Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Whatever Your Model - Moodle Can Help!

Education is continually evolving as educators seek innovative ways to help students engage in deep levels of learning. Moodle is an open-source Learning Management System that can support teachers in their endeavor to alter the way in which content is delivered.  

If you are considering modifying the traditional classroom model, you will want to be familiar with the ideas that follow. Although there are advantages and disadvantages to each, I am reminded of a quote by Dylan Wiliam, a man whose work on formative assessment changed the way I think about teaching and learning. Wiliam cautions against telling teachers what to do because, “Everything works somewhere, and nothing works everywhere (Wiliam, 2014).”  In other words, there is no perfect solution. Teachers must educate themselves on the various options and then choose the option with which they are most comfortable and that best meets the needs of their students.

Online Learning:

Students engaged in online learning are not impacted by the limitations and/or advantages of a physical classroom. Students receive all instruction and content virtually, using a computer or other device.  Proponents of this type of delivery argue that access to online learning opportunities improves equity by leveling the playing field for all students (iNACOL, 2015). The 2017-18 Pupil Accounting Manual, published by the Michigan Department of Education provides key insights into requirements and protocol for cyber schools (online schools). This is an excellent resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of Michigan's requirements for intermediate school districts, local districts, and public school academies.

Blended Learning:
Blended learning uses a combination (or blend) of classroom learning and online learning (Tucker, 2013). When teachers combine both traditional and online instruction, they create multiple pathways for students to achieve success (iNACOL, 2015). In most blended models, the students are able to control - at least to some degree - the time and place of their learning.  Additionally, since much of the content is delivered online, students can control the pace at which they progress through the curriculum/content (Tucker, 2013). Michigan educators will find specific guidance for offering blended learning opportunities within the Pupil Accounting Manual 2017-18, published by the Michigan Department of Education.

Personalized Education:
Personalized Education provides students with a choice and voice in their own education.  Personal learning plans are created using key data regarding students' current level of mastery. Once the learning plan is created, student-centered instruction is provided along with consistent progress monitoring.  As students master specific skills and concepts, they progress through the curriculum/content.  Personalized learning enhances instruction and provides each student with his/her own learning pathway (iNACOL, 2015)

Competency Education:
iNACOL defines competencies as “explicit learning objectives that empower students (2015).”  In this model, teachers provide students with timely feedback and differentiated support. When learning objectives and their criteria for success are clear to students and meaningful feedback is provided, students are much more likely to hit the learning targets (Leahy, Lyon, Thompson, Wiliam, 2005). As learning objectives are mastered, students advance.  

In conclusion, regardless of which model (or combination of models) you may choose for your class, Moodle can help you achieve your goals. Check out Moodle'sconditional activity feature which can can support all of the models listed above by releasing content based on specific criteria and tracking what students have already completed. Moodle is a fully customizable Learning Management System that can help you change the way in which you deliver instruction.


"Our Work - iNACOL." iNACOL.org. N. p., 2017. Web. 11 Oct. 2017.

Leahy, S., Lyon, C., Thompson, M., & Wiliam, D. (2005). Classroom assessment: Minute by minute, and day by day. Educational Leadership, 63(3), 18–24.

Michigan Department of Education. "Pupil Accounting Manual: 2017-2018." (2017). Web. 11 Oct. 2017.

Tucker, Catlin R. "Technology-Rich Learning: The Basics of Blended Instruction." Educational Leadership. ASCD, Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2017.

Wiliam, Dylan. “Why Teaching will Never be a Research-Based Profession and why that’s a Good Thing.” ResearchED. Sep. 2014. Web. 8 Oct. 2017.

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