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Case Study: Time Tracking in LMS Platforms

General context

One of our clients needed to track students’ time on their LMS platform.

The company had a Moodle ™ platform managed by an external provider.

They had installed the “Attendance Register” plugin on their platform but encountered several problems.

In this article, we explain how we were able to help this company with its requirements.

Scenario

The company had a Moodle ™ v3.8 platform, with the “Attendance Register” plugin installed.

This platform had more than 500 courses and nearly 30,000 users.

The activities most frequently used by the platform’s instructors are:

  • H5P content.
  • SCORM packages.
  • PDF documents.
  • Live classes with BigBlueButton (BBB).

Most courses do not have a defined duration and are part of a continuous training process.

This means that in several courses, there are students who have been participating for more than one year.

The company’s human resources system connects to the LMS platform to periodically consult users’ progress in their respective courses; additionally, this system needs to consult the time each user has spent in each course.

Main use cases

This company offers training to both customers and employees, so it has various courses and certifications.

One of its main requirements is to guarantee certain governmental entities that students who obtain specific certifications dedicate a certain number of hours.

Additionally, students should only submit some quizzes after spending a specific number of hours.

Each certification process has different requirements, and the system must conform to the guidelines dictated by the regulatory institutions.

Finally, the human resources system makes frequent queries, so the LMS platform must update the data in real time.

Issues reported

The following is the list of problems reported by our client:

  • During the testing phases carried out by the company’s audit team, it became evident that the times reported by the platform were not accurate.
  • The calculation of time was not done synchronously.
  • The Moodle ™ scheduled tasks system was taking more than an hour to run the process related to the “Attendance Record” extension.
  • Students could not see the time spent in the course in a friendly way.
  • One of the main drawbacks was when users watched videos or read PDF documents that did not require user interactions; in these cases, time was not reported.
  • It was a bit complicated to set up access restrictions to certain course content based on time commitment, especially if different rules were involved; for example:
    • Allow access to a course section when users have spent at least 30 minutes in the course.
    • Allow access to an evaluation only when users have invested at least 3 hours in the course.

At the technical level, we also found several drawbacks, specifically at the performance level; however, we will not go into this aspect in depth.

The solution implemented by Solutto Consulting

To comply with the company’s requirements and resolve the incidents, Solutto Consulting took the following actions:

  • All content was migrated from the LMS platform to our Solutto LXP platform; these were the reasons for this decision:
    • Solutto LXP has a set of extensions that meet the specifications required by the customer.
    • Solutto LXP offers a significant improvement in usability, especially for students.
    • Solutto LXP uses Moodle™ as its code base and has a constant update process that ensures we use the most recent stable versions released by Moodle™.
    • Our infrastructure is optimized to support a high volume of traffic.
  • We install and configure our time tracking extension package, which provides us with:
    • Record the time spent by users in real-time.
    • Show the user their time spent in a clearer and more user-friendly way.
    • Establish access restrictions to specific sections and activities.
  • We made sure to offer compatibility with the “Attendance Record” extension; this allows us to use our pack of plugins without modifying previously configured courses.

It is essential to highlight that we implemented a migration strategy in which we made sure to test all use cases in a test environment before proceeding to deploy the productive environment.

Final notes

Our pack of time management plugins is available for installation on any Moodle 3.11x and 4.0x platforms.

We invite you to visit this link to learn more about these extensions.

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