GDPR – How Moodle can help

If you have users on your site who users who are residents of Europe, then there are new GDPR requirements that are legally binding on your organisation. They relate to enforcing more rigorous processes for your users data privacy and your policies. These processes can be seen as improving our practices, and giving people more control over their personal data.

Two plugins are being added to Moodle to allow administrators to add a site policy that must be agreed to, and to allow users to see their personal data, and request it be removed if required (requests can be accepted or denied). This is an overview of how you can use Moodle to assist with complying with GDPR laws.

Data Privacy

This plugin will allow users to request to have their personal data removed and/or request a copy of their personal data.

Privacy Officer

You can create a role for a Privacy Officer (PO) in your site. Moodle originally referred to this role as a Data Protection Officer (DPO). PO is probably more appropriate.

A Privacy Officer can respond to data requests and see requests made, and requests denied, approved or awaiting approval and manage a Data Registry. If there is no-one with this role, the Administrator can respond to data requests and manage the Data Registry. There are permissions required for the Privacy Officer role.

Data requests

If a user requests a copy of their personal data, the PO can accept the request, and personal data that is held by Moodle can be downloaded in .json format.

If a user requests that their personal data is deleted, the request can be accepted or denied. NOTE: approving a request to remove personal data will delete the user, and the user can no longer use the site.


This plugin will handle agreements for users of your site and privacy procedures – you need a web page with a clear and easy to read policy with information about users’ rights, how and why personal data is held, etc. An example Moodle Policy page is at .

Age of consent

On sites with self-registration allowed, you can ask users to verify their age before displaying the sign-up page. This helps protect your site from minors signing up without parental/guardian consent. An email address is provided to minors for further assistance.

Further Notes:

  1. Once user has passed the age check, they will see a link to the Policy Agreement, and have to acknowledge that they ‘understand and agree’ before logging in as usual.
  2. Existing users – once you set up the Policies page, when they next log in, existing users will see the new Policy page, and have to agree before logging in.
  3. You can set the age of consent for different countries. Default is 16. For sites used in other countries, the country codes to use can be found at Wikipedia.
  4. Once you have set the URL to a site policy, you can see it at <your site name>/user/policy.php ­

So how can I set this up in Moodle?

If you have the plugins in your site, in the Administration area, under Users – the TVC administrator will see a new area called Privacy and policies.

For further information, see Moodle documentation.

Quality assessment with LMS Gradebook

Allison Miller, eWorks Accredited ConsultantAllison is passionate about providing learners with the knowledge and skills that they need in order to succeed in the world of work. And part of good teaching is quality assessment. Today Allison considers the one of the best ways to manage the assessment process – LMS Gradebook.

Improving the quality of assessment in VET

Excellent Feedback Thumbs Up Review Like ApprovalThe Australian Government’s “Improving the quality of assessment in VET” agenda aims to identify reforms needed to improve the conduct of assessment in the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

This has come about as a result of audits and strategic reviews undertaken by the Australian Skills and Quality Authority (ASQA) which identified that Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) train well but assess poorly. This is because whenever an RTO is found to be non-compliant at audit, assessment was always an issue. While there are many components to a quality VET assessment system, one key component is effectively managing the assessment process itself.

Enter the Learning Management System (LMS) Gradebook

One of the best ways to manage the assessment process is by using a Learning Management System (LMS) Gradebook. Interestingly, this is the case even if the training program isn’t an online course. The LMS Gradebook replicates a traditional gradebook or marks book, where there is a list of learners’ names down the left hand side, and along the top is all of the assessment activities that need to be assessed. The matrix in the middle is then populated by your learners’ work, their results and your feedback.

What’s so good about the LMS Gradebook?

There are many ways the LMS Gradebook can improve assessment processes, such as:

  • All assessment information and criteria, together with the learner’s work, is all located in the one place, which you and your learners can access from anywhere and at any time.
  • The Gradebook enables consistency and quality as all learners across a training program are given the same assessment information and criteria.
  • Learners can provide comments about their work which the assessor can take into account when marking their work.
  • As soon as you mark your learners’ work and provide them with feedback in the LMS, this information is automatically populated into the Gradebook, and the learner is notified by email that their work has been marked.

Using the LMS Gradebook means that you have a record of all your learners’ work (evidence), their results (your assessment judgement) and your feedback all in one place. This means you can easily access this information to:

  • manage the assessment validation process
  • know where learners are up to in case a trainer leaves (or wins lottery or becomes ill), or
  • a learner disputes their results.

LMS Gradebook also helps improve assessment activities

As an LMS offers a range of individual and collaborative activity options that are linked to the Gradebook, you can draw upon a range of assessment methods such as:

  • assignments
  • quizzes
  • forums
  • instant messaging
  • groups activities: Database, Glossary and Wiki
  • importing external / customised tools / objects.

The types of assessment activity options available will depend on which LMS you are using and whether your LMS has additional ‘plug-in’ options.

Most standard files types are accepted by an LMS Gradebook, so you can accept a range of evidence types such as images, audio and video.

And it can even help improve learner’s work while reducing cheating

On the World Wide Web, finding and copying information or accessing other learners’ work and using it as your own is very easy to do. By using the LMS Gradebook with anti-plagiarism software you can discourage cheating and plagiarism as learners’ work is checked upon uploading. This software can also encourage learners to review their work properly for any glaring blocks of text which could be viewed as plagiarised before submitting it.

Sound like what you need?

Contact eWorks to find out more.


SCORM and Moodle: Common issues and easy solutions

Bernadette ParryBernadette Parry is the Client Support Coordinator at eWorks. Her role involves juggling all sorts of client-focused tasks including start-up TrainingVC training, advanced Moodle training and support desk services. Today Bernadette considers common issues when it comes to working with SCORM and Moodle, and simple solutions to these problems.

