When you compare your current LMS with other offerings, the grass will probably appear greener with them. Moodle users are no exception – there have been unhappy users in the past, but the latest release, Moodle 3.2, addresses their shortcomings and failings, leaving its users definitely on the greener side!
Let’s look at how Moodle 3.2 has achieved this.
Navigation and User Interface:
Moodle 3.2 has an all-new core base theme called Boost. Completely customizable, Boost has changed the way Moodle looks and functions. It promises better navigation, not only within a course, but between courses as well. You can create an absolutely modern theme that comprises all the latest features that Moodle now has to offer.
However, if you prefer your old Moodle themes, you can continue to stick with them, although I suggest trying out the new theme that has a much better and user-friendly interface.
Remember the claustrophobic screen space? Well, there is more screen space now, paving the way for more course content – great for developers and learners alike. For editors, the new gear menu has a dropdown menu that makes it easier to make quick edits.
So, as far as the navigation and user interface are concerned, there are a lot of improvements. There really isn’t much you can complain about now. It’s much better than the previous version and the ongoing minor versions promise further improvements.
Moodle has also made life easy for administrators. According to users, version 3.1’s functionalities were unresponsive, users were not visible, and restoration of backup led to loss of data. Now, these glitches have been worked on; 3.2 works better and has added features to make administration easier and quicker.
Features in the 3.2 version are as follows:
- Administrators can now import, export, or even create new competency frameworks and define associated competencies. These can also be shared between sites.
- Old or outdated discussion forums can be locked up (discussion locking), getting rid of the old and making way for the new.
- Administrators can set the ‘start’ and the ‘end’ dates of courses. They can even change the deadlines of a course for a group of users or for individual users, quickly.
- In the event a learner does not choose any course, administrators can select courses on the learner’s behalf.
- Older versions of Moodle allowed administrators to enable Rubrics (an advanced grading method), to assignments. Moodle 3.2 version has an improved version of Rubrics that allows for negative scores.
Now here’s the exciting part. The new features are directed toward making the platform user-friendly for learners:
User tours lets new users take a tour easily around different areas of Moodle in a step-by-step manner. The tour can be viewed in different languages, making it a truly global experience. Administrators can create their own simple walkthroughs for a course or choose one from the repository of user tours. As new students take the walkthrough through the course, explanations appear and guide them through the course.
Moodle 3.2 has a new default media player called VideoJS. This media player makes audio and video files more accessible and customizable, with more plugin support as well. Various types of videos can be played across devices, and has caption and subtitle support. So, learners have access to more variety with fewer limitations.
Receiving messages and notifications has gotten easier with Moodle 3.2, with users having access to all their messages/notifications in one place, no matter where they are on the site. New messages/notifications are highlighted to make sure you don’t miss them.
Will new users find it hard to use this new version? According to Moodle, this new version is meant to help old and new Moodle users learn to use and navigate around easily. It’s no more clunky or outdated, and there is a lot more to come. Moodle is working on several areas; these areas of work are influenced greatly by the users themselves – areas such as continuing to make the platform user-friendly, adding more features, making the platform accessible to people with disabilities, and much more. A lot of work has been done in these areas, and this work continues to go on. Moodle 3.2 has better tracking of what learners know and need to know; reporting and feedback functions have improved, and real time notifications on all devices is a boon to learners.
Moodle App 3.2: The Moodle mobile app 3.2 that was released at the same time as Moodle 3.2 has a lot of new and exciting features such as grading assignments when on the go, and the ability to view course grades quickly and easily.
As we will now see regular, time-based releases, we will see continued improvements with Moodle. The grass keeps getting greener on this side. So, if you are sitting on the fence and wondering which way to go, it’s a no-brainer.