Moodle and Mahara – Why do we need both?

Allison Miller, eWorks Accredited Consultant

Allison Miller is the director of Vanguard Visions and an important member of a team of accredited consultants at eWorks. With nearly twenty years’ experience in education and training, much of it as an e-learning leader and innovator, Allison understands the learning needs of modern students. But a Mahoodle? Surely she just made that up.

Why do we need Moodle and Mahara when Moodle offers it all?

Well, Moodle LMS is an educator driven space that allows students to collaborate and undertake social constructionism learning activities, ie learning with others by doing.

Moodle allows students to work together to actively construct their learning through:

  • forums
  • wikis
  • glossaries
  • databases
  • messaging, and so on.

This makes for rich learning experiences which are very effective as they reflect how people function in a workplace and in society. In other words, these activities actually help people learn how to do things in the real world.

Mahara eportfolio system, however, is a learner driven space that allows students to quietly work in a learning-centred approach. That is, students are “invited to have some determination in not only how the work will be pursued and represented, but also in determining what it is that is necessary to learn.”

Mahara helps students to learn how to manage their own learning through:

  • setting goals
  • reflecting on their ongoing learning
  • getting input from their peers.

So Moodle reflects the classroom learning environment which the educator controls, while Mahara reflects the student’s learning space (eg. their bedroom), which the student controls.

Confused? A pretty table might help

Moodle Mahara
Who is in control? The educator/educational organisation learner
What does it capture? Learning product/output Learning process
What does it encourage? Meeting of key criteria Managing own learning goals
How does it do it? Subjects and topics Goal setting, experimentation, feedback, review and showcasing
An example? Read the eModule, contribute to the group discussion forum and add a definition to the glossary Complete project, undertake work placement, apply for (and get!) the job

Mahoodle – the new labradoodle?

As you can see, Moodle and Mahara complement one another. Moodle learning management system (LMS) is among the most popular LMSs in the world, couple it with the open source e-portfolio system Mahara (through a single sign-on!) and you get a Mahoodle configuration. This Mahoodle learning ecosystem offers a very powerful learning environment which reflects the learning needs of modern students. And in a world that needs people to think constructively, work collaboratively and constantly be learning, together these systems ensure that our students are team players who have the skills and learning framework to keep up in an ever-changing world.

Is this how you want your students to learn?

Then find out more. Registrations are now open for the Moodle-Mahara Meetup in Adelaide in April. You might just find a Mahoodle or two sniffing around.

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