Gathering feedback from your Moodle courses

bernadette-parry-headshotBernadette Parry is the Client Support Coordinator at eWorks. Her role involves juggling all sorts of client-focused tasks including start-up TVC training, advanced Moodle training and support desk services. Recently she has received several queries about using Survey Monkey from Moodle Courses. This is of course doable, but here Bernadette tells us ten reasons for using the Feedback survey instead.

Ten reasons for using the Feedback survey in Moodle:

If you have never thought to use the Feedback survey in Moodle, here are my top ten reasons to give it a go:

  1. Course name, teacher names, etc are automatically added to the report. Why not make life easier for yourself, and prevent potential errors associated with manual data entry?
  2. There are fewer options for creating questions and collecting responses. While at first this might seem like a disadvantage, it actually makes the tool  simpler and easier to use.
  3. The Feedback can be anonymous. If the Feedback is anonymous, the participants see ‘Mode: Anonymous’ on the screen – so they are reassured of anonymity.
  4. Even if the Feedback is anonymous, you can still see which participants have not submitted in your activity completion report. This is particularly useful if the Feedback is compulsory.
  5. You can list Feedback activities on your Moodle landing page. This means that  learners can submit the Feedback without logging in.
  6. Logs will record student usage of the Feedback survey. Another way to measure learner engagement.feedback_01
  7. All teachers of a course can receive email alerts when a Feedback form is submitted. Staying within Moodle makes the form look more like an integral part of the course. Better branding, a more professional look and feel, and students more likely to complete the survey.
  8. Staying within Moodle keeps all tracking of student learning together. This not only helps out at auditing time, it makes results easier to find.
  9. If you already have Moodle, there is no extra expense! Why add another layer of cost and software when Moodle has everything you need?
  10. In the future, a new survey module will incorporate Survey, Questionnaire (which is currently a plugin) and Feedback – with the best elements of each. It’ll be even better!

Important things to note

  • ‘Survey’ is another Moodle activity, however with Survey, you can’t create your own questions like you can with Feedback.
  • If you don’t see the Feedback activity in your course, then it may be disabled. Ask your Administrator to ‘turn it on’!
  • Feedback results can be used for continuous improvement of your courses. Use it to gather student Feedback – and teacher Feedback – on how the course went, and how it could be improved.
  • To best analyse your responses, don’t forget to use question type ‘dropdownlist (rated)’. See the Moodle website for more information on the most useful questions to use.
  • See the results! In the screenshot below, four learners have anonymously completed a Feedback survey, ‘Learner Questionnaire’. The results can also be downloaded to an Excel file. Use this analysis to improve your courses.feedback_02

Keen to learn more?

For further information about the Feedback survey activity please visit the Moodle website.

But most importantly, try it! Let me know if you need any help.

Is there any point to your staff training?

John Collins

John Collins is passionate about cloud-based e-learning solutions which enable the delivery of online training anywhere and anytime. After consulting hundreds of L&D professionals, and hearing their frustration when staff training doesn’t quite do everything they need it to do, John has come up with a solution.

What do you want from your staff training?

Let me guess. You want to:

  • Keep track of employee roles, training needs and objectives
  • align the training with individual work plans
  • use it to help with career development and salary reviews
  • get your staff development in line with your organisation’s overall strategy.

But does your delivery platform allow you to do all of that?

Probably not – which is such a shame! Because let’s face it, you can’t achieve your business objectives without making sure your staff have the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience. And you can’t know that your staff have all of this this if you can’t keep track of:

  • their training needs
  • subsequent training undertaken, and
  • skills gained on the job (think 70:20:10)
  • whether or not the training actually worked (i.e. gave staff the skills that they and your organisation need).

If it’s broken, fix it!

If your learning management system can’t do all of this, you don’t have the right learning management system. You need an LMS underpinned by Totara, and designed specifically for Australian enterprise and corporate organisations for the management of learning and development, plus the right people to set it up for you and show you how to use it – how to both catch and eat the fish.

