Q&A: Building digital capability and collaboration with Moodle

Charley Rogers speaks to Gry Stene, chief product officer at Moodle, about the new Moodle Educator Certification programme, and how to encourage collaborative learning

There are many complex issues that fall within the remit of ‘improving teaching and learning’. What would you say are the main focuses for Moodle right now?

To achieve our mission of empowering educators to improve our world, one of our goals is to improve the quality of teaching practice. In addition to the work we are doing to improve the user experience both for teachers and students in Moodle LMS, we are currently working on a couple of new products, MoodleNet and the Moodle Educator Certification (MEC) programme that both extend our focus on improving teaching and learning.

MoodleNet is a new open social media platform for educators, initially focused on collaboratively curating collections of open content. MoodleNet will be an integral part of the Moodle ecosystem, sustainably empowering communities of educators to share and learn from each other to improve the quality of education.

The MEC programme is a comprehensive teaching and learning curriculum designed to help educators develop transferable knowledge and skills to be effective in today’s growing digital world. Whether you are a teacher, instructor, or trainer the MEC programme will support you to build your digital competence within a Moodle environment to create an engaging experience for all your learners.

It is also worth noting that the teachers and other users can easily set up their own environment to get to know Moodle LMS on the MoodleCloud platform.

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MoodleNet is a new open social media platform for educators, initially focused on collaboratively curating collections of open content

One of the hot topics in edtech currently is peer learning and collaboration. How does Moodle help with this – both for staff and students?

In collaboration with the Moodle User Association, we are currently working on advanced forum and discussion capabilities in the core LMS to improve learning experiences and build digital competence for students and teachers. The project includes forum grading, exports, advanced reporting and a new user interface. We are also working closely with H5P and extending Moodle to include interactive content to deliver learning experiences that engage the students.

Personalised learning and accessibility are key for busy students. Is there mobile functionality that allows them to access their learning on the go through Moodle?

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Moodle is committed to providing the world’s most effective learning platform to help deliver quality education globally. The Moodle App enables students to work offline on mobile devices or laptops, which is essential in areas where internet is not readily accessible or for people who need to learn on the go. Organisations who want to promote education through their own brand can get a branded app and provide personalised, offline capabilities to their learners.

In parallel, we are working on improved learning experiences through simplified onboarding, user flow and are committed to ensuring the platform is aligned with accessibility standards.

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The Moodle App enables students to work offline on mobile devices or laptops, which is essential in areas where internet is not readily accessible or for people who need to learn on the go

Another huge talking point across the whole education sector is reducing workload and improving scalability for teachers. How can educators use Moodle to help streamline tasks such as marking?

The Moodle LMS team are busy working on a new user interface for grading for forums, which will become the new standard for grading within the product. In parallel, we are working with a collective of universities to simplify and improve the capabilities of marking within Moodle. We have also kicked off research around what teachers need in terms of gradebook to inform UX designs and user testing.

As an open source project, we work closely with the community and are collaborating with working groups both for higher education and vocational training. These working groups help us understand specific challenges in different environments, which will inform priorities and designs to improve grading and gradebook.

Educators are also keen to improve their own knowledge of tech and pedagogy, but again are often stuck for time. What resources are available to help teachers improve their digital competence?

Our MEC programme is designed to support teachers to develop and improve their digital competences using the Moodle platform. The full MEC program consists of 22 internationally recognised digital competences which are based on the European Framework for the Digital Competence for Educators (DigCompEdu). However we understand that educators are often time-poor and we have created three certification pathways that are available to them to improve their digital competence. Our introductory certification consists of six fundamental modules that addresses the four key teaching approaches and gives educators the opportunity to master key digital competences through the creative use of core Moodle tools.

If you could describe Moodle’s ethos in three words, what would they be?

Open, Collaborative, Empowering

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