Using Moodle to develop a learning community in a secondary school




Ritchie, Gordon

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This study is built on the notion that a Moodle Learning Community in a large secondary school is a community of practice, in which all members continually work together to enhance student learning and build school culture. By leveraging Moodle’s ability to assign specific roles/permissions to each user and utilizing the Web 2.0 tools built into Moodle software, it has the potential to enable both communication and collaboration as well as distributed and democratic leadership. With adequate staff training and the support of servant leaders, Moodle can also play a vital role in building a learning community and even facilitating school reform. In conducting this study the researcher examined the use of Moodle technologies and the strategies and structures utilized in an attempt to develop a learning community at Stelly’s Secondary School. Through a web-based questionnaire the 35 staff who participated in this study provided valuable feedback allowing the researcher to identify the strengths and weaknesses of using Moodle in this way. After analysing the data collected the researcher identified three areas to be considered before the goal of using Moodle to develop a learning community can be realized. First, is a concerted effort to explore, evaluate and fine-tune the strategies and structures designed to enable communication and collaboration before they are implemented. Second is the delicate, but extremely important, task of staff training designed to encourage total buy-in. Third is the development of a simple but effective Moodle interface that will provide the users access to valuable information while not overwhelming them. Examples of strategies and structures that can be utilized to effectively mitigate some of the issues identified are also presented in this paper.



Moodle, Learning Community, Online Learning Community, Distributed Leadership, Democratic Leadership, Servant Leadership, Secondary School, Community of Practice, Communication, Collaboration, Web 2.0