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5 Steps to Moodle Success

5 Steps to Moodle Success

By the very fact you are reading this article you have probably already embraced Web 2.0 and the idea of embarking on running a Virtual Learning Environment isn’t going to scare too much. Virtual Learning Environments don’t excite everyone  in education and nor should we expect them to.

Virtual Learning Environments are massive both in their potential and in the varied features they offer. It is important to consider all stakeholders and not all teachers (and pupils) will instantly see the benefits of such a system.

The introduction to online learning should be properly planned and paced with such changes being gradual. VLE introduction requires teacher confidence and I hope this 5 point plan enables the introduction of Moodle at a rate than creates this confidence.

I have broken down the introduction of Moodle into 5 key steps with some sub steps. Moving a traditional scheme of work to a virtual presence takes time and it may take years for some courses to confidently be using all 5 areas covered.

Using the VLE as a student is an invaluable stage as it not only introduces the key features and builds confidence it also provides an appreciation of how pupils interact with the system. A course only accessible by teachers allows mistakes to be made in an environment free from pupils.

After an initial introductory session we ran a staff resource course on the VLE from Easter to June with all teachers as students. The following September the first departments opted in to running their own courses.

By the following Easter all courses were using the forums and messaging services with three also using the glossary, RSS feeds from other sites and Wikis. Two courses were running homeworks via the VLE with great success. Positive feedback of the later stages also fueled development in other courses.

Evaluation and Reports
I haven’t added the reports area as a set stage as course leaders started to use the reporting features of Moodles at different stages. Some used the reports to evaluate how popular particular resources are could drill down to see what pupils had (or hadn’t) accessed the handout.

Others were able to go as far as student reports and could chase pupils up who hadn’t accessed the course for a number of weeks.

There is definitely  a link between forum use and the success of a VLE course. If a teacher is posting regular updates on the course forum (these go out as email to all students) it invited interaction from the pupils within that subject area. Replies from 1-2 pupils then encouraged other pupils to join in and respond.

One idea was “XXXXXX in the news” a weekly post on that course in the news with links to various websites. This resulted in students replying with their own personal reading around the subject finds.

There is no debating the value of Virtual Learning Environments but their introduction in an already established teaching environment needs to be carefully thought out and planned. I hope this map is of some use and if you have any feedback or improvements I’d love to hear them ?

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