“I’m still Moodling..better than I ever did”

moodleschool

I haven’t blogged in a while, mostly due to being so busy with the day job. I get to work on so many fascinating eLearning projects that it’s difficult to find the time to work on my own personal Moodle projects. But recently, I’ve been burning some midnight oil to work on a project I’ve always wanted to do for years.

A new home school study Moodle platform designed and built from the ground up to work for kids, my own kids to be precise. It’s probably the furthest I’ve ever pushed Moodle, and that’s because this time I’m not building it for a client, I’m not building it for an administrator, nor a teacher, or meddling graphic designer. I’m building it for my own kids and will eventually roll it out to everyone I get to finally do all the things I’ve always wanted to do with Moodle without anything getting in the way. I want to build a fluid LMS that doesn’t even come close to feeling like an LMS.

My goal was to use Moodle as the framework and all the great community plugins (Level Up, Stash) and somehow roll them up into something that offers a truly user-first learning journey. It also boasts a really simple navigation button, everything is controlled from it, no breadcrumbs, no course titles, just a funky little pop-out button.

Check out these actual working screenshots (not mockups, this is where I’m at so far)

An amazing school site built with Moodle

Oh, and H5P is also been pushed and bent into something beautiful. So I’ll strip back the platform UX to something beautifully simplistic but retain the sheer awesomeness and power of the best LMS on the planet.  The whole system uses Moodle tags to display content, it doesn’t use traditional courses. It’s all tags and outcomes, badges, treasure hunts and rewards.  I still have plenty to do, and I’ll keep writing up  the progress here on my blog.

course

 

My enthusiasm for Moodle has been ignited again lately.  Imagine my excitement when I heard recently that Moodle HQ has just secured a truck load of funding. Over the past few years I’ve seen people switch to Google Classroom, I’ve watched Canvas penetrate the UK market and I’ve seen Totara capture the corporate market (at the expense of Moodle). So to watch Martin Dougiamas and his team propel the Mobile App, secure $6m in funding, open a new base in Spain and watch the vision unfold, I’m getting pretty excited.  Moodle is still my all time favourite platform to work with.

Which brings me onto my second secret project. Some new interface ideas for the Moodle app. I can’t have an awesome new Kid friendly LMS without an accompanying app.

These are the ideas I’ve been working on. This is the Moodle Mobile app with a new stylesheet, some custom graphics and a little code hacking.

mobile

So, what’s next? Well, I need to keep working on the day job, pay the bills and keep the lights on. But feeling all inspired and refreshed, I can’t wait to carry on with this project.  It needs to be ready before summer 2018.

And as Elton once said, “You know I’m still Moodling, better than I ever did.  Moodling like a true survivor, Moodling like a little kid.”

The significance of Moodle 3

moodle3

As we have seen in recent years with consumer technology, the advent of new release numbers often brings with it much hype, anticipation and euphoria (iPhone 4, Mac OS X, Playstation 4, Moodle 2.0) and sometimes huge disappointment (Windows 8 and those bloody tiles!).

So when a new version of a product is due it often hails itself as the next greatest thing in order to ensure consumers flock to the shops to part with even more money than they did the last time.

Therefore, it is a very brave move for Moodle to release Moodle 3.0. Moodle 2.0 was in my opinion a game changer. Yes, we had some teething troubles with it in the early stages but I think everyone agrees, the hype and anticipation was worth it. (Although I do miss hacking 1.9 to pieces, Moodle 2 taught us all that we should start coding properly)

So what exactly is the LMS world expecting from Moodle 3? A whole new UI experience? A completely re-written SCORM engine? An integrated portfolio? xAPI? Baked-in plagiarism tools? Analytics engines? 1-second page loads? The truth is, we won’t get any of these things (yet). And that’s because Moodle 3, is really Moodle 2.9.10 in the first instance. You see, Moodle isn’t Apple. It’s not trying to be. It doesn’t need the fanfare nor Martin walking on stage in a pair of New Balance trainers and a turtle neck jumper.

Moodle HQ would rather leave the version in the 2.9 sphere for a while longer I’m sure, but now is the right time to announce 3 to the stage.

With all the commotion in the media of late regarding Moodle Partners, inflection points, the Totara saga and general Moodle bashing, the release of Moodle 3 will show the LMS world that Moodle is very much alive and kicking. Yes, there will be some disappointment when 3 is released. It won’t set the world on fire. It will be criticised for not looking as sexy as some of its competitors but give it time. Like with Moodle 2.0, it wasn’t until 2.3 that things really started to come together.

So when Moodle 3 is released in November, I’ll be proud to shout about it. My shouting won’t be a feature battle with other LMS platforms nor will it be about a war with Totara. But it will very much be focussed on what 3 will become. With the strength of the community behind it, and Martin at the wheel I can’t wait to see what evolves. Maybe we can gear up to Moodle X, Moodle Mountain Goat, or Moodle Snow Dog and scrap numbers altogether.   Maybe the future of Moodle will be one big trove of API’s and data and that Moodle itself won’t be the platform but the connector or enabler for the internet learning of things. Whatever comes, I’m happy that we get to start on version 3.0 and work our way up the ladder once more towards 4.0. Moodle is evolving.