Having likely heard all the buzz about Moodle, and seen it take the top slot in so many lists of LMS solutions and reviews, you may find yourself wondering, what exactly is it about Moodle that makes it so popular? So it’s open source and cheap, so it supports distributing learning materials. That’s nice, but what makes Moodle shine? Well, the biggest thing are the widely-purposed and diverse sets of Moodle activities available.
All of the main object and function types in Moodle are divided into a series of Moodle activities that are specialized for differing purposes. Accessing these is easy, pulling up a drop down menu, selecting the activity type, and going through a wizard to set up the new activity, as well as design it.
These functions are remarkably easy to set up, so let’s just take a look at a few types and point out why they make Moodle so useful.
#1 – Assignments: These elements allow teachers to assign grading and comment on various projects and uploaded files. Basically, this object allows you to make other objects return grades.
#2 – Chat: Chat allows real time discussion during any other activities, allowing new social learning models to flourish over Moodle’s powerful and convenient framework.
#3 – Choice: If a teacher wants to ask questions outside tests or quizzes, and doesn’t just want to freehand them in a chat, choice allows multiple choice questions to be created and deployed on the fly, and records them for posterity and records.
#4 – Forum: A second group communications channel that isn’t real time, so that students and teachers may still talk even when their schedules don’t allow them to do so live.
#5 – Glossary: Allows students or teachers to create dictionaries and glossaries to keep definitions and brief explanations of whatever concepts are pertinent to the subject.
#6 – Lesson: This is the object you use to deliver learning material such as reading, video, file attachments, and you can even tie in other activities like choices, chat, and assignments.
#7 – Quiz: This allows for non-final tests to be created, and graded. It is recommended for more in depth tests, to use the hotpot plugin, though. Still, this one does work well.
#8 – Survey: This allows for the creation of surveys for intellectual exercises, or to get feedback from students at any time needed. They can also be employed as non-graded tests, or have other values connected to them to let you use this platform for group activities that require thinking, not reciting drilled facts.
#9 – Wiki
To go a step further from just the glossary, the functionality of the Wiki information base is also available. Everyone’s used to Wiki, and everyone likes it for a reason.
I stepped over a few Moodle activities, because they were a bit more technical, and would require a whole piece to explain what they actually are, before pointing out their benefits and capacity. But these alone are what anyone will cite if asked why they’re advocates and fans of the Moodle LMS. Other systems offer this functionality, too, but only with Moodle can you also tweak them if you’re a good code monkey.