What is MOODLE? a Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, Moodle is a free online Open Sources Course Management System (CMS). Designed using pedagogical principals, this software platform proposes an adaptable environment for learning communities around the world.
Originally developed by Martin Dougiama, after graduating from computer science and education studies, Moodle helps educators create online courses with focus on interactive and collaborative construction of content. It allows delivery of activities, publishing of resources, collaboration and communication.
According to the ModdleDocs, guided by a “social constructionist pedagogy”, four underlying philosophies are the base for Moodle: constructivism, constructionism, social constructivism and connected and separate.
Moodle’s philosophies allow for online writing pedagogy that focuses both on developing individual writers and also a community within the classroom.
According to the constructivism theory, people can actively construct new knowledge and meaning as they interact with their environments. From a constructivist point of view, knowledge is strengthened if people can use it successfully in their wider environment, after an interaction between their experiences and their ideas.
Inspired by the constructivist theory, constructionism claims that learning is particularly effective when we construct mental models to understand the world around us. Similar to the theory of experiential leaning, constructionism holds that when people are active in making tangible objects in the real world, learning is more effective.
As Moodle defines it, when taking anything from a spoken sentence or an Internet posting to more complex issues, and trying to explain these ideas to someone else by writing it in our own words, or producing a presentation which illustrate it, it is very likely we will have a better understanding of the subject.
Social constructivism refers to an individual’s making meaning of knowledge within a social context. It extends the term of constructivism into social setting, referring to group that construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. When one is immersed within a culture like this, one is learning all the time about how to be a part of that culture, on many levels.
Moodle using the example of an object like a cup – “The object can be used for many things, but its shape does suggest some “knowledge” about carrying liquids. A more complex example is an online course – not only do the “shapes” of the software tools indicate certain things about the way online courses should work, but the activities and texts produced within the group as a whole will help shape how each person behaves within that group”.
Connected and separate relate to the motivations of individuals within a discussion. Separate behaviour is keeping an objective and factual approach when one defending his own ideas, using logic to find holes in his opponent’s ideas. A more empathic approach, connected behaviour is accepting subjectivity, trying to listen and ask questions in an effort to understand the opponent’s point of view. Constructed behaviour is when one is sensitive to both of these approaches, able to choose either of them as appropriate to the relative situation.
According to Moodle, “a healthy amount of connected behaviour within a learning community is a very powerful stimulant for learning, not only bringing people closer together but promoting deeper reflection and re-examination of their existing beliefs”.
Rather than simply communicating and evaluating the information a teacher think learners should know, when taking into account and action the above philosophies, the focus is on the experiences that would be best for learning from the learner’s point of view.
Moodle believes that rather than being a ‘source of knowledge’, a teacher should act as an influencer and role model of class culture, offering a more personal learning experience so that it addresses the students own learning needs, while also moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively leads students towards the learning goals of the class.
Today Moodle is used by over 45 000 learning communities with 32 millions users, in 205 countries using 80 languages. (source)