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MAY 2013 | WORDS | Sally Clough


Going mad for Moodle E

-learning and Moodle have grown up together. Few who saw either of them fi ve years ago would recognise the quality of what can be achieved today.


There are many defi nitions of E-learning but in the more traditional sense of the word, it involves self- paced learning, either by CD, intranet or internet. It may include access to instructors through online discussion forums, bulletin boards and email. Or, it may be totally self-contained with links to reference materials in place of a live instructor.


Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS), sometimes known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). ‘Open source’ means software that has its code freely available for users to access, modify and redistribute. Moodle lets teachers, trainers and administrators manage online learning and training. The CMS can be used to deliver courses online or to support face-to-face teaching and learning. Moodle can also be enhanced with modules for assignments, quizzes, grading, certifi cation, social and collaborative learning.

What is a Course Management System (CMS) A CMS is the framework for delivering and managing instructional and educational content. It delivers the content and tracks the progress of the learner. It collects and retains data for reporting to supervise the learning process for an individual or an organisation.

Who uses Moodle

Moodle is used by more than 68 million registered users via 79,000 sites managed by education establishments, corporations, governments and charities in 232 countries. The largest customer in the UK is the Open University with over 600,000 users. Moodle is available in 78 languages, giving it a global reach.

Why have we chosen Moodle as a

platform for our E-learning? Well fi rstly, Moodle is ‘open source’. This means the software is free to the public to use and develop which in turn means that when we develop courses, we can keep the costs down as we don’t have to pay a licence for the platform. Secondly, if you take a look at these statistics, we think the answer is pretty clear.

Moodle Statistics Total Users Registered sites Countries Courses Users Teachers Enrollments Forum posts Resources Quiz questions 79,382 232 7,306,765 68,631,754 1,293,414 62,401,145 122,881,995 65,877,826 175,049,979

Top 10 countries by registrations

United States Spain Brazil United Kingdom Mexico Germany Columbia

Portugal Italy

Australia 13,324 6,927

5,805 4,252

3,358 3,212 2,333

2,267 1,890 1,890

Who develops Moodle Moodle is developed by a community of developers, educational technologists and Moodle HQ, under the guiding hand of founder and lead developer, Martin Dougiamas. Moodle is maintained by a core group of developers. The public has access to details of maintenance and new development work at tracker.moodle. org and forums provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss functions and features.

The benefi ts of Moodle The idea behind Moodle is to give educators the best possible tools for managing online courses and learning materials. Its key benefi ts include: • It can be deployed across large organisations, to an unlimited number of learners, while being just as useful for small groups or even one-to-one training. • Courses can be run completely online or alongside traditional, face-to-face lessons/ lectures. • Students can access learning materials at any time and from anywhere with an Internet connection. • Moodle can easily integrate specifi c modules such as wikis, forums or databases to generate a learning community.

What are the key advantages of using Moodle

Collaborative learning is a very powerful stimulant for learning, not only by bringing people closer together but also by promoting deeper refl ection and re-examination of existing beliefs. The design of Moodle is guided by a particular philosophy of learning - “social constructionist pedagogy”. From a constructivist point of view, people actively construct new knowledge as they interact with their environments.

By using Moodle it gives the student control to help them: • Extend their learning time • Adjust the pace to increase their understanding • Work fl exibly and interactively • Access materials that are always up- to-date

Over one million teachers around the world deliver lessons using Moodle, the world’s leading E-learning platform. It is used in 232 countries and by universities, schools and in-house trainers. Its potential for your business is amazing. Find why OPP chose this software for its new OPP Training programmes

What Moodle can be used for • Provide resources • Send announcements • Submit work • Have discussions • Provide quizzes • Platform for interactive learning • Provide a ‘deep approach’ to learning • Social presence online and interaction with other students

How do we use it We use Moodle to provide the best possible resources for our learners. Moodle easily lets us do this by providing us with the tools to: • Clarify and provide learning outcomes for the core of the course • Explain the subject • Give examples of the subject • Provide sources of knowledge (reading, visual, sound) • Let the students practise the activity • Take a quiz to demonstrate understanding and reinforce learning

Viewing the course on Moodle Moodle has a feature called ‘lesson’ which lends itself perfectly to the structure of our courses.

The courses are broken down into smaller sections to promote learning and these are called topics.

These sections are interspersed with summaries and questions and quizzes to test understanding.

Live Chat We positively encourage students of our courses to join the chats and forums. The students can use the live chat feature of Moodle to communicate and share ideas and solve problems.

Forum publications

Forums can be helpful to students to share and comment on information. Many types of documents can be uploaded to the forum, not just text.


There are many ‘plugins’ available for Moodle. One we add into all our courses is the feedback form. This allows students to complete online feedback forms using a variety of input methods. We take feedback seriously and this method helps us improve our courses.

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