With the various innovations in communications networks hitting the world, it is interesting to note that the traditional means of imparting knowledge in schools and colleges or institutes of higher education have also been impacted to a considerable extent.
This new method of learning which has been introduced is popularly referred to as e-learning or online learning. Increased use of the internet and various forms of multimedia technology have facilitated the growth of online learning. Currently, it is estimated that the online education industry is worth approximately 38 billion Euros. In the United States, 3.5 million students are enrolled in online degree courses.
Learning management systems
In order to aid the various higher educational institutes in spreading knowledge and information as well as in interacting with the students. These are certain tools which provide extensive course management options and are known as Learning Management Systems or LMS. There are various such software tools available in the market which plays a very significant role in the spread of online education thus aiding the students in attaining the online degree.
Moodle is a free software, a learning management system providing a platform for e-learning and it helps the various educators considerably in conceptualizing the various courses, course structures and curriculum thus facilitating interaction with online students. Moodle was devised by Martin Dougiamas and since its inception, its primary agenda has been to contribute suitably to the system of e-learning and facilitate online education and attainment of online degrees.
Moodle actually stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment and statistics reveal that about 14 million consumers are engaged in about 1.4 million courses propagated by this learning management system.
While Moodle presents certain common features in almost all similar e-learning tools, it also provides certain plug-in options. As an e-learning platform, Moodle features:
- database activities
- support systems enabling the functioning in multiple languages
- content management
- regular examination and assessment
The current infrastructure facilities adopted by Moodle enable it to support a plethora of plug-in options like graphical themes and content filters, enrollment and authentication processes as well as resource and question patterns. Any operating system that supports the usage of PHP allows the usage of an e-learning platform like Moodle and some of the systems where Moodle can perform without any alterations include Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Unix, NetWare etc.