Moodle in 2032 (part 1 of 2)

Joseph Thibault, Founder and editor of Moodlenews, recently posed this question.

Joseph asked a number of our staff to contribute to his report ‘A look at the past, present, and future of Moodle’ (you can find the full report online). https://www.moodlenews.com/moodle-in-2032-the-past-present-and-future-of-the-worlds-most-popular-lms/

Here are some interesting extracts from our ElearningWorld staff:

First Joseph asked about the previous 15 years of Moodle.

  • What is the single most important thing the Moodle community has accomplished in the last 15 years?

Gareth: “Open source learning for all.”

Justin: “Without a doubt, it is bringing online education and all its benefits to students right across the world. It’s the Moodle community members who have driven adoption in so many institutions. The teacher has a need that Moodle can fulfill and just gets started. Then it takes off like some sort of beneficial virus and pretty soon the whole place is running Moodle.”

Stuart: “In the early days, I might have said making Open Source a viable option for an LMS. But realistically that battle is now won. [Free and open source software] doesn’t scare people anymore, and the huge benefits of this openness are generally understood.

The Moodle community is such a huge concept. Do we mean the people on moodle.org? Do we mean every teacher that uses it? Do we mean the developers and the decision-makers who adopt it?

Each group has their own needs and desires, and they can be very different. A community of school teachers, is different to a community of university professors, which is different to a group of multimedia designers, which is different to a group of non-for-profit or commercial course providers.

Luckily Moodle has the Tracker, where anyone can add a feature request or enhancement and report bugs. However, it’s only a very small percentage of people that use this. I’m still amazed by the variety and depth of discussions in the moodle.org forums, which I could read for an hour every day and still not keep on top of. I am still surprised every week by the generosity of contributors who help others – probably more than any other online community I belong to.”

  • What features are most important to Moodle today, in your opinion

Gareth: “Flexibility, ability to adapt to your “user stories” rather than enforce them all.”

Justin: “It is still really the basic features in my opinion, html editor, assignments, quizzes, gradebook, backup and restore. But a close second would be the ability to extend Moodle functionality with plugins. The modular architecture of Moodle enables rapid adaptability to new technology and innovation in pedagogy and technology. And more simply it allows users to contribute to Moodle, tailor it to their needs and make it their own.”

Stuart: “If I think about why organizations might adopt Moodle, ultimately, it’s because it’s a secure, scalable solution, containing a variety of useful teaching tools – a mature product with good documentation and a supportive community.

Exactly which features are most important to you depends largely on who you are. For some it will be the reporting tools, for others the quiz engine, for others the mobile capabilities.

The requirement for Moodle to be the best solution in very diverse situations does create tension. The various Moodle spin-offs have tried to address this, by tailoring to specific situations. Can Moodle be everything to everyone? Well it can, but it has to put a lot of work into making the interface sensible and appropriate for all uses. It does a reasonably good job given how complex and sophisticated in it.”

  • What’s your fondest Moodle community memory? (e.g. story from a Moot, from the forums, meetup, collaboration, etc.)

Gareth: “More of a general love for the iMoot’s and developing plugins that make a positive difference to the educational needs of people.”

Justin: “For several years I attended the Moodle Moot in Japan and often felt anonymous there. People would regularly approach charismatic smooth-talking Thom Rawson thinking he was me, the Poodll Guy. So, I announced to my friends in the Moot foyer, that I was going to make a splash this year. Almost immediately a Moot organizer in a suit, started walking around the room calling my name. It turned out my Moot fee payment had bounced.”

Stuart: “Heading up a Moodle Partner company for the past 11 years has meant Moodle is fairly and squarely at the centre of my professional life. It’s been a roller- coaster at times, with good and bad, but mainly good. Without doubt the most enjoyable part has been involvement with Moodle Moots. I’m lucky enough to have been keynote / presenter / organizer of more than 30 Moodle Moots around the world including USA, Canada, Oman, Greece, Italy, Spain, Romania, and of course here in Australia and New Zealand.

If I could offer one single piece of advice to every Moodle user, whether you are a new or experienced teacher, designer, technologist, administrator, or developer it is: “Get to a Moodle Moot!” They are simply irreplaceable for new ideas, networking, updates, and they will recharge your enthusiasm batteries like nothing else can do. Listen to people, learn from them, share your own experiences and questions, get involved. For those of us who spend far too much time in front of computer screens, taking the time to interact with our peers at a Moodle Moot is invaluable. We are human, we are social animals, and there is nothing quite like the joy of being in your family flock of birds that are all moving in the same direction.”

Next post we will look at the responses to the next 15 years !

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