Google Classroom and Moodle are online class assignment and learning management tools primarily used in academic environments, in k-12 primarily, but also higher education. They facilitate assessments, content management, and online discussions. Google Classroom is available for users of Google Workspace for Education, or it can be used for free with a Google account for some use cases. It is commonly deployed across institutions of all sizes where Google’s office apps are also used. Moodle is open source and free under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and like Google Classroom is widely adopted by institutions of all sizes.
Google Classroom and Moodle offer very similar capabilities, but are chosen for different reasons.
Google Classroom is natively integrated in Google Workspace, and so it works seamlessly with apps like Gmail and Google Meet. It also includes chat features in Classroom itself, facilitating communication between students and teachers when video is not needed. It’s integration with Google Drive makes document management, including assignment creation and management, an easy and familiar task, given the ubiquity of Google app adoption for personal use. Google Classroom may seem a no brainer for easy adoption for schools that have already onboarded Google Workspace for Education in some capacity, and if an institution is already using Google then there exists little reason to avoid Google Classroom.
Moodle’s advantages flow from its open-source design, community, and the expanse of plugins and extenders available for it, at no cost. Since Moodle is open-source and freely downloadable, LMS costs are primarily around IT implementation and management (you may need a resident Moodle development expert), rather than an annual subscription for software updates. Moodle boasts excellent content creation and course administration features, chat, and integration with neighboring systems (e.g. student management systems).
There are also some limitations to Google Classroom and Moodle in terms of capabilities and packaging worth considering.
Google Classroom is not known to fit business use cases as Moodle might. While Classroom integrates with a range of applications for in-classroom use, it is more limited in the administrative integrations it offers, such as with student information systems. Users report minor quibbles around its usability.
On the other hand, Moodle’s open source structure leaves it to academic institutions to provide their own in-house implementation, support, and security. This limits self-service customization that teachers can do without requiring developer assistance or approval from IT to enable this or that third-party plugin. Moodle’s mobile capabilities are also more limited and less user-friendly than market standards.
While Google Classroom is free to use alone, and Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals is available to qualifying institutions and some homeschoolers, many users will need the Google Workspace for Education Plus plan (formerly G Suite Enterprise for Education).
Moodle is open-source and free to download. The cost of implementation and long-term maintenance or support will vary by each academic institution or business, as it may require in-house support to build and govern the right implementation.
Provided by the TrustRadius Research Team
Published on July 15, 2020
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Feature Rating Comparison
Course catalog or library
Progress tracking & certifications
Learning reporting & analytics
- Student-teacher communication - I love using Classroom for this because my students can always go back and check what was on Classroom by looking through the stream. This way they don't have to go dig through emails to find what they're looking for.
- Posting to multiple classes - I can post the same announcement or assignment to multiple classes at once without having to repeat the process or send separate emails.
- Streamlining grading - when students turn work in on Classroom, it all goes to one place and then when I'm grading I can open their documents directly from Classroom or my Drive folder. This way, I'm not looking through emails and Google Doc shared files for their assignment.
- Moodle's grade book works well. Assignments are integrated so the grades are recorded automatically.
- Moodle is customizable by administrators, so our version only gives us the options we need. NO Clutter.
- The discussion board offers several options for instructors that help with grading. I use "sum of points", but there are other options as well.
- Although usually in the discussion with other LMS apps such as Schoology and Canvas, Google Classroom doesn't possess as in-depth of a platform. There is no ability to set individual learning paths, pace student work with completion settings, or embed other apps directly into teacher-created assignments.
- The assignment creation options are limited. Teachers can only choose from creating an assignment (usually a link with directions), a material (usually a doc/slide/website, etc), a question, and a quiz.
- With gamification taking on a new lens in education, there really isn't any way to use gamification elements with Google Classroom. There isn't any way to create Individual learning paths, or use badges and micro-credentials within Classroom. Outside programs would have to be used.
- The interface is not very intuitive. You must know what you are looking for in order to navigate effectively.
- Although installation of Moodle is easy, it is a little more difficult to configure it with your other Learning tools. As an example, LDAP synchronization is a little difficult.
- The interface is a little dated, even though new releases keep coming out (which is great!) none of them really add value to the appearance of the platform.
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- Student engagement is high when using Google Classroom. Students are more willing to work on projects continually when provided a digital platform.
- Since teachers have instant access to student work, they can pinpoint weak areas for remediation, thus increasing test scores for mastery.
- Google Classroom also saves time for teachers when used as an organizational tool as student work is all in one place with easy access.
- While it certainly takes more time to develop an online training vs a face-to-face we can offer the same content over and over again and meet a larger audience. There's no way we could have offered these trainings face-to-face to the same size audience. Economically it's just not feasible. Moodle allows us to share multiple trainings on a variety of topics over extended periods of time in a cost effective way.
- The impact on early interventionists is still being evaluated, but we do know that early interventionist now have more ways to access professional development than in the past. The ability to customize the registration page has allowed us to track which agencies in Virginia are having their staff participate and we can see which topics are favored above others.
- Other LMS's were far too costly. Aside from the monthly hosting fees (less than $200 a year), and the time it took to do the initial install and setup, Moodle is free. Once it's setup the only elearning costs are related to the development and creation of each training and then the setup of training on Moodle. This allows us to devote more time and money to the development and creation of more courses vs. the management of the system.
- Minimal tech support for the users is required and most requests are limited to lost/userid passwords. The course designer is able to manage tech support needs for the users because so few requests are received.
Premium Consulting/Integration Services—
Entry-level set up fee?
Google Classroom Editions & Modules
|Google Workspace for Education Standard||$31|
|Teaching and Learning Upgrade||$42|
|Google Workspace for Education Plus||$53|
- per student/per year
- per license/per month
- per student/per year
- per license/per month
Additional Pricing DetailsEducation Fundamentals Version - 30-day free trial for qualifying institutions.
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
Moodle Editions & Modules
- per year