Teaching with Moodle is one of the most effective teaching techniques currently used by many teachers. Moodle is an acronym that stands for Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It is a course management system that is used to produce courses that are web based.
Educators using Moodle in a variety of fields have been able to develop many online courses whose main focus is collaborative and interactive content construction. Released in 2002, moodles growth has been phenomenal. By 2013 it had over 70 million users worldwide. Part of the reason for this popularity has to do with its flexible architecture. The architecture allows you to have an approach that is object oriented and instructional content that can be easily be broken down into instructional chunks that are not only manageable but also reusable.
Teaching With Moodle
The main learning philosophy employed by Moodle is social constructionist pedagogy. This philosophy requires that teaching and learning be based on four main concepts. These are: constructivism, connected and separate, constructionism and social constructivism. These four concepts have made Moodle a platform with consistency.
This consistency has made teaching with Moodle tremendously easy and therefore highly advantageous as a teaching technique. Some of these advantages include:
- Students are able to easily get access to new knowledge through interactions with other students and in their course activities.
- By constructing learning experiences for others, students are able to retain more of what they learn through practice and discussion as compared to what they read and hear.
- It forms a culture that enables students to be constantly learning. This culture, involving many other students and teachers, increases the learning process of the students.
These advantages make teaching with moodles highly beneficial both for the teacher and the student. If you are new to moodle there are certain basics whose knowledge will go a long way in enhancing your teaching capabilities.
Moodle and Online Learning
Online learning is the type of learning that takes place on the web. At first very few people took it seriously wrongly characterizing it as boring. However online learning has slowly gained currency and is now one of the biggest learning platforms. Part of the reason for this has to do with the large variety of learning types it offers its users. Different people have different ways of learning.
There are those that are good at emulatory learning, some at social learning while others are good at experimental learning etc. With online learning all these types of people are catered for. Moodle makes use of this great learning platform. To make use of Moodle on online learning there are two steps involved. Like in learning programs that are formal, the first components in moodle are noting the learning objectives and the course outcomes. Once these two are done the next step is coming up with a plan for building your course. This plan synchronizes the activities and resources in moodle with the learning objectives that you have.
Materials Needed for Using Moodle
Just like in formal learning there are a number of resources that are needed for Moodle to be used effectively. Among these are books, link to a file, activities, databases, journals, forum and assignment. Books in Moodle are not books as we know them in real life. They are collection of so many links to a variety of web pages that one can then use to easily get information. Assignments on the other hand are not exercises to be done and marked but rather tasks that the learner has to complete before proceeding. The database tool enables the learners and the teachers to upload a lot of information and share it with fellow learners and teachers online.
As a teacher you need to have a simple and structured way of engaging with the students. The interactions among the learners also ought to be structured. It is for this reason that you need to have comprehensive instructional materials that will enable this to happen. In choosing the type and format of the instructional materials it is important that they are based not only on the course outline for each unit but also their learning objectives. The instructional materials can be of various forms. They may include videos, graphics, books and presentations. To upload these materials and organize them in a user friendly manner the Forum tool is used.
Collaborative and Interactive Activities
Quality online learning requires much interaction between the students and the teachers as well as among the students themselves. The interaction is not just a matter of asking questions and queries and the teacher having ready answers. Rather, it is interaction that is quality and made in a more meaningful way. As said earlier the best learning method for students is through discussion with other learners and teachers.
Such quality interaction requires that there be quality collaboration of the participants in the learning activities. That means that teachers and students alike collaborate as they learn through discussions, forums and sharing of materials among other collaborative methods. As teacher these are some of the main issues that you need to give time to when using moodle to teach.
Reviewing Assignments and Papers
The biggest problem that teachers encounter when dealing with students work and assignments is plagiarism. With the advent of the internet copying other peoples work and passing it as your own has become easier than ever. Unfortunately Moodle has no way of identifying plagiarized work since it does not have the software for such work. To go about this, instructors or teachers have to set aside time for private chats with the students. During these chats, the teacher asks the student a wide range of issues regarding the assignment. Depending on how the student answers these questions, the teacher can know whether there was plagiarism or not.
As seen above, Moodle provides a framework that enables teachers to teach in a more creative and meaningful and way. The students too are provided with a forum where they can maximize their learning potential through a wide range of learning techniques. Teaching with Moodle is therefore highly recommended for any teacher.