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Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, often referred to as Moodle (interesting meanings of the word is explained at About Moodle), is an open source LMS enabling educators to create online dynamic, interactive, collaborative virtual learning environment for their students for free under its GNU General Public License (Moodle, 2012). Despite being originally invented by Dougiamas (1999), Moodle are copyrighted and credited to all developers and contributors of it.


The first version of Moodle was released on 20 August 2002 and the latest 2.3.1 was launched on 10 September 2012. Moodle is still in its continual development to improve its service, for example on 10 October 2012, Dougiamas (2012) made an announcement about switching Moodle website from http://moodle.org to https://moodle.org for more security.


Being rank 11 in the top 100 educational tools in 2012 (Hart, 2012), Moodle has a large and diverse user community of 222 countries around the world with over 69,500 sites (Moodle, 2012). One of its outstanding features is that Moodle is a very user-friendly and supportive LMS as it comes with a comprehensive explanation as well as useful instruction and provides support for users, which makes it a stable and popular LMS tool (Driscoll, 2012). All the useful information about Moodle including the most FAQs, Guidelines for teachers, Community forum, Documentation, support from knowledgeable Moodle Partners, and so on is available and freely accessible in its website. 

     Screenshot of Moodle official website


To set up a Moodle site, users need to choose from a range of options, downloadthe package they wish, and install it on a web server either on their own stand-alone (laptop) computers or at a web-hosting company. Since Moodle is a community support project, users can always seek help from Moodle and ask a Moodle partnerdo it for them (some consultations and services are free some are charged). It is Moodle users who make decisions on packages, plugins, languages, and logos and customise their sites according to their needs and in their own way as long as they agree to its license. They can also create resources, activites with such tools as modules, plugins and filters provided by Moodle.       


    Moodle site example: Screenshot of Unitec eLearn


Furthermore, approximately 400 other tools such as GoogleAps, HotPotatoes, and Polls can be embedded into Moodle:

         Compatible tools (Lasic, 2008, slide. 18)


Typical functions of Moodle could be concisely summarised in the table below:


Participants’ roles can be defined and specified as admins, teachers, students, guests, parents, and others.


         Roles of participants in Moodle (Lasic, 2008, slide. 20)


In terms of philosophy, embracing social constructionism, Moodle is deigned with five principles as follows:

  • All of us are potential teachers as well as learners - in a true collaborative environment we are both
  • We learn particularly well from the act of creating or expressing something for others to see
  • We learn a lot by just observing the activity of our peers
  • By understanding the contexts of others, we can teach in a more transformational way (constructivism)
  • A learning environment needs to be flexible and adaptable, so that it can quickly respond to the needs of the participants within it

(Moodle, 2012)

However, in fact, it has been used in various ways:

  • MOOC platforms for large-scale online courses (enabled by Moodle feature of scalability)
  • E-learning platforms for online courses and blended-learning
  • Activity modules (such as forums, databases and wikis) for collaborative communities of learning around their subject matter
  • Content (including assignments and examinations) delivery channel to students (using standard SCORM packages)


N.B.: For more insightful understanding and in-depth exploration of Moodle, please refer to:


Cole and Foster (2008) for a comprehensive manual of Moodle for teachers

Drechsler (2011) or a simple overview of Moodle structure

Lasic (2008) and Lasic (2010) for excellent presentations explaining Moodle with the analog with modular Lego

Lasic (2009) for video clips concisely explaining how to work with Moodle

Left (2012) to learn about teaching with Moodle

Moodle demonstration site to explore what it is and how it works 


--> Theoretical links to LMSs


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