Moodle Magic!
Updated February 25, 2015

Moodle Magic!

Rebecka Anderson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

1.9, 2.6

Modules Used

  • SCORM package, Forum, Certificate

Overall Satisfaction with Moodle

The Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center, which is a project of the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, provides online professional development opportunities for all early intervention providers in Virginia. The online training modules were developed to provide early intervention providers with ongoing learning opportunities that would be accessible regardless of location and time.

Each self-paced training was developed and designed using other elearning tools such as Lectora and Articulate. Once each training was completed, it was exported as a single SCORM package and then added to Moodle as a course. The self-paced trainings were added to Moodle to allow:

-Students to self-enroll
-Tracking of student progress (enrollment and completion)
-The recording/tracking of student assessment
-Students to view their grades and obtain a certificate of completion

Once a SCORM package (training) has been added to Moodle, there is little administrative work to be done.
  • Overall the administrative tools are easy to use, and with some experimentation it’s easy to get it to customize and setup your course. I’ve not taken a single course, or done any extensive reading and I’ve been able to use the tool. Like most, there are some points where I get stuck, but a quick search on the internet and I’ve got my answer.
  • I love the restrict access feature. Most courses have a certificate of completion module available. With the restrict access tool we can control when users see the option of obtaining the certificate and if a grade condition is required. It’s easy to manage the settings and it can be applied to each activity or resource that’s been added to a course.
  • The certificate module is excellent! It was easy to add to Moodle and easy to customize and add to each course. Previously we include certificates as part of each SCORM package. The problem with that was that if a user came back to download/print their certificate they had to launch the SCORM package/training and then navigate to it. With the certificate module, users can obtain it on the homepage of the course.
  • When adding blocks to the site it’s sometimes difficult to tell what is viewable as an admin vs a teacher or student.
  • The admin and navigation blocks are either on or off and can’t be customized unless you are willing to dig in and modify the code. It would be nice to be able to identify which links within each of those blocks is available to the student.
  • While there are themes to choose from, I would like to see more, and it would be nice if each theme had more built-in options for customization. Additionally, while you can choose a separate theme for mobile, it would be nice if you could apply the same theme to mobile and desktop, but with different levels of customization. For example, for the desktop I’d like a fixed width, but on mobile I want something fluid. Again, unless you’re willing to dig in to the code, this can’t be accomplished.
  • 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.
I selected Moodle because it's a full featured comprehensive tool that was free, easy to use and didn't require the display of ads, or branding. Because it's open source and widely used it's easy to find support for those times I'm stuck. I also like Moodle because it can take our SCORM packages and set them up as an individual course, or if desired, I can add other elements to the course to create a more robust learning environment. It is an excellent asynchronous tool.
If you need a high level of graphic design, customization Moodle may not be the tool for you unless you are willing to get into the code and work with an existing theme or attempt to create your own. If you can be ok with using existing themes and just changing the header/footer and colors (depending on the theme) Moodle is the tool for hosting asynchronous elearning.

Aside from the back-end student tracking I like Moodle because I can "stack" a course. For example, I might start out with a single SCORM package as my course, but I can easily add new elements such as another SCORM package a discussion forum.

One of Moodle's greatest strengths is the high level of customization afforded to each course, but that can also be a weakness for someone completely new to elearning. For example, a course can easily be built without an external tool like Lectora or Articulate, but without an understanding of the user experience it would be easy to design a course that would be difficult to navigate and confusing to the user.

Using Moodle

2 - content developer

Moodle Implementation

Using Moodle

I've been able to figure out Moodle through my own experimentation and some help from the Moodle support pages. It's not always obvious where to make certain some changes and It can be a little confusing in determining which pages blocks will appear. If this is your first time using Moodle as an admin/course designer you should expect to spend a some time experimenting because knowing where to make certain changes isn't always intuitive. Additionally, plan to explore the course as a student vs. as admin because the UI is different based upon your settings.