What is LMS Moodle?
A complete guide

What is LMS Moodle?
A complete guide
A Moodle learning management system is quite popular. Probably you’ve met it in your university or another organization if it utilized some educational activities. In the North American region alone, there are more than 11 million people using it for educational activities. It’s among the first LMSs to appear if you try to find any, and it usually has the first place in the LMS popularity lists. Its usage statistics are imposing. And as you’ll see, it’s no wonder.

It is free and open-source, so you won’t find a clear and standardized action plan and pricing page here, as in CleverLMS or others. You can download and use it freely and without any payments, hidden or not. It’s also one of the oldest ones, appearing in 2002, so it has an established community of users and developers. Its name is now closely associated with a learning management system.

We’ll see why it is called like this, by the way.

Moodle isn’t commercial, so it’s not the best choice for corporate education. It requires standardized and reliable learning pathways that can be easily integrated with workflows. While it has the workplace learning version, this tool is too general and is very good for personal education, schools, educational clubs, and non-profits. Also, as we’ll see, it has a very large plugin directory for various purposes, and some of them are paid, unlike the LMS itself. So, let’s see!

What is Moodle?

Moodle is an open-source, free learning management system with a vibrant community and various mods, add-ons, and extensions. New discussion topics and mods are created regularly. However, as you can see on its official website, there still are paid professional versions of the app, and some of these add-ons are paid, too. Still, the price will probably be cheaper than the usage of the full-scale commercial LMS. If you manage to install and set up Moodle on your server, it’ll be totally free of charge.

It is mostly used in university education, both online and offline, to organize learning processes. More than 75% of all research literature that is dedicated to Moodle focuses on the university setting, according to Moodle’s trend review. That’s where the tool emerged, so no wonder it remains the most used here. However, it isn’t limited by this.

Moodle's meaning is to be a simple and universal LMS that everyone can install on their computer or server and customize as they want. It was developed as an academic tool for making online education available for everyone in various contexts. Its open-source nature implies the existence of a vibrant community and that a large fraction of its support and development will be made by this community.

You can think about Moodle as a “Linux of the online education world,” as it’s a platform with many realizations and destinations, most of which are developed by community members and have many mods and addons. This approach is similar to the well-known open-source operational system Linux and its realizations, such as Ubuntu. Moodle has a GitHub page where you can explore how it develops and even participate yourself if you have at least some PHP and JavaScript understanding and proficiency.

Moodle's definition stands for a modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment, and the popularity of this LMS made it the synonym for a minimalistic educational platform. Meanwhile, the word “moodle” has a specific meaning, describing some creative and aimless process. An example is painting something without thinking about it, which is also called “doodling.” So, it’s a kind of wordplay, as Moodle is actually a platform that enables users to participate in its development.

Let’s see how exactly it works.

Moodle specifics & features

So, what can it do, and how?

As mentioned, there are various Moodle versions for different tasks. For example, its basic LMS version and a workplace version for organizations are presented as different tools. It also has a Moodle mobile app that can be used to connect to the existing Moodle service. Lastly, it has a list of certified partners worldwide that can help with the app’s installation and setup.

In the list below, we’ll generalize its basic features, and as you’ll see below, they all can be highly customized by templates and plugins.
It enables online course creation
with a high level of customization.
It has virtual classrooms
for communication and collaboration.
It generates reports and statistics
based on the learners’ performance.
It has badges, ratings, interactive
course elements, and other gamification features.
It has customizable notifications
to ensure learners’ involvement.
It integrates
with a variety of other apps.
Its templates and plugins
can add much more functionalities.
You can use Moodle templates to build your own version of the app and create your own online courses. You can even sell them, using various channels provided by the app. So you just generate your content and bring the educational materials necessary to solve your objectives, while these templates will organize your materials for you.

Lastly, Moodle plugins add new features to the app. Most of them are free and open-source, despite there are exceptions. There are AI mods, for example, that connect Moodle with the ChatGPT and Dall-E interfaces to generate textual and visual content. You can scroll the plugin directory to find them and many more.

What are the benefits of Moodle LMS?

Moodle online education can be highly interesting and engaging. Let’s see why and how.
It provides extensive gamification and interactive features with all its customizable badges, diplomas, notifications, and communication platforms. As motivation and user engagement are especially important in online education, such aspects make Moodle very beneficial.
It is scalable, meaning that you can use it both for personal education or for large classrooms and business environments. The universality of its features and the presence of official partners enable you to use Moodle in different contexts.
Its community has translated it into more than 160 languages, so you can probably use it in the language you speak daily or implement it in your daily routines with friends and colleagues.
It is totally free for download, unlike most other LMS. Still, is Moodle free for everyone, or there’re some fees, hidden or not? Actually, there are fees, as you’ve already seen on the page with Moodle app options, but they’re all transparent. The basic app downloading and installing on your server is always free, but you need to follow specific instructions for that.
A vibrant community will answer all questions and explain to you what you should do in any case. If you are lost with all these plugins and don’t know which provider to choose, ask a question to the Moodle team or community.
Moodle themes enable you to highly customize how your course and app interface will look like. You can choose a specific theme and even build your own, defining which colors and interface elements you’ll use. Scroll the theme list to see how many of them are present.
All these benefits make Moodle a robust system for all types of education. It doesn’t require money to start, but instead, it requires your time to engage and set it up. For efficient Moodle-based training, you need to read its documentation and, probably, community posts as well. Unlike CleverLMS and other commercial systems, installing Moodle and setting it up can be quite challenging. In the documentation, you can see instructions for installing plugins and creating your own, and make sure that they require at least basic programming knowledge.

Best Moodle alternatives

The Moodle learning platform is universal and its vibrant community contributes to its constant development. However, as you see, its installation and deployment require some work. You cannot just install it, open it, and be sure that everything works: you need to configure it first, creating your own server.
is easy to scale and customize, ensuring that you’ll create your own corporate learning environment. It’s less complex compared to Moodle, but it enables solving learning objectives more time-efficiently. You can just order everything you need, showing how your education app should look like and what to do, and you’ll obtain it.
is a popular tool, similar to the Moodle learning system in many ways. Its basic version for students is also free. It also has a GitHub page and is widely used in school and university education. While it’s not so diverse in plugins and themes as Moodle, it’s easier to deploy, and that’s why many educational facilities use it.
Other learning management systems provide various features and approaches, mostly being created for a specific task. Absorb LMS, for example, provides various advanced tools such as generative AI for course creation. Docebo Learning Suite is a large educational system designed for large corporations, with many functions for workflow organization. TalentLMS focuses on talent development and education, having tools for onboarding processes organization.

To wrap this up, let’s see how the Moodle e-learning approach can be utilized for corporate education.

How to use Moodle LMS for corporate training

A Moodle platform can be used for various purposes. While, as we have shown before, it’s not particularly designed for corporate education, its universality allows one to use it in the business. It can be a good choice for small companies and non-commercial organizations, at least to test a LMS and see what exactly they need. Make sure, however, that you have time to read documentation and configure Moodle by yourself. So you can start by reading the documentation, downloading the app, and setting it up on your computer. Remember that its mobile app only connects you with the already deployed Moodle server.

Moodle tools crucial for corporate education include project creation and organization, so all course materials can be organized in them. Here, employees can be organized in hierarchies to assign them necessary tasks and courses. Also, Moodle provides reports, statistics, and insights based on the learners’ performance which is crucial for corporate management.

In addition, various plugins and addons can be highly useful here, as they bring the latest technological advances into the app. Remember that some of them may require specific installation or be paid.

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