I'd love to hear some folk's tips for facilitating in Moodle, an Open Source learning management system. For example:

  • How do you make decisions about turning on or not email subscriptions
  • What configuration have you used and how have they influenced your facilitation?
  • What are your experiences helping people navigate?

External Moodle Resources


Raw text from the list

Nancy, you asked about moodle. We use moodle over here at http://pelion.com.au and have been for a couple of years now.

We work with adult learners, usually managers, professional teachers, academics or workplace trainers. We are assisting them to become online facilitators.

Re: * How do you make decisions about turning on or not email subscriptions?

We leave the email subscription on and let people know they can turn it off if they want and how to.

That decision is based on an assumption that people new to web based environments don't necessarily remember to, or feel confident to, or have time or onlien access badnwidth to, browse to find out what's going on. We've assumed that email is more familiar to most of our clients that web based spaces.....we have not (to my knowledge Frankie can you clarify?) had anyone who hasn't felt OK with the email messages. I advise people how to set up rules in Outlook, to assist them to have moodle based emails flowing into a separate folder, to reduce the interrruption factor of very busy forums in their email inboxes.

  • What configuration have you used and how have they influenced yourfacilitation?

I've prefer the Topic based configuration, (is that what you meant?) as opposed to time bound, to avoid having to reset sessions when people aren't fitting into weekly timeframes. Depending on the group, I allow people to access whatever topic they want, (So make them all available at the beginning and tell people about the constructivist philosophy behind doing this.) although I guide them with the sequencing of the Topics as to what to do first, however it's not compulsory for them to follow that sequence. If they are very new to online learning I manage the first topic over the orientation period, and gradually bring in/release the opther topics as people are showing comfort with the space.

  • What are your experiences helping people navigate?

We write very clear instructions about how to move around and provide tools to assist, eg. a 'how to use this site' word doc on the main home page. And instructions worded as click to access....., click to listen to...... where to find things in each topic (eg see such and such in left menu). Sometimes I've found that some people find it hard to work online in a non linear space. So we have things opening in new windows and tell people where that's happening, ( eg. click to access the such and such forum - opening in new window) so they know they'll have the safety of having their main window open all the time, and can therefore know how to find their way again without having to login repeatedly. This seems to help them.

We have all our resources uploaded into one 'Resources' meta course, which each course space has access to. This avoids having to upload them multiple times and thereby use more server space.

Hope this helps. Happy to give you access to check out one of our courses if you like. :o)

Cheers Jo


I can't speak to it's specific use in pure facilitation, however, I can speak to using it in a higher educational setting, where facilitation is part of the class or course. I have used Moodle to create a number of courses and am currently assisting a University in Pa work through the decision making process to move away from a more established player to Moodle. That said, I have worked through a number of proof of concept courses with them, especially more interacitve (e.g., chat and threaded discussion.)

In all of these cases, the choice on whether to subscribe the individual or entire classes of participants to email is not made at a macro level. In each instance, it is the role of the instructor to let them know that a number of delivery options area available (including opting out). From there, each individual can make the decision based on their personal communication and learning style preferences. Some like to see every single movement within the course, while others are interested but feel that they already get enough email and simply want a digest. Regardless, it is not a decision from the top-down, but rather from the bottom-up. That said, all instructors / facilitators are always required to be subscribed to all forums...but that's just common sense.

Configuration wise, I have used all of them, opting for the weekly outline more often than not. I sometimes use the topic outline, but it really is driven by the type of course / content and level of learner. Of all of the options, I use the social option the least, simply because it doesn't lend itself to a more structured environment. It could be very useful for the right type of group, content-area or topic, but I haven't run into many that are.

Finally, navigation can be troublesome, but I have a standard set of documents and at least one lesson/tutorial that teaches participants how to navigate in my moodle environments. I make them complete it and then I verify using an assessment of sorts. I have found that one of the biggest hurdles early on was helping learners acclimate to the environment and those who did more quickly tended to do better and have less issues with the courses. After a few courses that went less than ideally, I learned and now always include some type of orientation and recommend the same to others.

In closing, I'd love to help in any way I can. I have been an "active lurker" for quite some time and this is finally a topic that I can give back with. I am an instructional designer / developer by trade and certified teacher by education, so perhaps this is my chance to contribute to a group that has given me so much knowledge and inspiration.

Dave S.