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Saturday, April 16, 2022

Moodle 4.0 Is Here! What's new?

Moodle 4.0 is here! I’m trying to determine just what the advantages are and how much of a step change it is from Moodle 3.11.  I don’t think that Moodle can change the basic architecture for a number of reasons. So, the changes have to come in things like user experience and efficiency.  

 If you've worked with Moodle for very long, you know that it can be a place of almost infinite complexity, but also almost Zen-like simplicity. It's also a veritable ant-hill of programming activity, as programmers develop productivity and design apps - some are available for free, others require a download fee.  Moodle and Moodle partners are likewise entrepreneurial, and you can quickly use pre-built templates and hosting and an integrated software-as-a-service solution.


Improved User Experience, with modules listed in an easy-to-follow design.


MoodleCloud is still in 3.11, so I can’t experiment with it as much as I’d like. However, the “sandbox” is still available, and one can select a role as student, teacher, or manager, to play around with it.  

Here are some of my initial thoughts:


1.  Much improved user experience, in terms of navigation, layout, use of new thumbnails, and course construction (with drag and drop). 

2.  The default theme being used in the Sandbox (probably either Clean or Boost) is very attractive and easy to use.  

3.  Fully responsive interface that works well with tablets, laptops, and phones. 

4.  Improved navigation – you can tell where you are, and can go back to a previous screen very easily. There may be some AI-based plug-ins that can help refine "smart navigation."  

5.  One can use the calendar as a dashboard. The "My Courses" screen can display in a number of different options. The “Card” option makes the interface look a lot like the way Canvas displays available courses.

My Courses page

6.  The basic structure of the learning management system is the same, so the same names, arrangement, process and procedure works.

7.  Moodle 4.0 is available for download if you’d like to host courses on your own server. That PRO is also a CON if you’re not ready to be a Moodle Administrator. 

8.  Outside Apps more easily integrate with Moodle 4.0.  Integrating apps has always been fairly easy by means of a link or embedded log-in.  I don’t know to what extent single-sign on is facilitated, and if authentication is otherwise streamlined. 

9.  There is less content on each screen. Not only is it easier to see with your tablet or phone, it’s much easier to stay focused and avoid distractions due to a busy design.

10.  Moodle is open source, which means that there is an entire industry dedicated to building plug-ins and other features that are useful and needed.  I would not be surprised if there will be machine learning-based apps that can detect patterns in student performance and help administrators and even teachers, see student preferences, gaps in knowledge, and collaborative strengths.   


1.  If you have not worked with Moodle before, you may feel a bit discouraged. Moodle is not a very intuitive LMS, and one may not know where everything is without going through a pretty thorough training course.

Courses and categories admin screen

2.  It’s not clear how much Universal Design for Learning was used with the new interface, dashboard, icons, etc.  I did not see multiple modes of content delivery on the sample classes in the sandbox site, but that does not mean that they are not available.

3.  Moodle 4.0 is not yet available in MoodleCloud, which is the most popular cloud-based Moodle.

4.  Moodle documentation is still at 3.11. 

An Initial Chat:

Relatecasts' Rick Zanotti and I had an informal conversation about Moodle 4.0, just hours after its release to the web on April 14.  Please click on the link to hear our conversation on E-Learn Chat.  I'm not as clear as I could be as I respond to Rick's questions -- I think my enthusiasm about the  arrival got the best of me :)  Please click and listen, then share your thoughts.

E-Learn Chat on the debut of Moodle 4.0 - speaking with Rick Zanotti

 Here's a link to the chat:

 Please note that an updated version of Packt Publishing's guide to Moodle course development will be published in July 2022, just in time to get courses and programs up and running. 


Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D. 



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