What is SCORM?

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s not just a name though. It’s a series of specifications that define information exchanged between the learner’s interactions with the content and the Learning Management System (see image below using Moodle as the LMS). Still a bit of a mouthful? Basically, this is what you should know about using SCORM packages with Moodle:

  1. SCORM packaging is a standard way of putting together some web pages and other content that is then zipped into a .ZIP file. This is a convenient way to transport (share) bits of content. The final ZIP file is often referred to as a SCORM object or SCORM package.
  2. Once the package has been uploaded to Moodle, the user can interact with the SCORM package. For example, learners can click on items that respond, and complete quizzes.
  3. Information is then passed between the SCORM package and Moodle. Examples of this Information are quiz scores (if there are any), and the pages looked at. There may or may not be a grade in the SCORM package.

SCORM Moodle flowchart

How are SCORM packages created?

There are many ways to create SCORM packages, including the use of software such as Wimba Create, Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline. SCORM modules can also be composed of regular old HTML – a mini website if you will. Don’t forget that to make quality SCORM packages, you need to plan, be creative, and make the content engaging and educationally sound.

Should you use SCORM?

Content made using the commercial authoring tools such as Lectora, Wimba Create, etc can help to make your course look more professional, and they are very popular for this reason. However, do keep in mind that if you are using Moodle/Totara, then reporting and grading using standard Moodle activities works better. One of the main benefits of SCORM packaging is the portability of e-learning content which is often expensive and time consuming to create.

Common problems when working with SCORM

1. Changing/updating the SCORM package

SCORM packages that are created in proprietary software are not so easy to edit unless you have that software and the technical skills to use it. You may also need the original files that the SCORM package was created with. (Note that this is not restricted to SCORM packages.)

2. Completion issues

The following may cause issues with the SCORM package sending completion information to Moodle:

  • Having multiple browser tabs open and flicking between them. Best not to do it – each tab doesn’t necessarily have the whole picture of the steps you have taken.
  • Not exiting the package correctly. You must click exit and follow the steps precisely. You should not close the browser/browser page to exit the SCORM package because it is the exit that sends the message to the LMS that the SCORM package has been completed.
  • A temporary internet outage.
  • Using the back button at any time while working on the SCORM package. Again best not to do it – the history of your interactions can become confused.
  • Refreshing the browser page while working in the SCORM package. This isn’t a good idea – you may lose your progress.

3. Is your SCORM package a valid SCORM package?

In other words, is your module SCORM compliant? Of course there are other folders/files/rules required, but this is one good way to check:

  • Unzip your .zip – and there should be a file called ‘imsmanifest.xml’ in the root directory. This is vital as it has information about the navigation structure of the web pages, how to find images, a unique identifier, metadata, etc.
  • Use SCORM 1.2 – be aware that SCORM 2004 is not supported in Moodle.

4. And for the more technically minded:

  • At least one item in the manifest file must reference a resource which is identified as a ‘SCO’.
  • If an HTML page is referenced as the resource for an item in the manifest file it must contain LMS calls.

5. Using a SCORM package in Moodle

  • For SCORM packages which don’t return a score, instead simply relying on the user completing them, the SCORM settings under grading method should be set to Learning Objects. This updates the course score for the user.
  • If you have a package in a Moodle course that some learners have already started/completed, and you update the SCORM package, then the learner’s data remains intact. However, the completion date may be updated to whenever the new version of the SCORM package was uploaded. Note: if you change the identifiers in the imsmanifest.xml file, the learner tracking data can be deleted.

Ready to kick up a SCORM?

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. You can find further valuable information about using SCORM modules on the E-standards for Training and Moodle websites. Or contact eWorks to find out how we use SCORM packages.

Who gives a Moodle about learner engagement? Auditors!

Jo Norbury

Jo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. An enthusiastic and passionate e-learning advocate, Jo specialises in design and delivery that focuses on take-up, usability and engagement – so helping learners to learn. But how do we measure this learning and provide evidence to auditors quickly and easily?

Once upon a time…

in a pen and paper land far, far away, no-one had heard of Moodle and teaching meant face-to-face in a classroom. Nowadays not only are trainers expected to put their courses online and offer a blended delivery approach, they also need to demonstrate:

  • learner access
  • attendance, usage, and
  • engagement.

But how do you find engaging content, use it to engage your learners and then prove you did it?

A modern learning strategy

The demands and expectations on training and delivery are higher than ever before. But that’s okay – we have digital learning! Predictions, forecasts and trends discussed in multiple reports suggest that in 2015 98% of organisations will use e-learning courses as part of their learning strategy, and that by 2016 98% of organisations will use video. In the new IoT (Internet of Things) smart devices capture everything. Smarty-pants Moodle can track everything too, but if the data isn’t there our poor friend Moodle has nothing to capture!

How to engage and prove it

Keeping your auditors happy without spending all of your time doing it is about making sure you have a delivery system with trackability functionality and then getting it set up properly from the start. Here are just a few factors you might like to consider:

  • What are the main engagement metrics?
  • Which activities can be used to demonstrate engagement (and which can’t)?
  • How to source and use engaging content (including videos).
  • How to use the SAMR Model (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) to transform tasks into engaging activities.
  • How to track and ‘prove’ engagement in general.

Are you going to Moodlemoot 2015?

Don’t miss Jo’s presentation about all of this on the final day of the event, Wednesday 8 July. Now is your chance to:

  • find out whether you’re doing what you need to be doing
  • how to do it if you’re not, and
  • share ideas with peers.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry! Subscribe to eLink for a follow-up summary, including easy tips and tricks.