“… as a platform that comes with a great set of bricks”-Tomaz Lasic
What is Moodle?• Moodle is a software package for producing internet-based courses and websites. (www.moodle.org).• It is a “free source e-learning software platform, also known as Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle).
Community Users• It supports 50, 000 learning communities• Over 9 million users in over 200 countries• It is offered in over 80 languages
Philosophy• Moodle, or Modular-Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, is a well-known and widely-used Learning Management System that embraces a social constructionist frame of education. It is designed with pedagogy and technology in mind to allow educators to deliver quality online courses (Momani, 2010).
Philosophy Continued…• The social constructivist theory postulates that learning is a social activity and that learners construct new knowledge by interacting with their environment (Aranda, 2010). According to this approach, teachers are facilitators of information and not the source of information.
Constructionism vs. Constructivism• Constructionism holds that learning is effective when constructing something for others to experience (Moodle, 2012).Bers (2012) argues that “constructionism carries an interventionist perspective because it not only aims at understanding how knowledge is constructed, but also aims at designing learning environments to produce a mindset change” (p.2).
Moodle Origins• Moodle has evolved out of Martin Dougiamas’, PHD research “An exploration of the use of an Open Source software called Moodle to support a social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning within Internet-based communities of reflective inquiry” (Moodle, 2012b).
Pedagogical Factors Course Course Activities Objectives Students’ Progress Tracking andSelf-Assessing Monitoring for Feedback for Users Teachers for Users
♦Areas of Improvement• “Some development may be needed for robust handling of MathML and enhanced tracking features” (Momani, p.1, 2010).• According to Dougimas, “as the technical infrastructure of Moodle stabilizes, further improvement in pedagogical support will be a major direction for Moodle development” (Moodle, 2012).• Konstantinidis et al. (2011) suggested that the Moodle’s layout has to be changed and “an improvement of the user interface is necessary” (p.24).
Benefits and Criticisms: What Does Research Say• Konstantinidis et al. (2011) conducted a study on the teachers’ and students’ perceptions on the effectiveness of Moodle.• The instructor-based evaluation of Moodle revealed that “Moodle was highly accepted by the instructors as a helpful and useful system for their educational needs” (p.23). The instructors that participated in the study outlined possible issues that need to be addressed such as help with how to post and organize their materials and Moodle’s screen layout.
Assessing Moodle: What does Research Say• The student-based evaluation revealed that attendance is high among the participants registered for courses in the Moodle platform. “More students use Moodle to download material and be informed of a course than attending the course lectures in class” (Konstantinidis, 2011, p.25).• The weaknesses identified by the students in the study were“the on-screen organization of information, the appeal of the user interface, and the slow response time from instructors” (p.26).
Research continued…• Commenting on this last issue, the Moodle’s interface, Konstantinidis et al. (2011) argued that “if students do not like the interface, they are more likely to abandon the system” (p.28).
Comparison between Moodle and other Learning Management Systems• “The eCASE environment was developed by the MultiMedia Lab fulfilling research needs. Its design follows the principles of cognitive flexibility theory’ (Konstantinidis, et al., 2011, p. 21). There is a difference in encoding between the two LMS. eCASE uses ISO-8859-7 and Moodle uses UTF-8 (Konstantinidis, 2011).• A study conducted by Beatty & Ulasewicz(2010) revealed that students that had prior experience using Blackboard favoured the use of Moodle over Blackboard.
Suggestions for the use in the classroom• Since it is free to use, the teacher can post supplemental readings for the students as well as interactive homework quizzes. According to Maikish (2006) “In using Moodle this way, students are learning how to operate various online modules such as online quizzes, online discussions, and online journals” (p.32).• Makish (2006) suggested other uses of Moodle: as an assessment tool for teachers, as a mechanism for communication and to track their progress, and as a tool to post class handouts and PowerPoint presentations
References:• Aranda, A.D. (2010). “Moodle for Distance Education.” Disatnce Leanring, 8(2), pp. 25-28.• Beatty, B. and Ulasewicz. “Online Teaching and Learning in Transition: Faculty Perspectives on Moving from Blackboard to the Moodle Learning Manageemnt System.” TechTrends. 50(4), pp.36-45.• Bers, M. U. (2012). “A Constructionist Approach to Values through On-line narrative Tools.” Retrieved May 08, 2012 from http://aumni.media.mit.edu/~marinau/ICLS98.html.
References:• Konstandinidis, A., K., Papadopoulos, P.A., Tsiatsos, T., and Demetriadis, S. (2011). “Selecting and Evaluating a Learning Management System: A Moodle Evaluation Based on Instructors and Students.” International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 9(3), pp. 13-30.• Maikish, A. (2006). “Moodle: A Free, Easy, and Constructivist Online Learning Tool.” MultiMedia and Internet Schools. 13(3), p26-28.• Moodle. Retrived from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle
References:• Moodle. (2012a). Background. Retrieved May 08, 2012 from http://docs.moodle.org/en/Background.• Moodle. (2012b). Philosophy. Retrieved May 08, 2012 from http:docs.moodle.org/en/Philosophy.• Momani, A. (2010). “Comparison between two Learning Management Systems: Moodle and Blackboard.” Online submission. Retrieved May 08, 2012 from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED509728.pdf