The brief was to deliver an E-Learning Portal that would be easy to use for both students and teachers.
It needed to manage monthly subscriptions, support different course types and users, track students' progress and support two-way student and teacher communication.
The first challenge was to deliver the right E-Learning solution. While we knew many LMS systems could bring together the management of lessons, courses and certification, finding a tool that would meet the scope and allow two-way communication between the teacher and student would be more challenging. Students needed to reach out to their teachers for help, and each response was to trigger an email notification.
The next challenge was the payment system, which would need to be versatile in managing standard products and selling recurring subscriptions.
We also needed a way of managing who could see what across the website. For instance, when users signed up, the system needed to grant them access to their purchased courses and revoke it when their subscription expired.
Parent users needed to purchase courses for their children. This required child users and parent users to have different account types and roles while having a relationship between them. For example, the child user would sit the course while the parent user would be the registered guardian and manage payments.
We use a reputable LMS system from Joomla, which reduces build time and ongoing maintenance fees. It provided broad support for documents, media files, and slides and offered helpful reporting screens for teachers.
Student-teacher communication was more challenging as it came with some specific requirements. It allowed teachers to announce homework to students in a particular class; each student could upload their homework privately. Teachers could comment personally on the student's submitted assignment. Students could also ask for help via the Ask a Question form below their assignment or their student dashboard. A live chat facility is also available, providing immediate support and assistance.
We needed a way of allowing students to sign up and access a chosen course for a given duration. The answer was to use a native e-commerce subscription tool as it tied seamlessly into Joomla's access control.
The subscription works by setting the period, cost and then assigns the user to a user group for a said duration. This user group allows for welcome emails and expiry notices, homework and teacher/student communication.
The access control defines what user in a particular user group can access. It allows a user who has purchased the English course item to access the English lesson and support areas. These can also be set across the system in any resource, allowing the system to be versatile and extendable.
A child user needed to be associated with a parent account, and a parent needed to view their child's communication and lesson progress. We developed a component that allowed the parent to switch their user to their child's account. It also allows parents to create and manage multiple child accounts under one subscription. Or like a course administrator, who can buy, view and track team members' progress sitting a particular course. Or to put it another way, a manager can manage their team accounts. Each team can have its own LMS learning data while managed under one subscription.