When for the first time my Armenian teacher told us that we would use Moodle to submit our assignments and participate in the discussion forum, we didn’t really embrace the idea. Moodle, the open source learning platform, became our nightmare and we were trying to persuade the teacher to give up the idea of using it. Fortunately, we didn’t succeed and we got the opportunity to get familiarized with it. Now, as a MA TEFL student at the American University of Armenian, Moodle is the main educational tool and platform where the professors and instructors share their syllabus and all the other necessary material there.
Moodle is part of learning management system (LMS) or virtual learning environments (VLE), which many universities or any other institutions have already implemented it. We can define LMS as a software application , which enables the user to administrate, document, track, report and delivery e-courses or programs.
There is another concept named personal learning environment (PLE) that many of us are unconsciously engaged in. PLEs are personal e-Learning systems which give the users the opportunity to manage their own learning, set definite learning goals, take control of their learning, communicate and share with others who are on the same path.
A tutorial video by Stephen Downe clearly explains the difference between LMS/PLE. The following chart is the summary of the video.
|Need to join to the federation||Directly connected to individuals.|
|Data is available in the system, the data will be lost in the case of leaving the system||User control the data, sharing requires permission.|
|Moodle||Google doc, LinkedIn, Drop box, Google drive|
Nowadays, most of the students get registered or enrolled in many online applications creating their PLEs. Below I created my own PLE visual diagram that currently I use for language learning and teaching.
What concerns to LMS, my opinion is that it enables teachers to have more control on the process of teaching and learning. If I end up teaching in a school or institution where students have access to computers and the internet, I will definitely use Moodle to share activities and assignments, because
- Engaging students in technology may increase motivation
- Students can access the materials easily, even if they are absent.
- Students don’t need to carry different books or copies around to do their homework.
- It will enhance collaboration and cooperation.
- LMS will help to save more trees by avoiding photocopying and printing.
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