General usability

In order to start working on Chamilo, it is important to understand its fundamental goals.

Chamilo has been designed to provide help and support within the application. The icons are intended to symbolize what they represent, independently of any particular language or culture. Furthermore, each icon has a “mouse-over” description. If you allow your mouse to “hover” over an icon for one second (without clicking), you will see a simple pop-up description of the icon's function (Illustration Icons label).

There is also an online help facility on most pages which appears as a partially hidden lifebuoy ring on the top right side of your screen (see Illustration Folded help) and clicking it will open a window explaining the feature you're in and how to use it (see Illustration Unfolded help).It remains in place when you scroll the screen so that it's constantly available and you can open and close it without affecting your current work. When you click the buoy, a small guide will open up, explaining the tool you're in and how to use it (see Illustration Contextual help pop-up).


At the time of writing, Chamilo is being used by almost six thousand organizations around the world, in many different languages, including primary schools, colleges, higher education institutes, universities, NGOs, small, medium and large companies.

Obviously, all these bodies and institutions tend to use slightly differing terminologies. For example, some institutions will call their courses “Training sessions”, others will call them “Learning spaces” and others simply “Courses”. This presents challenges for the design of a “one-size-fits-all” e-learning platform (or even user guide), so we have sought the middle road, and employ a simple, universal terminology which we trust will make sense to all our users.

Of course, because we understand your organization may prefer a specific terminology, we have equipped Chamilo with a way to edit any interface term from within the platform administration. (this requires administration skills and is thus described in the Chamilo Administration Guide). Should you urgently require a customization, you can ask one of our official providers for a customized language pack to be imported into your platform.

In this guide, we have endeavored to employ a universal terminology so, for example, the common education term “student” has been replaced by more neutral terms like “learner” which applies equally well in the business world. When referring to all kinds of users collectively, we have decided to use the term “user”.

This manual is available in web format and as source (see About this guide), so you can always do a quick search & replace operation to make it fit your needs. Don't hesitate to send us the updated version back for sharing with others at You'll be amazed at how this can benefit you in return, as other communities build up on your work to make things even better.

The somewhat ambivalent term “training” which had been employed in previous versions of the software has now been replaced by the more understandable term “course”, while the previously ousted term “learning path” has now been reinstated after a short and unpopular change to “course”. You will find all these terms defined and explained in the following guide. If in any doubt, make sure you check our Erreur : source de la référence non trouvée on page Erreur : source de la référence non trouvée Don't forget: you can customize these terms with the help of your Chamilo administrator (if that's you, check the Chamilo Administration Guide).

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