Moodle is an active and evolving work in progress. Development was started by Martin Dougiamas who continues to lead the project:
I've been working on it, in some way or other, for several years. It started in the 90's when I was webmaster at Curtin University of Technology and a system administrator of their WebCT installation. I encountered many frustrations with the WebCT beast and developed an itch that needed scratching - there had to be a better way (no, not Blackboard :-)
I also know a lot of people in schools and smaller institutions (and some big ones!) who want to make better use of the Internet but don't know where to start in the maze of technologies and pedagogies that are out there. I've always hoped there would be a Free alternative that such people could use to help them move their teaching skills into the online environment.
My strong beliefs in the unrealised possibilities of Internet-based education led me to complete a Masters and then a PhD in Education, combining my former career in Computer Science with newly constructed knowledge about the nature of learning and collaboration. In particular, I am particularly influenced by the epistemology of social constructionism - which not only treats learning as a social activity, but focusses attention on the learning that occurs while actively constructing artifacts (such as texts) for others to see or use.
It is crucial to me that this software be easy to use - in fact it should be as intuitive as possible.
I'm committed to continuing my work on Moodle and on keeping it Open and Free. I have a deeply-held belief in the importance of unrestricted education and empowered teaching, and Moodle is the main way I can contribute to the realisation of these ideals.
A number of early prototypes were produced and discarded before he released version 1.0 upon a largely unsuspecting world on August 20, 2002. This version was targeted towards smaller, more intimate classes at University level, and was the subject of research case studies that closely analysed the nature of collaboration and reflection that occurred among these small groups of adult participants.
Since then there has been steady series of new releases adding new features, better scalability and improved performance.
As Moodle has spread and the community has grown, more input is being drawn from a wider variety of people in different teaching situations. For example, Moodle is now used not only in Universities, but in high schools, primary schools, non-profit organisations, private companies, by independent teachers and even homeschooling parents. A growing number of people from around the world are contributing to Moodle in different ways - for more details see the Credits page.
An important feature of the Moodle project is moodle.org, which provides a central point for information, discussion and collaboration among Moodle users, who include system administrators, teachers, researchers, instructional designers and of course, developers. Like Moodle, this site is always evolving to suit the needs of the community, and like Moodle it will always be Free.
In 2003, the company moodle.com was launched to provide additional commercial support for those who need it, as well as managed hosting, consulting and other services.
For more about our future plans for Moodle, see the Future roadmap.