Expert Moodler Lewis Carr recently performed a future-flavored thought experiment. “What would (…) Moodle look like, if it adopted a truly simplistic design.” Something along the lines of the simple, but sexy Netflix UX. He sees, on his mind screen, tiles of courses, like the curated list of shows that alleviate your yearlong abstinence syndrome.
Click on a tile, the course opens up when you left off, with an activity ready for your completion. If a single activity per course is not enough, “why not make lots of single activities?”
Learning paths would match plot development in their level of challenge they propose. Some shows and skills that feel like comfort, you can pop ’em thirteen at a time and end up feeling great about yourself. Others, more difficult ones, take a larger analytical effort, for a more lasting reward. You take more time to process each module/episode, you are even encouraged to repeat viewings before moving on. You move on as your will lets you, to a point. Here’s Carr:
«Netflix [engineers] don’t explicitly tell me what I should watch, but they certainly sway my hand. It’s all in the presentation, and tagging. Something which Moodle can do really well.»
Whether Carr’s oneirogen is feasible in the medium term is not the point. Nor it is whether large institutions agree with his vision. Paraphrasing Moodle creator Martin Dougiamas, Moodle should not be viewed as one UX, but rather a tool to create the one you want.
And how did Netflix do its own? Through a relentless data-breathing ideology. Metrics for all kinds of viewer behaviors and reactions to user testing are gathered and crunched. Small dips in attendance is serious business, and they spare no expense to keep viewers hooked. Netflix’ Joris Evers is quoted claiming “there are 33 million versions of Netflix“. There is no reason why Moodle should not have similar aspirations.
It’s worth noting that data not only influences the surface of the Netflix experience. It pervades content development itself. Just for illustration, House of Cards was greenlit due to big data evidence of high overlap between Kevin Spacey and David Fincher.
As for an ETA to a Moodle that sows doubt on when learning ends and thrilling storytelling begins, the newly established UX research team at Moodle HQ is, arguably, a step forward.
How would you envision a future Moodle UX? Tell us in the comments below!