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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Philosophy.


I wonder if various theories of education put forward in the main introduction for Moodle is helpful in terms of giving potential Moodle teachers a way to know the potential of the product. It is not that I disagree with these frameworks for thinking about activities and ways of learning. It is just that Moodle has the potential for a much broader market. Features like essay writing, feedback loops with instructors, quizzes administered and scored, web gradebook, etc. are features that help teacher new to Moodle be better able to transition into the software, but don't necessarily focus on constructionist pedagogy. Once people are using Moodle, Wiki's, Blogs, Forums, Chat Rooms, Workshops and other cool features become available for teachers to start to experiment with. But I suspect that it will be harder to win teachers over to trying the software if it comes across that it is mostly useful only if you subscribe to a particular theory of education as your primary framework as your primary way of thinking about learning. --Gary Anderson 13 October 2005 16:31 (WST)

I agree that the initial emphasis should be on what Moodle can do for the teacher. Let them absorb the philosophy osmotically.

--Mark Draper 2 March 2006 16:53

I think the site well represents the features of the product that are useful, appealing and interesting. The fact that a particular theory is promoted doesnt distract from that. In my case (not a "classically" trained educator, I found it useful to know that this was designed by educators and not software engineers. I agree that if they promoted that aspect of it too much, it could be a detraction, but I really dont hink thats the case.

Jeff Hague

I'm an experienced teacher with a constructivist philosophy and teaching methods. I'm also new to moodle. This philosophy page let me know that moodle is worth a serious look.

Matt Greenwolfe

I am a teacher. What I do is, I teach people science.

I don't like the reference in the article to science teachers regarding the social constructivist model as mumbo jumbo.

I take it as read that social reality is socially constructed and socially sustained. Thomas Kuhn showed this to be true for science. The social construction model is not mumbo jumbo. It is a paradigm based on sharing. The question is about the best ways of implementing shared learning on line

John Ridge

Hey John, hate to break it to you mate, it's just mumbo jumbo to most of the world. This is the reason why real people can't stand academics. I've got about a 30 second concentration span. That was just enough time to sign up to this wiki in order to tell you people I can't stand academics as soon as I seen this Philosophy page (the first link on the site that I clicked on). Don't you people understand usability? Generally I've found that if you can't sum something up in a short paragraph people tend to flag it as bullshit. --Sam Hall 10:39, 17 October 2008 (CDT)

Sam's comments are perhaps the most astute comments I have read so far..:) People do not have the patience to sit and read long and mostly obscure argument any more. Teachers in this country will tell you that most student's concentration spans fall into three groups, Gamers, about the same as a gnat on speed, MTV, about the length of a song, 3 to 4 minutes or TV adds, the time between add breaks, 12 - 13 minutes. The appalling thing about the theories of Vygotsky and Piaget are that they have been taken by many people and used as an excuse to interfere in the daily lives of children in ways that are, I suggest, likely to be considered abusive by future generations. The main reason I suggest this is that we encourage children to explore the digital world far too early. Young children have not had a chance to develop strong recall mechanisms which are the basis of memory. I suspect this is why people complain about modern school graduates as being a whiz with a calculator, but cannot do mental arithmetic. I am not sure that Moodle is helping too much here in junior or even senior primary. --Colin Fraser 09:03, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


Someone should put a link on the french version of this page : fr:Philosophie

--Séverin Terrier 02:55, 22 December 2006 (CST)

Social constructivism and other theories

I think the emphasis on this page could be slightly re-aligned, to focus on the fact that Moodle enables educators to embrace the social constructivist approach better than most/any other tool. In addition, an exploration of other theories (which often do not conflict with constructivism) would be useful, and may prove that Moodle can successfully support those approaches as well.

I think for example of Self-Determination Theory by Ryan & Deci, a view that motivation is highest (and learning is best achieved) when behaviour is self-determined, that is, chosen for its own merits instead of as a means to obtain another reward (e.g. good grades) or avoid punishment (e.g. bad grades). (See the SDT website for more info.).

