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Moodle™ User Guide Chapter 1: Introduction to Moodle

September 13, 2019

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Moodle User Guide: Introduction to Moodle

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Introduction to Moodle


You’ve found The Complete Moodle User Guide, your source for all the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the world’s most popular Learning Management System.

The user guide has been split into three chapters for your convenience, each covering progressively more complex features, with comprehensive and easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

An Introduction To Moodle, this chapter will provide you with a broad overview of what Moodle can do and how it has been utilized across different industries to meet a wide array of learning needs. You’ll see how the education, healthcare, nonprofit, and business sectors take advantage of Moodle’s Most Powerful Benefits:

  • Deep Customization and flexibility lets you do exactly what you want
  • Data-based insights allow you to understand and improve the eLearning process
  • Unrivalled security for your data, media, and users
  • Constant ongoing improvements from a community dedicated to making Moodle better

Last, but certainly not least, is an introduction to Totara Learn LMS, the corporate version of Moodle, that will cover the specific functionalities that make Totara Learn a perfect fit for the business world.

You can also download chapter two (Top Moodle features) and chapter three (advanced Moodle features) today and learn exactly how to get the most out of the world’s most popular open source LMS platform!

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What is Moodle LMS?

Moodle is the world’s most popular and most used learning management system. It’s easy to see why. The Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) is a flexible, open source and free to download learning management solution. With 100 million users (and growing) and over 100,000 Moodle sites deployed worldwide, this user-friendly eLearning platform serves the learning and training needs of all types of organizations in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Moodle was developed by Martin Dougiamas, who grew up in the Australian outback in the late 1970s. Dougiamas was educated via the School of the Air— correspondence schools in the remote areas of Australia whose curriculum was largely delivered by radio, indoctrinating him in distance learning at an early age.

Moodle 1.0 was officially released in 2002 and originated as a platform to provide educators with the technology to provide online learning in personalized environments that foster interaction, inquiry and collaboration. In private Moodle sites, educators, trainers and employers can create and deliver online courses to help their audiences achieve their learning goals.

Today, Moodle is used by organizations of all shapes and sizes outside of the education community. Most commonly, Moodle is used by businesses, corporations, hospitals and non-profits for training, online learning and in some cases it is used for extended business processes. Here is a brief list of everything we’ve seen Moodle being used for:

  • Compliance Training
  • Onboarding and Related-training
  • Competency-based Training and Management
  • Workplace Safety Training
  • Online Learning and Continuing Education Opportunities
  • Online Course Development
  • Product and Service Launches
  • Communities of Practice and Communities of Expertise

Why is Moodle the World’s Best LMS?

With 100 million users worldwide and growing every day, Moodle is hands down the most widely used learning management system (LMS) by organizations of all shapes and sizes. “Moodlers” love the system not just because it’s so widely used but because it is user-friendly, highly flexible, configurable, feature-rich and well supported throughout the world.


In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


Top Benefits of Moodle LMS

1. Moodle is Customizable & Flexible

The Moodle LMS software is free to download and is distributed under the GNU General Public License. Moodle code is open source which means that anyone using it can review, change, modify and redistribute it if they want to. While some Moodle site owners choose to support Moodle completely on their own, others outsource specific tasks to Moodle Hosting Service Providers because it is more cost-effective.

With an almost infinite number of customization options, Moodle can have exactly the functionality and features that you want, along with the flexibility to adapt as things change in the future. It can be a complex and time-consuming task to reach the full potential of Moodle’s open-source nature all by yourself.

Not only is it more cost-effective to outsource to a Moodle Hosting Service Provider, but it also means you will be receiving expert Moodle help for a fraction of the cost of doing so in-house. Below is a list of services that Moodle Hosting Service Providers typically offer:

2. Get Real Insight Into Your Learners, Courses, and Teachers

Learning management systems like Moodle and Totara Learn generate mountains of data but typically have limited reporting and analytics capabilities. Moodle only enables the ability to generate standards reports for certain subsets of data, but not all of it. Many companies choose to extend these stock capabilities by adopting a tool such as Lambda Analytics to gain access to ALL of the learning data in their LMS.

With Lambda Analytics (aka Zoola Analytics or Zoola) it is possible to:

  • Create compelling visualizations, including tables, charts, and cross-tabs
  • Bring your views and reports together into stunning, filtered dashboards
  • Work from over 30 pre-configured views, reports, and dashboards connected to your LMS
  • Schedule, share and embed insights with anyone in your organization

Too much information? Let us show you the benefits of Moodle but now with eCommerce and Analytics in Lambda Suite.


