In a growing world with growing education needs, one would think that systems like Chamilo or Moodle would have a continuous growth ensured, year after year.
Well, this is certainly true for Chamilo LMS
(for now), as it is apparently gaining about 100,000 new users per month (average over the last 12 months), but I am a little in shock at how Moodle is (since a year or so) loosing a considerable amount of sites and users over the last 12 months. It's a bit difficult to track, because Moodle stats site doesn't show any evolution of amounts over time (anymore), but thanks to our beautiful internet, you can use the Wayback Machine
to get the data as it was years ago.
A warning to the reader: I am an active Chamilo evangelist and this is in no way an objective, scientific analysis of the situation.
This isn't to say that I am inventing the existing data. It comes from reliable sources and should be consider as such for all intended purposes.
So, just for the sake of the data, here is how both projects are evolving in number of sites and users over the last 4 years (almost the full life of the Chamilo LMS project). This article is written in June 2014, so the last two lines are pure speculation. The rest, however, comes from real data from Moodle's site (and the Wayback Machine) and Chamilo's database.
|mid 2015? (linear projection based on last 12m)
|mid 2016? (projection based on last 12m)
[caption id="attachment_3773" align="alignright" width="300"]
Stats: Moodle usage vs Chamilo usage from 2011 to 2014 + projection[/caption]
The last two lines are an obvious flame. There is no way this could be like this, but if it were (and it's a linear projection based on the last 12 months from now June 2014, it could be curved projection), then these would converge in number of sites by June 2016 :-)
As always with statistics, there are important things to know about both projects, and while Moodle is a great tool, it is still somehow a friendly rival to Chamilo, but in an ever-growing world with easier installers and cloud computing, I would expect Moodle to continue to grow... pretty much endlessly. Not sot.
A few years back (in June 2012), the Moodle stats page still offered a graphical representation of the number of Moodle installations around the world, over time. You could (at that point) clearly see a Gauss curve reaching the top and starting to go down. However, the numbers here show that even then it managed to grow an additional 13M users (and 18K sites), but then between June 2013 and June 2014, it just stalled in number of users, and literally dropped 22K sites, to lower-than 2012 level in terms of sites. A little bit later than June 2012, the chart was removed (I guess they didn't like showing the dropping Gauss curve, huh?)
Sure, that also means that most of these sites had a very low number of users (or something like that), as this only went with a loss of 600K users overall (so 30 users per site, on average).
Or maybe Moodle stats just changed their algorithm at some point, dropping thousands of sites that were not really active?
Chamilo and Moodle statistics are bound to be somewhat imprecise, anyway, as they rely on a series of relatively subjective parameters that are interpreted to try to guess if the sites are still active or not.
Plus Chamilo is still clearly not getting to the number of users Moodle has (we're only at 10%), but the tendency is that we are growing fast enough and that, if it continues as in the last 12 months, we should be crossing
Still, this leaves you thinking... Free software (no barrier to adoption), free or very cheap hardware, growing world population... why did it drop? Will it continue to do so?
Well, that just leaves me with an excellent marketing opportunity, to tell you that, if you want to try Chamilo out, you can test our recently released version 1.9.8 on https://campus.chamilo.org
I think a lot of tire kickers who jumped at the Freeware description disappeared as soon as they saw how much work they had to do to utilize the product in a way that delivered quality education or enhance it to a level comparable to other easily available LMS.
True, but we're talking 20,000 sites here... that *is* a lot of tire kickers :-)
Unfortunately, the statistics from Moodle are far away of being accurate.
Just imagine about Moodle in Germany.
Nearly every school in Bavaria gets Moodle installed for free, and all the pupils are already imported in the system.
Means: dead users in a dead installation.
And the same goes for other districts in Germany.
Our politicians made big words about lifelong learning, and finally we ended with some senseless eLearning installations without support...
On the other hand, Chamilo lets the admin decide if the statistics are submitted or not.
I have installed (or helped to) about 50 intranets, which can't submit statistics :-)
So, these statistics might not be as reliable... ;-)
For the sake of the truth, since version 1.9.0, the sending of stats to the Chamilo Association is automatic, and the option on the admin panel is only to know if you want it to be public or not.
This has been published in the changelog of Chamilo 1.9.0 (as soon as it was developed, around two years ago):
<blockquote>System: The stats collection of Chamilo.org is now automatic. If you want to disable this feature, edit admin/index.php and look for fsockopen() (#5104)</blockquote>
Regarding the fact that all schools in Bavaria gets Moodle installed for free, this is also the case for Chamilo in the region of Aix-Marseilles, South of France (370 schools or something like that) with our support (as BeezNest), but there is some pedagogical support there, so they're not all empty spaces (I'm sure this is not the case for Moodle either, although the adoption rate tends to be lower in our experience).
It will also probably soon be the case for the region of Grenoble, and maybe also other regions around the world soon. It is also the case for our ancestor software in Spain, where all customers of the biggest telephony company can have it installed for free.
So I believe the argument is not really relevant here. It is just a matter of time and effort before this spreads to much larger numbers.
If we could pull these regions in the Chamilo adventure, with Moodle already in place, then we can definitely live up to the expectation of getting a much larger space in the e-learning universe in little time from now.
It's important to remember that registration of a Moodle site is completely optional, and likely the majority of sites choose not to register on https://moodle.org/sites/. Moodle continues to improve the process where registered sites are verified to ensure they're genuine and active, and this may explain the flatness of the grown curve in the last year. It's also not unreasonable to assume that given the heightened awareness about privacy in the last year many sites may have opted to not register or deregister their Moodle site.