In addition to social/educational theories, a number of psychological theories and fields of enquiry should be examined in the context of online learning environments, especially group dynamics (see Kurt Lewin for example). Recent research into the potential of online learning communities may yield significant insights into ways in which Moodle already taps into this potential, and ways it which it could be improved to better take advantage of this research.

Please add See also

Please add a see also heading and a link to Pedagogy, thanks --chris collman 06:07, 10 September 2007 (CDT)

Thanks Chris, I've done as suggested. --Helen Foster 03:04, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Russian link

Add please link to russian version: ru:Философия. Artem Andreev 02:54, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Thanks Artem, I've added a link to the Russian version. --Helen Foster 03:04, 8 January 2008 (CST)

Page protection

Where can/should development of Moodle philosophy take place if this page is to be protected? It would be good to see evolution encouraged. James Neill 23:24, 26 August 2008 (CDT)

Well, before the philosophy of the project is changed, we would need to discuss it in the forums, so if you have a specific change in mind, start a forum thread.--Tim Hunt 03:31, 27 August 2008 (CDT)
Got a link? For starters, how about improving the content as opposed to changing, e.g., parts are written in 1st person. See the fork below, for example. James Neill 08:47, 27 August 2008 (CDT)
Oh, sorry for the lack of a link. (The things one takes for granted!) Appropriate forums might be Teaching strategies, Comparison and advocacy or design. Using this talk page might also be appropriate, but fewer people may see it. If you want to suggest minor wording improvements, then the route you have taken will work. Helen, or someone else, can review your proposed changes, and apply them if they think they are good. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tim Hunt (talkcontribs) 10:54, August 28, 2008.)
Thanks, Tim. Geez, I trawled through that course / forums - much time later ... kinda huge to navigate! Anyone thought of splitting that course? Is there anything specifically dedicated to discussing Moodle-related philosophy and pedagogy? As we get underway with implementing Moodle at University of Canberra, I've suggested to the trainers that we include Moodle philosophy/pedagogy as an aspect of staff training, and I'm trying to come to grips with it myself. I'm not on the official implementation team, but rather am a "Moodle Mentor" for my local discipline area (Psychology) and have loosely followed Moodle for a few years. Reading this page, I'm left really with more questions than answers about the connections between Moodle philosophy and software design, etc. To be honest, it reads perhaps like Martin Dougimas' early draft for an introduction bit of his PhD thesis??? I suspect its going to be a bit tedious to list on the talk page the numerous ways it might be expanded and developed, but let's try a bit of that. Meantime, I've also moved a bit faster on the fork suggested below. Perhaps we can also find other ways. A suggested forum thread might be helpful, but on initial look I felt like adding stuff there would be a needle in the haystack. James Neill 16:18, 30 August 2008 (CDT)


I've pasted/forked this page to here: where anyone can edit. James Neill 23:43, 26 August 2008 (CDT)

Thanks James, I've merged your changes in just now. Let me know if you have more. Martin Dougiamas 22:19, 31 August 2008 (CDT)
Thanks, Martin. That's encouraging - am looking more now into your other writing. I'm still not quite sure why the page is protected whereas pages like Pedagogy (which is more like a completed paper) are not protected. Wouldn't be easier (and more in the "spirit" of Moodle) to unprotect and let the philosophy evolve, reverting anything that doesn't go the way admins want? James Neill 04:20, 1 September 2008 (CDT)


First sentence

In the first sentence, provide an interwiki link for Moodle. James Neill 16:25, 30 August 2008 (CDT)

Second sentence

There's a minor spelling error: 'connnected' with 3 'n's. Judith Waczek 8:39 3rd May 2009(CET)

Thanks, I fixed it.--Tim Hunt 02:38, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Page protection template

Add Template:Pp-protection and an explanation for why the page is fully protected. James Neill 22:57, 30 August 2008 (CDT)

Address suggestions already added to the talk page

There appear to be suggestions on this talk page dating to 2006 which have yet to be addressed or responded to. James Neill 23:00, 30 August 2008 (CDT)


Add External link to "philosophy" syndicated google search. James Neill 04:56, 31 August 2008 (CDT)