3. Moodle Never Stops Improving

Being an open source project, Moodle is a collaborative effort and is supported by a strong global community. A large benefit of open source software is that the code is open for scrutiny. This means that developers from all over the world can access the code, and modify it to continually enhance the software and make it more secure.

It also means that the code is scrutinized by actual Moodle users. The benefit of this is that Moodle is constantly being updated by people who understand what users need for a better user experience.

The final benefit of using a LMS that is driven by one of the largest open source teams in the world is that there is an endless amount of learning resources. Within Moodle’s Community Forums, you have the ability to connect with other Moodle users and find answers to your questions. With just under 300 million forum posts and over 72 million Moodle learning resources, chances are your Moodle question will never go unanswered.

4. Backed by Moodle HQ

Moodle’s open source project is managed by a dedicated team at Moodle HQ with a head office in Perth, Australia and satellite offices around the world. Moodle HQ is made up of a diverse group from around the globe, with different backgrounds and opinions who are all committed to working on new features and keeping Moodle updated. The Moodle HQ team consists of over 50 team members in 10 countries who speak 20 different languages. MoodleMoot conferences are held around the world, with a focus on encouraging collaboration and sharing best practices of the open source learning platform.

MoodleMoots are attended by keen Moodlers who are presenters and members of the Moodle community, Moodle users from around the world, Moodle Partners and sponsors.

5. Moodle Will Do Exactly What You Need

Moodle has been adopted so widely because it is configurable, highly-flexible and feature-rich. On top of being able to modify Moodle’s open source code, there are over a thousand Moodle Plugins available that enable Moodle to be configured so that it performs exactly the way you like.

With over 1,000 Moodle plugins developed by the global community, learners, managers and administrators have the opportunity to flourish in an environment that makes learning collaborative, engaging and fun.


How Moodle Can Be Used: 9 Ways Moodle is Used in Business

When Moodle launched in 2002 for K-12 and Higher Education institutions, many did not foresee the popularity it would gain in the corporate world. Designed to help people learn in private and collaborative environments online, organizations around the globe quickly came to realize the business applications of this open source tool. Since conception, Moodle has been used in organizations to achieve impressive business outcomes. There are countless examples but buckle up as we explain the 9 ways Moodle is used in business!

1. Streamline Onboarding with Moodle

Moodle is used by many organizations to onboard new hires. If you’ve worked for a small to medium sized company, your onboarding process may have been procedural and paper heavy. With Moodle, the onboarding process can be streamlined for administrators and used to welcome and engage new hires. HR managers particularly love the ability to provide onboarding via course modules in Moodle as results can be tabulated and analyzed. Additionally, varying courses can be cloned so that modifications can be made for different departments.

In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


2. Optimize Compliance Training with Moodle

Similar to why HR managers love onboarding in Moodle, Compliance Trainers appreciate Moodle’s online training capabilities because they can easily prove who has successfully completed compliance training. Better yet, the Moodle Badges plugin allows you to award your people upon successful completion of compliance training!

3. Competency Based Learning in Moodle & Metrics with Moodle

When developing a Competency Based Learning (CBL) program with the Moodle Competency Module, training managers are equipped with a process for defining competencies that are linked to evaluation scale such as a series of numbers or letters used to determine the learner’s level of understanding of the defined competency. This could also be something such as not competent, competent with supervision, or fully competent.

Unlike grades, which may be composed of test scores, participation points, attendance and projects, competencies assess a series of statements which can be provided at the end of a course along with the overall grade or even at the activity level.

4. Create A Safer Workplace With Moodle

Similar to compliance training, Workplace Safety Training in Moodle allows you to know who has completed mandatory training and who has not. With the capability to add video, discussion questions, quizzes and external resources to your online Moodle courses, Safety and Hazard Training can be completed at a time and location convenient to the learner.

5. Build Better Courses With Moodle

Moodle has many tools for creating dynamic, interactive and engaging online courses. With multiple modules for both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities, learners have a plethora of tools for learning in real-time and on their own time. With Moodle course builder tools, you can create eLearning programs utilizing a number of strategies, including: self-paced, non self-paced and blended learning.


