From campuses to companies: How Moodle scales for large-scale learning

August 14, 2023 By Sonya Trivedi

In the ever-changing world of eLearning, the importance of scalable and reliable Learning Management Systems (LMS) can’t be overstated. 

As digital education continues to grow and institutions look for platforms that can keep pace, it’s essential to understand the capabilities and features that underpin Moodle’s performance at scale. In this article, we’ll showcase how to optimise Moodle for large installations featuring hundreds of thousands of users accessing resources, learning and interacting simultaneously.  We also highlight success stories with universities and organisations globally that take advantage of Moodle’s capacity at scale.

Designed to grow

Moodle’s ability to effectively manage large-scale installations is particularly useful for universities and expansive enterprise training programs that require a system which can support a significant number of users while maintaining its adaptability to diverse learning environments. More than just user volume, these installations demand stability, resilience, and consistent performance. With its robust architecture and an active community of developers and educators, Moodle LMS and Moodle Workplace meet these needs efficiently.

Moodle LMS is designed with a clear separation of application layers or tiers, which enables it to perform in environments with load balancers that distribute requests and traffic to sites across multiple web servers. The Moodle architecture has also been designed to accommodate auto-scaling, which means that Moodle’s performance need not be compromised by sudden increases in the volume of traffic. It also allows limits to be set on memory requests by a given page in order to prevent memory hoarding by one user or process, ensuring uptime and consistent performance.

Optimising Moodle for large-scale installations

As revealed in the podcast conversation between Moodle and one of its Premium Certified Partners, Titus Learning, Moodle can be optimised for large scale installations through utilising the expertise of a vetted Moodle Certified Partner or Service Provider. This involves:

  • Performance benchmarking: Before deploying a solution, Moodle Certified Partners or Service Providers will conduct performance benchmarking which includes load and stress testing as part of their service offering. This helps in understanding the design limits of an installation and evaluating its behaviour under peak load conditions. By understanding normal peak usage during teaching periods, a Moodle Certified Partner or Service Provider ensures an installation can handle traffic spikes efficiently and optimises a site to cater to the unique needs of a customers solution, whether a school, university or enterprise. 
  • Auto-scaling: The Moodle architecture has been designed to accommodate auto-scaling based on demand. This means that the system can scale up to handle sudden bursts of user activity during peak usage times. This process will largely depend on ensuring a stable and scalable hosting environment with the support of Moodle Certified Partner or Service Provider. 
  • Database management: Moodle Certified Partners and Service Providers have expertise in specifying the appropriate data base resources and sizing to match a customers scalability requirements. This supports the platform’s robustness in serving a large number of users simultaneously.
  • Integrated solution: Moodle Certified Partners and Service Providers can maximise the performance and efficiency of a Moodle installation by delivering comprehensive services including hosting, security, maintenance, data migration, and course design. These elements work seamlessly together to offer a seamless, stable, and consistent user experience.

For organisations that feel locked into older infrastructures, there are benefits of reaching out to Moodle Certified Partners and Service Providers. Our global network is certified by our high standards in customer service and technical capability and have  the expertise and resources to help organisations transition to or upscale their Moodle instance, even if they are dealing with technical debt from legacy systems.

Moodle at scale – success stories

Navitas, Australia

Navitas is a global education provider that offers a wide range of programs, from pre-university and pathway programs to postgraduate degrees, serving over 70,000 learners across 120 colleges and campuses. Facing challenges like fragmented infrastructure with over 40 individual Moodle LMS instances and manual maintenance leading to high costs, they sought a standardised, scalable, and cost-effective solution. With the expertise of Moodle Premium Certified Partner, Catalyst IT Australia, the project delivered a platform for Navitas global network to support a robust and sustainable user experience for all of their learners and 600 staff. 

