Moodle 2.0 First Look - Learning Paths

Note: This is part of a series of blog entries sharing my take-aways from Moodle 2.0 First Look by Mary "moodlefairy" Cooch, published by Packt Publishing.

One of the neat concepts behind a learning management system is the idea of a learning path. For example, all new teachers in a school are "assigned" a learning plan or path that they must follow. That path/plan is different depending on your role in an organization.

It makes sense that one's role as a learner might change based on age, grade level, content, interests, etc. Free range learning, though, is fun to consider as well. In a school setting, being able to determine the learning path students must take due to curriculum expectations is important.

In Chapter 6: Managing the Learning Path of Moodle 2.0 First Look, Mary Cooch explains it in this way:

... students can see where they are up to in a course with the completion (progress) tracking setting and how a course can be marked as finished with the new course completion feature....

...Moodle is happiest when teachers are facilitating their students' learning, rather than lecturing to them. Moodle is happiest when students are in charge of their own learning, when they are discussing, collaborating, and actively "constructing" their own knowledge. They're finding their own path, rather than following a path set down for them by someone else.

However, some tutors – and their students - prefer a more structured, directed approach. One of the most popular feature requests for Moodle has been a method whereby a teacher can set their course so a student has to progress, step by step, from stage 1 to (say) stage 10, working systematically through stages 2 to 9 in between. Indeed, in commercial and public sector settings, tutors are often required to organize their courses in this manner. This is now possible in Moodle 2.0.

In a few brief paragraphs, Mary succinctly covers the wide-ranging debate!

Some take-aways:
  1. Moodle teacher role can enable students to track their progress, which you previously (as I recall) needed a separate module to accomplish. Now, that functionality is built-into Moodle!
  2. Mary introduces us to a list of tasks that have to be accomplished, essentially modeling how the reader might setup a learning path. Thanks for the structure! Images like the one below really help make all this stuff much more understandable, although it's going to take implementing this to really drive it home for me:

Ok, this part of the chapter overwhelmed me. I was left gasping for breath, collapsing to the ground as I felt the faster runners (Moodle whizzes) pass me by on the track. Mary did a phenomenal job detailing all the options and this is one of those chapters that makes the book, Moodle 2.0 First Look, worth buying all by itself!

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