6. Product and Service Launches in Moodle (Just-in-Time Training)

Toyota originally coined the concept of “just-in-time” manufacturing: making only “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.” In today’s business world, products and services are being updated, modified or changed at an ever increasing rate so it is important to understand that product knowledge training is not a one-time event. Rather, product knowledge is an ongoing education initiative that changes as new clients and new features emerge. Moodle makes it easy to train your people across all departments, and even provide “just-in-time” access to only the product knowledge necessary for their functional teams.


In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


7. Leverage Your Communities of Expertise (COE) and Communities of Practice (COP) in Moodle

COE’s and COP’s are informal groups of people within the business community that have common goals, and interests, who work together to teach each other, and learn from one another. Moodle is commonly used in organizations to help employees connect with experts in certain subject areas. In these COE’s and COP’s, users can ask questions or search discussion forums to seek the knowledge they are looking for.


8. Continuing Education in Moodle

Given that Moodle was originally designed for higher education, many organizations use Moodle to provide their staff with continuing education opportunities to help them further their careers. We have seen many of our clients provide leadership training, management training and even high school courses to tradespeople looking to upgrade courses.


9. Client, Channel and Partner Training in Moodle

One of the great things about Moodle is that it is easy for users to create their own accounts to access the courses you want to make available to them. This makes it easy to train clients, channel partners and business partners at a low cost.


5 Ways Moodle Is Used In Healthcare

Just as Moodle has seen adoption in the corporate world (from education), the open source learning management system has quickly gained popularity in the Healthcare sector. Moodle is used by a diverse range of healthcare organizations including the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Clinical Difference, and Center for Global Child Health. A few of our Totara Learn healthcare customers include iMedX, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA), The Menninger Clinic and MedCerts. Moodle and Totara Learn have helped many organizations increase the standard of care by providing healthcare professionals with consistent, just-in-time training—read the case studies to learn more about their LMS journeys.


1. Blended Learning in Moodle

Healthcare organizations are using blended learning techniques enabled by Moodle to provide a holistic approach to practitioner training. What exactly is blended learning in healthcare? It is the combination or ‘blend’ of various training approaches that help to achieve tangible learning outcomes; often times tied to the improvement of patient outcomes. Typical tools for a blended learning approach in healthcare include: online learning, simulations, coaching and mentoring, and classroom learning. To learn more about these components, download our eBook, Blended Learning in Healthcare.


2. Competency Based Learning & Training in Moodle

There is no question about the benefits of Competency Based Learning (CBL) for a healthcare facility, as one of the fundamental advantages to this approach is the ability to measure the outcomes delivered after training and during the performance period that follows. With the “Pay for Performance” movement in healthcare, it is natural that we would seek a shift from measuring skills—and paying for skills—to measuring outcomes and paying for performance. Check out the eBook about competency based learning in healthcare.


In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


3. Compliance Training in Moodle

The amount of mandatory compliance training in healthcare is unparalleled to any other sector. Before a hired person even steps into a hospital or care facility, compliance training is required. This is true for doctors, nurses and even tradespeople who work in hospitals. Before the advent of online training and open source learning management systems like Moodle, compliance training was a time-consuming and administrative-heavy process.


4. Communities of Practice (COP) & Communities of Expertise (COE)

Clinicians from every profession recognize the difficulty of keeping pace with the rapid advancements in knowledge. Between long hours of delivering quality patient care, it can be extremely difficult to find time to keep up with the learning. Communities of Practice and similarly, Communities of Expertise in Moodle can help clinicians to efficiently share knowledge. Rather than ten practitioners reading lengthy studies, one can provide lessons learned to his or her colleagues.


5. Continued Education in Moodle

While Communities of Expertise keep clinicians in-the-know, continuing education will provide them with structured advancement through measurable learning outcomes. This learning can be attained through either practical skills learned on the job, and then reinforced with learning online; or be knowledge-based learning such as certifications and applied courses specific to the practitioner’s field. With Moodle, continuing education for healthcare professionals is made easy, reliable and consistent!

There are many more ways Moodle can be used for healthcare. Get in touch with one of our Moodle experts to learn more about how we have helped Healthcare organizations around the globe achieve compliance, effectively train clinicians, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.


