Saturday, 31 July 2010

More about MOODLE

Thanks to those who replied to my previous blog post.
My quest to improve my organisation's MOODLE implementation goes on. The next phase of development addresses three themes: overall look-and-feel, to make the site more user-friendly and give it more visual appeal; developing micro-sites within the site to support different communities of practice; and (three weeks on) still working on the course content development capability.

We've looked at the Accordion plug-in (thanks, Chris), which is great as far as it goes, but we want a lot more of this sort of scope for learners to become more active. We've compared a lot of alternative tools, and decided against Sana EasyGenerator (sorry, Christiaan), as well as proprietary tools like Lectora and ToolBook. However, this review has at least helped clarify that MOODLE's native course authoring software is insufficent for our needs.

Udutu is quite good, but the new front-runner is Xerte, which is open source and free. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has experience of implementing this tool, especially with MOODLE, or indeed anyone who has opinions on it.

I'm looking for a course authoring tool that creates SCORM-packaged content, integrates with MOODLE, offers easy, intuitive navigation for learners, has a straightforward WYSIWYG interface for authors, and offers a good range of simple templates to create interactive and interesting content. All suggestions still welcome!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Moodle muddle

As mentioned in an earlier post, my organisation is implementing Moodle as its learning platform.

Early days yet, but a big success so far. However, while pleased with the platform, I have been surprised by the limitations of Moodle’s course authoring capability. These limitations fall into two categories:

1. There are limited options for course layout and navigation. We’ve tried using the “topics” format and adding the “Book Module” plug-in, but neither is entirely satisfactory. The book module offers better menu options (although not the choice to show or hide the left-hand menu), navigation arrows on every page, and the option to print each book or chapter. However…

2. The book module doesn’t allow features like activities or questions to be included in a book – as it says on the Moodle website, “the book module is not interactive”. We’d like to keep our build as simple as possible, and with as few plug-ins as possible, but if we’re to persist with any version of Moodle’s own authoring capability, that will mean adding in small apps to offer conceal-and-reveal features, mouse-over options, and other added extras.

So we’re looking at alternatives. Top of the list at the moment is Udutu (which, a little to my surprise, seems to be pronounced “you do too” – there was me thinking it was Swahili or something). The alternative doesn’t have to be open source or free – although that helps – but definitely has to be easily compatible with Moodle.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.