We are well on the road to Moodle 4.0, the User Experience (UX) centrepiece that will transform Moodle LMS. Scheduled for release in November 2021, the journey to Moodle 4.0 has depended on engagement with the Moodle community – students, teachers, administrators, developers, partners and the Moodle Users Association.
Martin Dougiamas, Moodle Founder and CEO, explains, “We are breaking new ground with this release and creating processes to obtain wide input from our community is key to its success. Our community is one of Moodle’s greatest strengths and thorough engagement with them has been key in developing a UX roadmap that tackles and prioritises the most desired enhancements. We’re looking for a “wow!” from our users, whether you’ve been using Moodle for 10 years or 10 minutes, so that we can empower educators worldwide to do amazing things with the deep features Moodle has developed over the years.”
Phase 1 of the project is now complete and has involved an in depth vision and prioritisation phase.
Moodle UX Lead, Candice Diemer says, “We established a UX team on moodle.org in order to make contact with the community and provide a platform to share research, communicate our process and engage community members. This is an extensive project involving phases in discovery, delivery and release. We kicked off our discovery phase in May 2020 with two key activities that allowed us to define the projects for the Moodle 4.0 roadmap. These included a user experience benchmark study and series of twelve workshops.”
With over 770 survey responses, the initial benchmark survey resulted in a confidence level of 95%. The survey asked respondents, “What challenges you the most on a day to day basis?” In categorising and ranking responses on severity, some key themes emerged including:
- educators ability to create, duplicate, reuse and move course content;
- students capacity to easily navigate the interfaces;
- quiz and assignment set up and workflow; and
- fragmented gradebook workflows.
This quantitative study was supplemented by a series of 12 workshops involving educators, students and our developer community. Conducted over July and August 2020, the qualitative sessions focussed on the vision of 4.0 identifying target audiences and user journey mapping over the user lifecycle. The results from the educator and student user journey mapping were extracted and identified key themes for educators around navigating between courses at speed; creating, editing, moving and duplicating content; grading; activities; resources and quiz. Correspondingly, the student user journey mapping highlighted enhancements required in navigating between courses and activities, navigating the dashboard and the grading and assignment process. The workshops also involved some organic ideation in which Moodle HQ and participants worked together to consider some creative design solutions.
Candice, Moodle’s UX lead says, “Engagement with the community has allowed us to identify 3 key objectives for Moodle 4.0 – the need to optimise the UX for the most critical user tasks, create a new design language for Moodle LMS and apply our user centred design framework in delivering solutions. The key theme areas that we are focussing on for the optimisation of the UX include improving the navigation for the teacher and student experience, “create a course” workflows for teachers and the student “do a course” workflows. We will also focus on improving the student and teacher dashboard experience. These issues were prioritised via a qualifying criteria process which identified the scale of problem, investment of time to resolve and impact of the result.”
The UX team is working in partnership with the Moodle LMS developer and product team throughout the project. “We work in agile with Moodle’s development team. During this time of ideation and prototype development, the UX team has been rapidly testing solutions with end users. Our current focus is on the new navigation. We have completed fifty hours of qualitative usability evaluation on different user journeys. This has included using different navigation methods to find things deep within the LMS. The evidence from feedback is that this has been extremely successful.”
Prototypes for the new Moodle 4.0 navigation are currently being finalised and a demonstration showing the new primary navigation and secondary navigation will be presented to the Moodle community in February 2021. A new navigation component called the “Course Index” will also be unveiled which is an innovative piece of functionality that has received huge endorsement via the usability testing.
This will be followed between March and August 2021 by prototype development and usability testing for a range of other enhancements.
Moodle 4.0 is scheduled for release in November 2021.