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Moodle is an alternative to proprietary commercial online learning solutions, and is distributed free under open source licensing. Moodle’s modular design makes it easy to create new courses by adding content that will engage students.

Moodle was designed with “social constructionist” principles in mind. Constructivism asserts that people construct new knowledge while they interact with their environment. From the other side Constructionism asserts that learning is effective when someone uses its experience in order to construct something for learners, either it is very simple like a spoken sentence, either it is very complex like a software package. The concept of social constructivism extends the above ideas into a social group constructing things for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings.

Moodle gives the opportunity for teachers to create their own courses, providing a lot of features for course management. The most important of them are:

  • forums: threaded discussion boards for asynchronous group exchange on shared subject matter.
  • chat: real-time synchronous communication between learners.
  • assignment: used to assign online or offline tasks; learners can submit tasks in any file format (e.g. MS Office).
  • choice: creation of multiple-choice questions that are used for quick surveys on subject matters.
  • journal: record learners’ reflection and revise ideas.

Also Moodle provides a lot of features about learner management. The most important of these features are:

  • groups: group categories where teachers have the possibility to determine how members can interact with each other and within various activities.
  • calendar: a typical calendar of events.
  • scales feature: it is used for grading forums, assignments, journals.
  • grades feature: provides a view of all forum, assignment and journal grades.
  • logs: monitor when and what course resources the learner has accessed.

In the following picture a home page of a course created in Moodle is depicted:

Moodle is a very popular learning management system, while over 1150 organizations have registered moodle sites by April 2004. This number increases continuously while teachers find out the advantages of implementing open source learning solutions. For more information visit: moodle.org/doc

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