10 Reasons why you should use Moodle(my personal thoughts on content management system)

Question: What is the cross between beef and ramen?
Answer: Moodle.

Moodle sounds like a brand of a product for beef flavored noodle but, kidding aside, it is actually an open source content management system, virtual learning environment, or free elearning software for the rest of us. Last summer, I have had the opportunity of using it in my Introduction to Literature class and here are the two centavos worth of the summary of my experience.

1. Moodle is Free

Unlike Blackboard and WebCT, Moodle can be downloaded freely in its official site, moodle.org. Since it is an open source software, its development is revolutionary rather than evolutionary. Programmers, developers, and users around the world are working gratis towards the improvement of Moodle. Unlike other freewares, Moodle offers full functionality, 24/7 support in moodle.org forums, and simply best value for money because it is free.

2. Moodle is Easy to Use

Whether you are an administrator, educator or learner, you will find Moodle easy to use due to its graphical user interface which we are all familiar with. For example, you can include like a quiz in a given topic by choosing from the list of activities under the activity menu. Not to mention the icons specifically created to understand better the nuances of course creation under the Moodle environment. The eye icon hides and unhides a particular resource or activity. The up icon moves a resource or activity within the lesson up. It means you don't have to be a programmer in order for you to use it but you need to invest some time in order for you to familiarize and get the hang of navigating yourself in the Moodle environment.

3. Moodle is Intuitive

Due to its ease of use, many of its functions are geared toward student learning thus Moodle was designed with educators in mind. With the vast array of options to enhance learning, teachers find it very helpful. As for me, Moodle helped in a way to bridge the content gap in my class. I realized that no matter how i taught in class a particular lesson I find myself asking if what I have gave them is sufficient. Moodle's intuitive features like resource and activity pull down list makes course creation a breeze. Let us not forget to mention the endless options offered in Moodle that you can give as for students' activity.

4. Moodle is Feature rich

As I have mentioned earlier, Moodle has an endless list of resources and acitvities. As a Moodle facilitator, I have my way of "enrolling" my learners in the virtual class. I can assign an "enrollment key" to filter away those users who are not supposed to be included in my class. I can also assign my learners into groups. In relation with resources, I can create links to any content rich sites outside Moodle without leaving its environment or opening a new browser(though it can be done as an option). As for activity, here are some of the many activities found in the list forum, quiz, wiki, and workshop. You have to explore Moodle to appreciate its wonderful features for student learning.

5. Moodle has Pedagogies

Usually in the creation of educational software, nobody asked what learning framework should be its guide. Unfortunately, most commercial software are geared towards how many features it offer rather than addressing the obvious. How will the learners learn while using it? As for Moodle, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, and Connectivism are all adopted as for its pedagogy. It means to say that knowledge can be built and developed through constant interaction and cooperation. All the more that knowledge is processed then therefore learners are also immersed during the process.

6. Moodle is Student-Centered/Active Learning

Many believed that learning occurs in the structured set-up wherein there are classroom, teacher, and a group of students. Inside the classroom the usual approach is the teacher gives lecture, quiz and homework and then the students listen, answer the quiz and prepare for homework. Using Moodle gives teachers another alternative for students to learn independently and interdependently by giving them the opportunity to study online. Students learn how to assimilate and process information(as in Constructivism), and also learn to cooperate and interact with one another while engaging themselves in student centered learning activities like wiki projects, workshops and forums(as in Social Constructivism). Students learn while fulfilling tasks set upon by the teacher in Moodle.

7. Moodle gives Instant Feedback

Using Moodle, gone are the days wherein you have to manually correct student papers . Students who took their tests , quizzes , and projects in Moodle can view their grades and results almost instantly. All teachers need to do is to assign how students are to be assessed and just choose an option of points(let's say the total score for an activity is ten or one hundred). When teachers and students are all simultaneously logged in, they can give and read their comments and replies using chat and forums in real time.

8. Moodle is Integrated

The learning resources, activities and features are modular which means it can stand alone but they are also designed to complement each other. Examples are: the default news forum can be complemented with the calendar which is offered as an optional block. Resources like text and web page can be complemented by uploading files like podcast to enhance the learning experience of your students.

9. Moodle is Multi-functional

The Moodle environment offers feature rich elements starting with the block elements like calendar, student activities and text upto activities like chat and forum and wikis. Since it is not exclusive unlike commercial softwares , Moodle supports operating systems like Linux and its other versions. Moodle can be used also as a project collaboration site, news website, school portal, and the list of possible uses is limited only to the users imagination.

10. Moodle is Interactive

Whether you like it synchronous or asynchronous, it will never be a problem when you use Moodle. It is designed to engage learners to participate and collaborate with one another. Elements like chat and forums are there to instill the value of active participation and self-initiative. Projects like wiki and workshop helps learners to study the inner workings of the ideas found in a lesson and to study it with others interdependently.

I end up by saying that when you experiment with Moodle and use it, you will not benefit yourself but your students too. Just don't take my word for it. Try it! :)


paloma said...

Thanks for the nice "Top Ten" for using Moodle. I teach 9th grade Scripture classes at a Catholic High School and I whole-heartedly believe that active learning is the way to go. I'm new to blogging,wikis,etc and am setting "tests" on edublog and wikispaces. I think I will add Moodle too. I hope it can handle 150 students.

John Michle said...

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