07 Aug 2015

7 Reasons Why Moodle Should Be Your Preferred LMS

Forget about all proprietary LMSs, vendors shoving their LMSs down the educational institutions’,  corporates’, and edupreneurs’ prefrontal lobe (a region in the brain responsible for decision making). All claiming that their LMS will result in measurable learning achievements, with ROI and all that nonsense. If you have been long enough in the ( e )learning domain like me, you should know that LMSs don’t make much a difference in learning outcome. Yes, you should evaluate LMSs based on your learning needs, but that’s just it, learning needs change and evolve to fit the perpetual needs of your school, university, or corporation. This is why you need an LMS which is generic, adaptable, versatile and open. Some edtech vendors claim that their product supports collaboration, others communication, another instructor-based. Still more claim that their LMS is interactive (although interactivity has little to do with achievement). More vendors claim that they have conducted (biased) research proving (yeah!) that their LMS resulted in a corporate’s ROI, a school students’ achievement because of its “personalization features”. I have always pointed out to educators and learning specialists that there is a continuous push and pull between pedagogy and technology; each affecting and reshaping the other.

As an educator, I fell in love with Moodle because of its continuous evolution, openness, versatility, and adaptability; a Swiss knife that works great if you know which tool to use for the right reason and the right time. Whenever I hear the word “Moodle” it incites the warm, fuzzy feeling of a great environment to enrich and optimize learning. Below are 7 reasons (out of many others) why Moodle must be your preferred LMS.

1. Openness

Moodle’s openness means that it is open source (free), and will always be, and that anyone can tweak Moodle to fit their institution learning needs. All you need is a robust Moodle hosting service with good technical support and you shouldn’t worry about a thing. You have to have a Moodle admin among your personnel to manage the whole Moodle site however. And now, with the SaaS (Software as a Service) is on the rise, you shouldn’t worry a bit about the technical glitches, support etc.

2. Versatility

Did I mention above that Moodle is like a Swiss Knife? Well, it’s an evolving Swiss Knife. Although it has a tool for every intended activity/task/objective, its tools always get better, and more varied. All of this is thanks to Moodle’s regular upgrades based on users’ feedback and suggestions. Moodle is packed with features that you do not find in any proprietary LMS provider. Take my word for it. You only need to know, and teach with Moodle for some time to realize how versatile it is. I have tried and taught using many other LMSs at universities, schools, and professional development courses. LMSs like Docebo, Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Canvas, Edmodo, you name it, None got close to Moodle versatile Swiss knife capabilities.

3. Adaptability

Being an open source LMS means that anyone can adapt Moodle to their needs. There are some edtech companies that have built their LMSs on Moodle or Moodle distribution (e.g. Totara, Joule). Totara for example is a customized Moodle distribution that targets the corporate sector. Well, you don’t have to go this far to adapt Moodle for your needs. All it takes is some planning in terms of matching the feature you need to the learning outcome you wish to achieve. Then, you can have someone, a freelancer, one of your IT personnel, a Moodle service provider or a Moodle partner to add that feature or plugin. For example, why would one need to use Edmodo, a social approach to an LMS largely adopted by K12 school, while you can have all it capabilities in Moodle? (I will publish another post showing how this can be done)

4. Bridging the Digital Divide

Now, this is one of my favorites “bridging the digital divide”. By definition, the digital divide is the ability for some students/learners to access technological resources easily while others cannot, or can only do it sparingly. Since Moodle is open source, thus it’s free, thus it is less expensive to install and deploy, the technology fee incurred on the institution and thus the learners/students will be much less. I recall in the days when we were considering to use Blackboard for our students, the price tag was so expensive that we had to reconsider the tuition fees. Educational institutions many times adopt proprietary LMSs like Blackboard and Canvas because they give a feel that their institution is of a high stature. I asked this question to my professor when I was doing my masters degree in edtech and TESOL. He said that using a proprietary LMS gives a sense to the students and faculty that this university is prestigious. It has nothing to do with adaptability, engagement, etc. it has to do with prestige. Yet, still some prestigious universities use Moodle ( AUB, Open University, ASU etc.) because they believe by using Moodle you feel at home. You have the sense that you own the LMS not that you subscribe to the LMS. You have the sense that you can mold it the way you want, and as you see it fit.

5. Support Community

You will never find a more responsive, more diverse, and larger support community than that of Moodle. Head to Moodle community now and you will know what I mean. The support comes mainly from users around the globe who use Moodle like you, and there community moderators who support and respond very efficiently from technical to pedagogical aspects of Moodle environment. Unlike other propreitry LMS, users are the ones who take charge more than the platform support team. You directly feel that you are with like-minded people at Moodle community who have closely similar objectives and who are willing to share and support each other. There is even research community on the impact of Moodle or how research impact how Moodle is developed. However,  support community is not only confined to moodle.org, many blogger, tweeters, PLCs have created their own presence online to help other users to teacher with Moodle.

6. Omnipresence

Moodle pops up in all learning sectors, in the health care, k12 schools, corporates, universities, freelancers teaching online, you name it. Moodle’s highly adaptable inherent characteristic makes it fit for all learning needs. Moodle is also present around the globe (at least those that have registered), in multiple languages. In fact, there are many Moodle users whose language is not English. The omnipresence of Moodle, in terms of sectors and geographical locations, makes it the unbeatable LMS.

Moodle seems has the most users in the Learning Management System market. It currently boasts an estimated 73.8 million users. Edmodo comes in second and Blackboard rounds out the top 3, with around 20 million users each

Elearningindustry

moodle stats

Moodle is also second in terms of number of satisfied customers (remember that it is open source, and so it relies on the Moodle provider or whoever is managing Moodle for supporting customers).

Not to forget that Moodle has been consistently chosen by many reviewers and critics as one of the top learning tools/ LMS consistently every year. It has been chosen by PCmag as the best LMS in 2015.

 

7. Moodle is now Mobile

With the ubiquity of mlearning, Moodle developers have met the Moodle users’ needs by developing Moodle Mobile. Although it has limited functionality now, this shows that Moodle is on the right track and that more developments will see light in the near future. Few days ago Moodle announced the Moodle Mobile 2.0 with

it’s a completely new app built from the ground up, and you’ll soon notice a cleaner-looking, snappier app with some cool new features

 

mobile-app

 

Do you have some additional reasons why Moodle should be everyone’s LMS of choice? Share your reasons in the comments below !

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