What is Moodle?
Moodle is a free and open source e-learning software platform, also known as a Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment.
Moodle is designed to help educators create online courses with opportunities for rich interaction. Its open source license and modular design mean that people can develop additional functionality. Development is undertaken by a globally diffused network of commercial and non-commercial users.
Moodle has many features expected from an e-learning platform, plus some original innovations (like its filtering system).
Moodle is modular in construction and can readily be extended by creating plugins for specific new functionality. Moodle's infrastructure supports many types of plugins:
- Resource types
- Question types
- Data field types (for the database activity)
- Graphical themes
- Authentication methods
- Enrollment methods
- Content Filters
The stated philosophy of Moodle includes a constructivist and social constructionist approach to education, emphasizing that learners (and not just teachers) can contribute to the educational experience in many ways. Moodle's features reflect this in various design aspects, such as making it possible for students to comment on entries in a database (or even to contribute entries themselves), or to work collaboratively in a wiki.
Having said this, Moodle is flexible enough to allow for a full range of modes of teaching. It can be used for both introductory and advanced delivery of content (e.g. HTML pages) or assessment, and does not necessitate a constructivist teaching approach.
Constructivism is sometimes seen as at odds with accountability-focused ideas about education. Accountability stresses tested outcomes, not teaching techniques, or pedagogy, but Moodle is also useful in an outcomes-oriented classroom environment because of its flexibility.