Moodle is one of many web based learning management systems (one list I saw had 182 products) but it is an open source platform meaning that it allows some customisation of the software by the instructional designer. Moodle has secure password entry as well as public areas for information and promotion. It incorporates links, forums, databases, search and assessment opportunities as well as a host of other resources with comprehensive authoring tools. It can also host a large variety of plug-ins such as video and other applications. Moodle allows collaborative and blended learning where on-line material is available in conjunction with face to face curriculum delivery.
I found the technology easy to access and use with clear delineation of fields and instructions. The opportunity to work collaboratively with my cohort helped my learning and let me communicate with many more people than an average lecture which is surprising due to the value placed on group work in most courses.
A large institution such as a university needs a tool that that can handle large amounts of users and data. I wonder if this technology is affordable for small schools but as a resource this would be very useful for staff and students alike. If I was a the instructional designer of a large institution and could purchase an expensive I would make sure I considered the three main components of learning environments propounded by Mishra & Koehler (2006) ”content, pedagogy and technology”. It is easy to be swept up in the technology at the expense of the other two.
Mishra, P. & Koehler, M.J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record