Pyramind is San Francisco’s leading institute for music production education and creative studio services.

They are specialists in electronic music production, audio engineering, interactive production and DJing, offering their courses from their San Francisco campus and online.

Challenge

Pyramind is a vocational training school which teaches subjects such as music theory, songwriting, music for video games and music business. They offer one-year programmes for anyone wishing to study these topics in depth, as well as individual classes, and have around 90-140 students enrolled at their San Francisco campus at any time.

Several years ago, Pyramind implemented online education for the first time, using Moodle to set up schedules for 350-400 active students at any one time. They decided to start selling their online courses to enable those who cannot attend the campus in San Francisco the chance to study their programmes. However, owing to complex course scheduling requirements, Pyramind needed some extra support which could not be provided by their existing Moodle support company. They also needed as a cost-effective, flexible solution to facilitate their constantly changing requirements and to support up to 1,000 students a year.

  • In a year: up to 1000 users
  • Some online classes last for months, then they’re out
  • 24 classes running at any point of time
  • 34 students per enrollment

The Solution

Pyramind discovered Totara Partner Envisiontel in January 2015, and decided to work with them to upgrade their existing Moodle platform to Totara LMS. This was an ideal solution, as the Moodle to Totara LMS upgrade was very straightforward and gave Pyramind access to the additional Totara LMS functionality.

Upgrading to another open source solution like Totara LMS gave Pyramind the freedom to customise the platform as needed – something which would be more difficult with a proprietary solution.

With 24 courses running at a time and around 34 students per enrolment period, Pyramind needed a great deal of flexibility for the organisation, classes and content. The open source approach enables them to figure out the system themselves without being tied to specific long-term goals very far in advance.

The most important feature in Totara LMS for Pyramind is the calendar. Totara LMS enables full customisation of complex programmes through the calendar. It makes it easy for course administrators to manage delayed or repeated modules, and can create courses and make updates to students’ calendars.

After taking a set number of classes, students can achieve a certificate. Totara LMS makes it easy for administrators to track complicated schedules by attaching events to single iterations of courses, helping them understand when students are on track for their certificate.

“Out of all the LMSs, the calendar system in the student systems is the easiest for them to use on the user side.” – Daniel Blum, Admissions and Program Manager, Pyramind Training

Students often take more or less than the usual one year to complete a programme, making this calendar flexibility essential for efficient course management. Students also get an up-to-the-minute view about changes to their schedules, along with notifications to ensure they always know what’s going on and when.

Results

Pyramind have been delighted with the results so far. Totara LMS has made it significantly easier for course administrators to manage complex scheduling requirements, giving them a better overview of how close students are to achieving their certifications.

As well as this, they like the great user interface, making the online learning experience far more user friendly. It also improves the learner experience by giving students the peace of mind that they always have the most up-to-date scheduling information available whenever they need it.

The Pyramind team is very happy with the great hosting and support they have received from Envisiontel, which has been a significant improvement over the Moodle support services received from a previous company.