Moodle 4.0 – An Intuitive Learning Environment

If you are a Moodle partner and work with Moodle then you must have heard that Moodle is releasing its new update soon. It’s Called Moodle 4.0. it is a major upgrade to the platform starting later this year.

Ever since we started working with and supporting Moodle, we’ve heard constantly that ‘it doesn’t look trendy’ or it ‘looks moody’. This update aims to address this and align it with some of the more modern LMS options. And let me tell you, this release is going to be very BIG.

Information shared by Moodle

Moodle 4.0, which will be released in November 2021, is about harnessing the power of User Experience (UX) to replace the Moodle LMS. The journey of Moodle 4.0 hinges on engagement with the Moodle community – students, teachers, administrators, developers, partners and the Moodle User Association.

Moodle 4.0, the user experience centerpiece that will replace Moodle LMS, includes new integrations, features and tools. Specially designed to create a seamless and intuitive learning environment for learners, educators, administrators and managers.

At the beginning of the year, Moodle shared and announced a lot of information. But for a long time Moodle has not shared any other information. But we are eagerly waiting for the update release. We think it’s probably only a few weeks left.

Interestingly, when we look at the release information, It seems that many of the announced changes and improvements are introducing features. That we have been adding over the years through plugins, theme updates, and customization.

The good news is that these will now be native and should work better. As well as being part of the core code going forward with them, it should greatly simplify the patching and maintenance process.

After completing a benchmark, Moodle Headquarters decided to focus on 4 priority areas. And that would define the projects for the Moodle 4.0 Roadmap:-
  1. Teachers’ ability to create, copy, reuse and transfer course material.
  2. Students’ ability to navigate the interface easily.
  3. Quiz and assignment set up and workflow.
  4. Fragmented gradebook workflow.

There are several other updates including enhanced menus, reporting and workflows. And even an LTI update for those who are using the Learning Tool interoperability function to place their online courses inside other compatible systems. We expect to know more about this as we get closer to the launch.

Let’s take a look at some of the new updates and improvements.

1. Moodle has a new personality!

Okay, so we’ll start off and look at the desktop experience. And the first thing we want to show you is the new primary navigation menu. So as you can see below in the picture. At the top there are 4 new primary navigation items in the new update. some of which look very familiar. You’ve got your site home, you’ve got your dashboard, you’ve got “my courses” inside administration.

Desktop Experience

So you will see a new addition to the default menu that is “My Courses”. And it is a standalone dedicated page that is now included as part of 4.0. Which is meant to help you manage your courses. So 4.0 includes a course overview block on this page. And it’s really going to prepare you for the future when you want to do really extensive search and organization work around your course content.

So we felt it was a huge improvement compared to having to put this whole block on the dashboard. So you really want to dedicate dashboard space primarily to dashboard tasks. Which are things like what do I need to do next and how should I manage my time better?.

And all those lovely things that dashboard should be able to help you and drop a dedicated course page to help you find, navigate, and organize your courses. So that’s the thinking behind that we guess. And it’s a new addition to the primary menu so you can still access the dashboard.

Card View & List View

And as you can see below there, you can click from the list view. You know that all the same functionality to go back to the card view and list view is still there.

Apparently Moodle changed the UI quite a bit. Granted, it’s taking on a whole new personality and shape and flavor. Any new 4.0 experience is a lot more modern and cleaner and more refreshing. Crucially, the primary menu will remain customizable. So that desktop menu items can be added as additional items or as dropdown categories.

A new secondary menu comes under the primary navigation components. As an example, The course page layout includes a secondary navigation piece that reflects the design features and functionality of the primary navigation. These menu items are re-prioritized from most to least important, based on qualitative and quantitative research findings and data.

As a result, The Settings menu item has been upgraded to allow teachers to easily input and edit administrative details about their courses. Due to the limitations of a fixed width column format, Moodle has also included an overflow button. And that’s called “More” to allow users to navigate to lower priority menu items.


2. A new curriculum index to help

So there are two new components that you may have noticed that have been included on the course page. And that are two little icons on either side of the screen. So if you tap on the first one and you open it you will see a component. Yes, There is Course Index and this is a new feature that Moodle is adding to its courses.

Course Index

It allows users to be able to navigate through sections and activities by opening the side bar. So all your activities so far are labeled here and the one that is highlighted is the one that is in the view. So this is the item that is presented by opening the side drawer. That means you don’t want to see it and want to focus only on the course material.

And scroll down to your activities and you can delete that information. But as you can see they say they are sticky, So they are in a fixed position in the screen so you can always access that course index, Wherever you are within the course material. And then being able to navigate up and down between those different classes and activities.

The course index will act as a collapsible/expandable tool. reducing the need to scroll through the syllabus. As a result, The course structure and progression will be easier to understand, and access to activities within the curriculum will also be easier. For administrators, The ability to drag and move activities and sections within a curriculum would also be a good quality of life upgrade.

Button Component

So you also see the block button on the right hand. Now there is a new button component which reveals blocks with respect to course index. If you want to open the block side panel you will click on a button. And it will reveal the block but automatically turn off your course index. so that the two items work in relation to each other.

But you can switch them all on at the same time. So that revealing blocks or revealing course index doesn’t reveal any of them and be able to toggle between the two and still focus on the beautiful course content.

Do what’s in front of you. And you can see that this update features exciting new activity icons and activity cards within the course itself. So this is a small demonstration of how to open and close your new block and course index side panel.

The student experience has also been enhanced through improvements in curriculum completion components. As a learner navigates through a course page. if the facility is enabled in the course, Then they can view due dates or submit open and close dates against activities 

Badge

Another new feature is the inclusion of badges. And that allow learners to see what the completion requirements are for an activity. And whether they have exceeded them. Badges automatically update when the learner completes a required action.

3. Refreshed Activity Icons

Another change to look forward to is a refreshed design for the Activity icons in Moodle. They will be cleaner and more colorful to provide a better visual reference point for the different activity types.

4. Mobile experience

In addition, these improvements will be replicated across devices – desktop, tablet and mobile. Giving users the same enhanced experience from whichever device they log in.

That’s why we want to give you a quick overview and demonstration of what we’ve shown on the desktop experience. And how it works on the mobile browser experience. so you can see that below we have the same home page that’s fun. Blown up. Now we’re using a hamburger menu that slides to a full screen.

which will allow you to access those primary menu items. so from here you can still access the dashboard by course site admin. And Moodle is about to put the notification message, my profile and language button. Which clearly you can see that there isn’t much space in its horizontal bar. Horizontal headers are for the mobile experience.

That’s why we’re talking about potentially positioning them within the side bar. I mean Moodle can put them back in the header just because obviously it’s really important for users to see that they’ve notified themselves, when something changes. So alerts are really important and you can put that back in the header.

5. Ongoing Commitment to Accessibility

New Release of Moodle complies with WCAG 2.1 AA and in line with its continued commitment to accessibility. It uses each step of its design iterations to ensure that Moodle 4.0’s authoring. And evaluation tools are understandable, operable, and compatible. Moodle is working closely with external accessibility consultants.

The Tech2 team is watching these new developments closely and will keep our customers fully informed. So they can take full advantage of these exciting new Moodle developments when they launch later this year.

Talk to a Tech2 LMS specialist about creating an engaging learning platform for your organization.

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