Ask staff what they want their VLE to be able to do

Yesterday I was running a series of training sessions for a college starting to use Moodle as their VLE. At the end of the day I set up a very simple activity (using the Database activity) where I asked the staff to identify “Wouldn’t it be great if Moodle could….?”. I asked them to try and think outside of the box – e.g. what would make a huge difference to their teaching, but you don’t think Moodle can do.
wishing tree
I then quickly went through all the suggestions (8 in total) and explained which were or were not possible. Of the 8 suggestions, 6 of them were possible – this had a wow factor with the staff, most of whom had suggested things they didn’t think could be done. I then tried to reinforce the idea that you start with identifying what you want to do, rather than what you know how to do.

Of the suggestions, one of the ‘not possible’ ones, was taking the dogs for a walk. From the 6 possibles – ideas were things like:

  • Ability to set up a blog for them to carry out reflective practice (achievable with the OU blog plugin).
  • Ability for students to store files on the system (achievable with the Private files function).
  • Include an online video meeting space (achievable in various ways with a web conferencing tool).

This is the first time I had tried this activity. I set it up expecting some of the suggestions to be possible – I wasn’t expecting 75% of them to be possible. I will certainly be repeating this activity in the future.

Phote source:

3 Responses

  1. Great way to ‘flip’ the thinking, Dave. We can be blind-sided or distracted by what a tool can do. Wouldn’t it be great if you’d used Textwall to collate the answers, embedded it in Moodle and wowed them with that, lol🙂 Next time?

    • One question that came up (elsewhere in the day) was could Moodle send texts to people. I did mention that you could use a Textwall embedded in Moodle to collate texts from students.

      • That’s great😀.
        What is it about the vle that stops it from inspiring teachers to use it for more ‘constructivist’ activities?

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