Moodle Ajax Examples to Implement and Use

People seem a bit mystified by AJAX. What exactly is it, and why are so many people interested in Moodle AJAX integration? These days, there are so many web technologies out there that it’s hard to keep track of what anything is. HTML5, AJAX, JavaScript, PHP, ASP … what the heck are all of these darn things, and are all of these really necessary?

Well, the reason this can be a bit overwhelming is because any digital design or software platform has a number of different technologies that work together to create an experience. But, with the web, most of it’s not compiled into a single unit, like an executable program, so it’s all much more visible even when operational.

So, before I get into some examples of the benefits of Moodle AJAX integration, let’s very quickly explain what AJAX is. This will only take a second.

AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. XML is the markup system used by things like RSS feeds, HTML and the like. AJAX is simply integrating a slightly more open form of HTML with JavaScript to create a more dynamic, programmable web interface that still complies to W3C and IEEE standards. You’ve seen heavy uses of this by the likes of Google, streaming websites and other dynamic, interactive websites. It makes SaaS possible in many cases.

Example 1 – Simple User I/O

Moodle has several extensions and API elements that allow for the integration of AJAX designs. We won’t get into the technical aspects of using them, as that’s well-documented and would be redundant. However, the first example of using AJAX to improve the Moodle experience is to bring some life into forms, courses and tests.

AJAX is capable of creating pop up layers with animation, input elements and the like, without any navigation or reload of the host web page. This can make things like tests, end of course questionnaire exercises, or loading video or larger images within a course much more dynamic.

Example 2 – Communication and Data Exchange for Social Learning

This same smooth layering and minimal reloading and navigation hops can allow for more dynamism for social projects and interaction over Moodle as well. It’s not difficult to set up a set of widgets for messaging and collaborative interaction either. This can allow for blended learning mediums, discussion scenarios and flipped classroom models that all depend on this real time communication that Moodle allows through other channels as well, though not so dynamically.

Example 3 – Increased Gamification

If you’re using AJAX, it means you know how to program. Unfortunately, this isn’t a technology that requires no technical skill. So, if you’re working with JavaScript to dynamically interact with and control Moodle’s structure, you have the option of increasing gamification beyond just a numbers game.

If you really want to design a state of the art, gamified learning environment, you could actually use the ability to play audio, render animated graphics and perform game logic calculations, easily accessing Moodle’s data, to make gamification scenarios that’re honest to goodness video games with style, flair and narrative. This is a lot of effort, but imagine how amazing this could be. It just takes one developer to make this platform, and share it with others, for this to catch on like wild fire.

So, Moodle AJAX integration is a little bit more complicated than other uses of Moodle, as AJAX does require programming skill and a grasp of XML and web design. However, beyond the complexity of AJAX itself, making it work with Moodle doesn’t add anything more to the difficulty, and the things you could do with this are really cool.

Nicole Lewis is the Lead Author & Editor of MyLMStips. MyLMStips is dedicated to providing the most engaging topics, information, tips and tricks surrounding Moodle®. It's a place where Moodle® users can receive guidance on how to get the most out of it and increase their productivity and progress.