Any half decent LMS will (or at least should) give you:

  1. Security and reliability
  2. A well-designed graphical user interface (GUI)
  3. Responsive web access
  4. Flexible course management and content development
  5. User and group management
  6. Reporting
  7. Systems and applications Integration
  8. Live and on–demand capability

But TVC Enterprise gives you:

  • all of the above – of course!
  • creation of personalised learning plans for each staff member
  • linked to their position within the organisation
  • aligned with organisational goals
  • tracking of specific capabilities and competencies of each position against staff members
  • seamless integration of staff performance management process
  • direct access to progress and outputs for reporting and analytics
  • a reduction in costs associated with staff learning and development.

TVC Enterprise enables you to deliver learning effectively through individual learning plans which reflect your employees’ roles, training needs and objectives. It keeps the learner, the training and your company strategy all on the same page – and happy about it.

Feeling even a little intrigued? Hopeful that there really is a solution out there that can make a difference to learning and development at your organisation? Then contact eWorks for a chat.

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.

Want to become an accredited consultant for eWorks? The Accredited Consultant Program offers everything a consultant needs to start delivering eWorks’ e-learning solutions. Comprehensive training is provided, together with full eWorks Accredited branding.

Are your Moodle courses taking ages to load?

Jo Norbury

Jo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. Having taught extensively within the TAFE system herself, Jo is all about making life easier for busy, budget-constrained VET professionals. This is a great Moodle tip:

What’s going on with my Moodle course?

Have you noticed that the more content and resources you add to Moodle courses the heavier they become? We have. And this results in slower page response times (time to load when you click) and much longer back-up and restore times, sometimes even timing out? Yep, for us too. Then storing those backups for auditing requirements means larger archiving loads. Urggh.

We also found it hard to use one true source, so that modules only need to be updated in one place but changes translate throughout all courses. If I added a student handbook to multiple courses, for example, when I wanted to update the handbook I needed to know where it was, upload the new version and delete the old one. If I missed one, well I would have multiple sources not just one. (Don’t get me started on how we do that every day with email attachments!)

What we did to fix it…

Moodle is one of the most popular learning platforms worldwide designed to manage digital learning.

It became very clear that we needed to manage our content better. Fortunately, Moodle 2.0 also recognised this need, so along came Alfresco. Alfresco manages the content (what it was created for) and Moodle manages the learner (what it was created for). With this combination you have a pretty neat system. Moodle’s repository API plugin seamlessly helps the two softwares, Alfresco and Moodle, speak to each other.

Alfresco is the leading open source content management platform designed to manage content.

So last year we introduced Alfresco content management into our TrainingVC – an integrated system of tools to support organisations to deliver flexible learning solutions to their clients or staff. The core of TrainingVC is Moodle, integrated with virtual classrooms, ePortfolios, reporting and of course learning content management.

What this means for teachers

The Alfresco/Moodle integration was created so that Moodle editing teachers can easily discover then add content into and out of their organisation’s Alfresco folder in the file picker, without leaving the Moodle user interface. Each organisation has its own intuitive, easy to navigate folder taxonomy, including a consistent set of metadata with as much automatic capturing as possible. All of this supports greater user uptake of content management.

Why we’re singing Alfresco’s praises

Alfresco has been so popular that clients have requested standalone Alfrescos to manage all of their organisation’s content.

With all the content now in Alfresco, we have removed the heavy load from our Moodle courses and we have one true source for our content. This means:

  • version control tracking for audits
  • simple review workflows
  • record and automate moderation and validation of assessments
  • a comfortable folder structure that can also control access by permissions.

It has been so incredibly popular with our clients that many have requested standalone Alfrescos for other areas of their businesses. An Alfresco standalone means even more integration features for your organisation, such as desktop integration, collaborative team sites and content discovery and retrieval. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re thrilled.

Not sure whether Alfresco is the answer for you? Need some questions answered? #askjnorbs on Twitter or send an email.