Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Do You Moodle? Ten Good Reasons to Use Virtual Learning Environments to Enhance Learning

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Do You Moodle? Ten Good Reasons to Use Virtual Learning Environments to Enhance Learning

Article excerpt

There is a number of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) available for schools to make use of. In this article I am going to focus on Moodle and its uses in the classroom. I have always been a great fan of technology in the classroom to enhance learning. In the past I have created websites for students to use. Now all of my work is done via Moodle. I have designated Moodle sites for each course I teach for my students to log onto and use. In this article I will begin to explain why you may want to Moodle too.

What is Moodle?

Moodle is a platform that enables teachers and students to create digital content. Resources can be shared and created collaboratively. In essence Moodle allows teachers and learners to collaborate, communicate, share resources and evaluate progress. There are different levels of access that can be set up. Teachers can create their own courses and populate it with content for students to access.

I will now outline ten ways in which Moodle can be used as a tool in and out of school. This only begins to scratch the surface with the potential uses of this VLE.

1. Journals

A learning Journal can be used to help students keep a track of progress. In essence it's an electronic journal that students and teachers can access and amend as progress is made through a course. I often use the learning journal as a means of target setting and reviewing progress. For example, I may ask students to review their progress from a test and set themselves three targets for improvement. Students will write their reflective journal, which I can access as a teacher and comment upon. This learning journal can be added to throughout the duration of a course and is a great point of reference for both teacher and learner, creating an opportunity for personalised learning.

2. Sharing resources

Moodle is a great way of sharing resources with learners. PowerPoints, Word documents and useful web links can all be posted up on Moodle and students can access these in school or at home. I find this a useful way of guiding learners to relevant content rather than time being wasted by students inefficiently trawling the Internet to no avail. It is very quick and easy to hang resources up on Moodle.

I often do so during lessons, for example, if a student finds information that is of use to the class. Within minutes this content can be available to all via Moodle.

3. Forums

Forums are a great way to encourage debate between students and make for a very interesting homework activity. Challenging questions can be posed and the debate can be opened up to a class to share ideas with one another. My students really enjoy the use of forums as they can all get involved and from a teacher perspective you can monitor how many times students have contributed. This encourages collaborative learning amongst students.

4. Multiple choice quiz

On Moodle simple multi-choice quizzes can be created which can be used as a simple starter, as a plenary or for homework. The big benefit of this from a teacher's perspective is that they are self-marking. You can set how many times you want students to have a go at the quiz. Sometimes I leave it open to challenge students to beat their score, as repetition reinforces learning. Moodle will record the results and indicate how many times students have completed these quizzes.

5. Pupil questionnaire

Often at the end of a topic I will get my students to complete an evaluation via the means of a questionnaire. …

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