaker at open source events, and has worked on over 100 open source learning technologies projects across both private and public sector organisations.

Barry Sampson

Speaking on: Open Source LMS - Wouldya? Couldya? Shouldya?

In the past year, Barry has worked on projects to procure and deploy a variety of learning management systems - commercial and open source. In some cases the decision to go down the commercial or open source route was clear from the start, and in others the two were considered side by side. In this presentation he will share his experience, contrasting the two different approaches and highlight some key decision points in the selection process. He'll close with a glimpse of what he sees as the future of the open source LMS.


Barry is a director and co-founder of Onlignment, an organisation committed to the transformation of learning and development into something results focussed and practical. He works with clients large and small to help them select and use the best tools for their needs. He was previously a board member of the eLN.

The 80:20:10 rule for selecting Learning Platforms (pdf)

LMS RFI template (xlsx)

Ken Ingram
Head of online - Civil Service Learning
Ross Mackenzie
Ross Mackenzie is an education technology consultant working with higher education organisations and suppliers. He has over 20 years experience using, developing and deploying in-house, commercial and open source software systems, and of driving the adoption of new technologies in teaching and learning. Until recently Ross led the Learning Systems team at The Open University.
Tom Phethean
Lead Drupal developer - Cap Gemini
Doug Belshaw (Doug will be presenting "virtually")
Badges and skills lead - Mozilla Foundation
Julian Tenney
Julian Tenney manages the Learning Innovation Team in Learning Technology at the University of Nottingham, and leads The Xerte Project. Julian has worked in the development of interactive learning materials for fifteen years, with a particular interest in building tools suitable for non-technical users. The Xerte Project began as a personal itch in 2004, and has grown into a highly successful open-source project with users and developers all over the world.


09:30 – 10:00 Registration and refreshments
10:00 – 10:30 Introductions (to the table and the day) & Doug Belshaw video (5 mins)
10:30 – 11:05 Mark Aberdour (An introduction to open source elearning tools)
11:05 – 11:20 Coffee break (inc. exercise to get questions for the panel session)
11:20 – 11:55 Barry Sampson (Open Source LMS - Wouldya? Couldya? Shouldya?)
12:00 – 13:00 Panel session (Ross McKenzie, Ken Ingram, Tom Phethean, Mark Aberdour & Barry Sampson)
13:00 – 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 14:00 ELN messages
14:00 – 15:30 Workshop activities (see below)
15:30 – 16:00 Key takeouts

Workshop activities

Rotation – 3 groups

1) Build a responsive learning module using Xerte Online Toolkit
2) Edit a video with Mozilla Popcorn
3) Introduction to eFront
4) Moodle hints and tips
5) Open conversations with the panel