Which LMS?

18 Nov

As the year trundles, or rather hurtles towards its end I find myself with an agonizing decision to make. Do I stick with my current Learning Management System, Moodle, or join those in my school, who have turned to Google Classroom? This is not something I have thought about since adopting Moodle – it seems a life-time ago now. I am a happy Moodle user, indeed an enthusiast. It is not that Moodle has dropped off in performance, in fact quite the opposite, it has been improving substantially! Is it that I have become smitten with Google Classroom? No, not at all. Google Classroom can’t set a candle to my Moodle!

So why am I considering writing a Dear John letter to my beloved LMS?

The school where I teach is currently rolling out a new IT policy, which has greatly upped the ante, and meant that the vast majority of staff have adopted Google Classroom as their platform of choice. Although Moodle, Classroom and Edmodo all have their adherents, both the older platforms have lost significant support to the new-comer! All our devices are now synched to Google drive so the weight of institutional support for a Google environment has meant that Edmodo and Moodle users have found themselves rapidly depleted in numbers.

I ran one of my classes on Classroom this year to see if I could live with it, and found that although the platform has none of the raw power of Moodle, or none of the appeal of Edmodo, it is easy enough to use, and is improving with time and exposure. What at first I found very counter-intuitive has become tolerable enough to consider moving in together! I’ve gotten used to the hairs in the sink, or the lipstick on the tea-cups, so to speak.

I had a long think about it this week, while invigilating exams, drew up a mental list of pros and cons. My list looked something like this:

Moodle Google Classroom
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Can do just about anything. Like Mary Poppins it is practically perfect in every way!

No, seriously, it is custom made for classroom management and handles these things very well indeed!

Can do groups, sub-groups, peer assessment, online quizzes – everything!

Assessment using rubrics

As fewer staff are using it, it is less familiar to students and harder for them to use

It takes up local server space

Integrates well with Google Drive which is very useful for online collaboration tasks

Easy to mark written work using comments

Integrates with your email well

Can’t do groups

Doesn’t notify you of new submissions or re-submissions o you have to check everything to see if new works has been submitted

So, after reflecting on this for the length of an excruciating invigilation session, it seemed to me that for my computer skills classes I simply could not give up Moodle as it gave me the ability to assess using rubrics, and to create groups and peer assessment effortlessly. For my English class, however, the affordance of easily linking to Google docs for collaborative writing was irresistible, and despite all Moodle’s benefits, I actually preferred Google Classroom.

Looks like I will end up being unexpectedly promiscuous next year!




5 responses to “Which LMS?

  1. John Laskaris @ Talent LMS

    November 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry, Dorian, that’s absolutely understandable. I have to say I haven’t yet heard the rubrics angle when talking about Moodle, pretty interesting.


  2. Joe Montuori

    November 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    My 9-12 school went from Blackboard to a combo of Blackboard and Google Classroom, and now have switched to Canvas, though many teachers are sticking with their Google Classroom setups. As in your case, I suspect some students might find the variety challenging.

    And I absolutely agree that Google is much more limited than full LMS platforms such as Moodle. More teachers like Classroom here because it is so limited. That is, its limitations make it simple and easy for teachers to learn and manage.

    By the way, if down the road your school considers alternatives, one advantage of Canvas is that all storage is left on its servers, not your schools. And its mobile app is pretty slick for student use.


    • Dorian Love

      November 20, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Thanks, Joe. I’ve heard people rave about Canvas, but have never tried it in anger, so to speak!


  3. John Laskaris @ Talent LMS

    November 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I’d just like to add that there’s a myriad of learning management systems available – you shouldn’t consider just two examples.


    • Dorian Love

      November 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks, John. You are correct, of course, but I’m writing from my experience.



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