All the initiatives that fit into the fuzzy umbrella of “free software” will undoubtedly join the annals of history for their role in making access to information possible for billions of people. And within this realm, it is safe to believe that Moodle will enjoy credit for how it allows students around the world to access quality learning experiences.
A post in the official Moodle blog enumerates five key facts that help us understand the present and future role of this open source LMS when it comes to shaping learning and education. These were initially discussed during a webinar that included Brian Carlson and Randy Jones from US Moodle partner eThink, along with Jeff Chidester, Director of Training and Learning at the Strategic Insurance Agency Alliance.
1. The massive confluence of contributions
Anyone with an idea and the willingness to turn it into an application can share their work for the benefit of everyone. Whether it’s the fix to a bug or a new functional plugin, the barrier to entry keeps getting lower for those who want to help and those who enjoy a constant pace of improvement.
2. The ability to account for progress
Students can build a habit of acquiring new information and skills using the broad variety of tools Moodle offers them. After a while, they will have a record of their activity, behavior and performance at the ready. Criteria for deliberate practice can turn hours of perseverance into badges and eventually certificates of accomplishment. On a personal level, it is an invaluable source of personal satisfaction and sense of advancement. On the social scope, it is the quintessential proof of skill acquisition.
3. The integration of experiences
It is only possible to account for a student’s whole path if it takes places under Moodle’s radar, but in an open world, where the “next big thing” can happen everywhere, a true hub of learning evidence must be able to interact with outcomes from other systems. This is why Moodle has embraced and advocated for standards between learning technologies. Being compatible with SCORM, xAPI, LTI, and whatever new specification comes next also means there are no artificial walls keeping Moodlers away from cutting-edge innovation, wherever it may come from.
4. The ceaseless refinement of experiences
Name the learning outcome you want to maximize–be it retention, engagement, standardized grading, or even personal accounts of enjoyment and satisfaction–and you can rest assured there is a way to study it scientifically and produce experimental data to compare with and gather feedback. Gamification is an excellent example. Whenever a new idea in digital entertainment becomes fodder for possible new applications in learning, chances are they will be tried out in Moodle early on.
5. The compatibility with further ubiquity and flexibility
It is more obvious for some than others just how revolutionary mobile technology is becoming across industries and communities. The modern learner is mobile, and this statement is not true only for a fringe or elitist segment of the population. Never before has there been a world with such high demand for education and skills. To respond, evidence is growing in favor of a reality we probably should have admitted long ago: the current structure of education systems will not be enough. As the “mobile first” youth becomes the new normal across classrooms and workplaces, Moodle is tasked with adapting and providing competitive and self-sufficient learning experiences. The immediate arena is mobile. But soon enough, Moodle ought to be ready for a learning landscape increasingly taking place through VR, AR, and the Internet of Things.