5 Most Common Questions Asked in Moodle Training
One of our Training Managers, Alison, discusses 5 of the most common questions she gets asked, in Moodle training sessions.
I get asked many questions during a training session, so initially I thought it might make a good blog post to share with you the top 5 things asked by clients when delivering Moodle training.
This however would be a pretty difficult task as no one session is the same. Whilst the basic delivery of “how to-do x with moodle”, from the point of view of teachers, educators and administrators can be pretty similar for most sessions, it’s the detail that’s different for every client.
Our clients can be so varied in their requirements and tailoring the sessions to meet their particular needs is key. Listening and understanding how the client actually wants to use Moodle within their own environment can almost dictate the structure and content of the day. Flexibility, having a thorough knowledge of all things Moodle and the ability to think quickly are so important in each session.
However, whatever the content of the session, the training is always interactive and hands on. I am a firm believer that the best way to improve competency is through practice – we can train clients as experts but practice and getting hands on with the system improves their skills dramatically.
Anyway, back to my blog post! Here are a couple of questions/discussions that are quite typical to many training sessions:
What’s the difference between Groups and Cohorts?
A Group exists within a course. For example if you have more than one teacher in a course having groups allows each to teacher to only see their own groups assignments tasks and grades. Groups’ also allows the teacher to allocate a particular activity in a course just to one group of users.
A Cohort is used for enrolment purposes to a course. For example a class of students could be added to a cohort and then enrolled in bulk to a course, rather than individually.
Can I reuse courses and content?
A lot of our clients want to have the same course running with different people – the groups functionality caters mainly for that purpose. The Import and Backup and Restore functions in Moodle are great for allowing clients to reuse activities and content and to reset courses ready for another academic year for example. The repository feature in Moodle, along with file aliases, is another way to reduce file duplication across multiple courses but needs to carefully planned and executed.
How long should a Moodle course be?
Each teacher/lecturer/trainer has varying needs and content to be delivered in their courses. Each need to use moodle courses for so many different purposes. Some may only use a few topic sections whilst others may be running a moodle course over a 12 month period. Whatever the length there are a few principles that remain the same:
Remember your audience
Don’t overload with files – moodle is so much more than a file repository.
Use inbuilt moodle tools and activities to avoid too many files –such as Page and Book.
Consistency is key – font, layout, instructional information etc
Use topic summaries and labels to structure and guide users logically through your course
Try not to have your end user scrolling down endlessly to find their learning, add navigational aids in association with single topic views.
Learning needs to be interactive, reflective, collaborative and progressive – make sure it’s not just the teacher doing all the work
Can we use Moodle on mobile devices?
With the most recent versions of Moodle (2.5 and 2.6) there has been the inclusion of something called a responsive theme. This allows for your Moodle site to be accessed on a mobile phone or tablet with the layout and content of the site adjusting to fit the width of the screen on the device.
Your users won’t want to access everything on both of these devices, most people on phones want to quickly access resources (PDF, web pages, video), check their calendar for upcoming assessments or communicate with other users via messages or forums.
Those using tablets will want to access the same features as those on phones but may want to open activities or learning content to consume on the move or whilst they have time set aside.
Accommodating users on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, using a single course, does require additional thought and consideration when building your course and content and you do need to consider which technologies and document formats you use to ensure the widest range of devices can open your content, including the playback of video.
There is also a Moodle Mobile App and a MyMobile themes which is available on older versions of Moodle 2 (2.2, 2.3 and 2.4) that can be used as well but hopefully you will have at least version 2.4 or upwards as these are the versions that are currently security supported and offer the most recent options for supporting users on mobile devices.
Can we give access to our Moodle site to people without having to log in with an account?
You can use the Guest functionality in moodle to give access to pages and resources within your site that don’t need a user login. Many clients use this feature to demonstrate potential courses to clients of their own for marketing purposes, or for giving access to generic schools information to parents at a school. You can use automatic guest login to provide open access to web page resources and we have assisted organisations in building their Moodle site into a mini website with user registrations/logins only being required for courses that require a full user account.
What I love is listening to the clients as the day goes on, listening to ideas and thoughts really starting to grip and enthuse the clients as they see further potential for the system. Often our clients are brand new to Moodle – when I arrive they pretty much know very little about the capabilities of the moodle system. It’s so satisfying when you leave and they are raring to go., totally enthused and in the background I Hear make comments t like ” this is marvellous” and ” I didn’t realise moodle was so powerful”. Job satisfaction.