Read the full case study

Concordia University, Canada

Located in Montreal, Canada, Concordia University (CU) supports 45,000 students and over 2,000 staff through its Moodle LMS. CU offers 300 undergraduate programmes, 195 graduate programmes, diplomas and certificates, and 40 postgraduate programmes. Its Faculty of Fine Arts is one of the largest in Canada.

Challenged with the rapid transition to online exams and ensuring their integrity, they collaborated with Moodle Premium Certified Partner,Catalyst IT Canada to introduce COLE – Concordia OnLine Exams. Catalyst provides managed services, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure.

This innovative platform offers a user-friendly experience and stands as a testament to cutting-edge online education tools.

Read the full case study

Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico

Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla is one of the top five largest universities in Mexico, with over 150,000 students. This project was conducted in a collaboration with Moodle HQ, Emprove (Moodle Partner in Mexico), and MindFree (Moodle Certified Partner in Chile). MindFree, operating from Chile, undertook the technical responsibilities, which encompassed managing and monitoring the client’s infrastructure and offering 24/7 support. The outcome for the university was a stable, scalable platform that proficiently addresses all their educational needs.

The Universidad Cesar Vallejo, Peru

Universidad Cesar Vallejo, one of Peru’s largest universities, serves approximately 90,000 postgraduate students. While they initially used another platform for their undergraduate programs, the institution faced recurrent platform crashes, especially during quiz sessions. Approaching Moodle Certified Partner MindFree for a solution, the immediate task was service stabilisation. Afterwards, a brand-new platform was architected from the ground up to tackle the root issues. Integration with the university’s systems followed, seamlessly automating processes through Moodle. Today, the university enjoys a stable learning environment, with all processes streamlined and automated.

Girls Go Circular, UK

Girls Go Circular is an EU-funded project striving to close ‌gender disparity in STEM fields. Targeting schoolgirls aged 14–19, the project educates the participants with  digital and entrepreneurial skills, while also delving into the circular economy. Coordinated by EIT RawMaterials, with learning content created by seven EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, the programme plans to reach 40,000 girls in Southern and Eastern Europe by the end of 2027. To meet its targets, the program needed a learning management system to deliver effective online learning to girls across the EU. In a collaboration with Moodle Partner Synergy Learning, a Moodle Workplace solution was implemented to help facilitate the learning process. A remarkable 13,500+ girls in Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and other EU countries have benefited from this transformative program. This included 700 schools, more than 30,000 registered users in its first three months after launching three million page views and 58,000 return logins in one month alone. This instant impact was recognised when Girls Go Circular won Tech For Good Project of the Year at the Digital DNA Awards 2022. 

Read the full case study

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, UK

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust is responsible for running the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. It is one of the country’s largest acute hospital trusts, treating over half a million patients annually, and is the second largest employer within Portsmouth. With challenges arising from their standard Moodle setup for staff training and the need for increased process automation, they turned to Moodle Certified Premium Partner)Titus Learning ( in 2020 to develop a custom Moodle Workplace solution. The solution aimed to accommodate the Trust’s 8000+ learners and address their specific needs. As a result, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust has introduced process automation to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

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Active IQ, UK

Active IQ is one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations for the active leisure, learning, and wellbeing sector. They are recognised and regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales, and CCEA, and their remit involves designing, testing, and awarding accredited qualifications to support the physical activity sector. Active IQ approached Moodle Partner Titus with the goal of expanding their eLearning capabilities. ​​Recognising the limitations of their previous platform, they sought advancements in automation, intricate reporting, and multi-tenancy. Titus delivered a custom Moodle Workplace solution to meet all Active IQ’s requirements. Key features included increased automation in the backend, allowing stakeholders to focus on content creation, and enhanced reporting capabilities to identify effective content types. Active IQ’s new Moodle platform is used by roughly 10,000 learners, of which approximately one in four access learning via a mobile device. The LMS hosts 300 courses split across 30 qualification programmes, supported by a library of over 4000 SCORM packages and other resources.

Read the full case study


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