9 Ways Moodle Is Used In Education

Moodle was originally developed with higher education environments in mind, but it has quickly expanded to encompass the entire range of educational institutions. Moodle has become an intuitive and supportive environment for every level of the education system. Moodle can be used by administrators working in the K-12 system, higher education and private schools. All of the features highlighted below are applicable to all levels.

Moodle for K-12

1. Create An Effective Modern Learning Environment

The traditional classroom is merging with the online world, and students need to know how to function in this blended learning environment. Moodle is a safe entry-point for young students to begin navigating online and allows them to become comfortable on the Internet. As students take eLearning courses, Moodle teaches them basic computer skills such as typing, sending emails, working with PDFs, and dealing with online videos and files.

2. Engage Students For Better Learning

Keeping students engaged and interested can be a huge struggle for teachers, especially at the primary and secondary level. Moodle has the capability to incorporate games into learning courses (this is referred to as gamification in Moodle). These games are educational in nature, and they help keep young learners engaged and encourage them to participate. 

3. Diversify Teaching Methods

In Moodle, multimedia elements can be embedded into courses such as video, audio and slideshows. Similar to gamification, these different elements keep student minds stimulated and engaged by providing various methods of teaching.


In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


4. Simplify The Grading Process

Assignment and test grading can be completed right within Moodle, through the Gradebook plugin.

These are just a few of the ways you can use Moodle in education. Get in touch with one of our Moodle experts to learn more about how we have helped Educational institutes around the globe increase student success.

Moodle for Higher Education

5. Open And Accessible Communications

A steady stream of communication is essential for success in higher education and Moodle opens up this channel. Various communication avenues available in Moodle include forums, messaging, chat, comments and blog posts for students and teachers to be able to communicate from beyond the classroom, allowing learning to go beyond the school day. The great thing about Moodle is that you can access it at anytime of the day or night, so you can logon when you have time to catch up on communications.

6. Easier Collaboration

Moodle enables and encourages collaboration and teamwork. The communication features in Moodle listed above (discussions, forums, messaging) allow students to work together, share ideas and ask/ answer questions if needed.

7. Multimedia Syllabus Creation

In higher education, course materials and supplementary resources are just as essential as in-class lectures. In Moodle, you can easily upload and share resources, articles, videos, pictures and anything else students may need to complete coursework and assignments.

8. 24/7 Assignment Submission

In Moodle, assignment submissions are not only limited to school hours— assignments can be submitted at any designated time, including weekends, early mornings and evenings.


9. Mobile Phone and Tablet Compatibility

Moodle was made for learning on the go. Moodle Mobile is based on responsive design and is compatible across a number of devices including smart phone, tablets and laptops. Moodle course content can be accessed from home, while on the bus, at work on a coffee break or from anywhere you have internet access. It is also possible to connect with course participants, submit assignments, check upcoming deadlines and track your progress.


In a hurry? Take it to go! Download the Moodle User Guide Chapter One.


4 Ways Moodle Is Used In Non-Profits

Learning management systems are a cost effective way to train on a nonprofits on policies and procedures as well as generate reports on learning for board members, staff, clients and volunteers. Here are four ways Moodle is used for nonprofit organizations.


1. Fully Functional Web Hosting

Moodle can be utilized by nonprofit organizations to host their website and create online-based classrooms—enabling anywhere/anytime learning and being able to form a social community. In Moodle, staff and volunteers can interact, engage in discussions and even collaborate on work. Moodle allows course and user management, including course information and student activities.


2. Global Digital Distribution

Moodle’s open source and cloud-based delivery makes it particularly useful for nonprofits. Nonprofit associations often have clientele and employees distributed across the map, so being able to access Moodle from any device that connects to the internet offers an effective training delivery method.


3. Simple-To-Use Course Creation

Moodle’s easy course creation functions have allowed countless nonprofit organizations to generate revenue through their eLearning programs. Often, community driven and focused on driving social change, eLearning programs created by nonprofits benefit from being able to reach a wider, global audience.


4. Maintain Curriculum Consistency

Moodle allows standardized curriculum and training. Consistency is essential in any organization because it means that all members are on the same page and there are no gaps in knowledge between members.

All of these outcomes in Moodle work together to bring more awareness to your cause. By building a sense of community, your community in turn begins to develop your brand. Overall, Moodle gives you the tools you need to be efficient, enabling you to focus on your cause and people.

Continue to Moodle User Guide Chapter 2: Introduction to Moodle and unlock the benefits of the best Moodle features!

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