My school had Moodle for several years.
yes it was free, but it looked really boring and empty and actually just looking at the thing was enough to turn off both staff and kids.
Then they paid out several thousand pounds for Fronter which had two major effects:
Because it cost money, therefore the management took it seriously and gave people responsibilities and organsied proper training.
Also, because Fronter automatically populates every class from SIMS - so people did not spend all their time copying childrens names onto group lists - like in the more basic VLEs. Instead they spent their time producing colourful resources.
In our school Fronter became "mainstream" where Sam Learning Moodle etc had been the preserve of a few staff (well 2 actually and no kids that I know of)
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