Tag Archives: teaching resources

Improving Moodle’s Usability, Updates Included

23 Aug


A note from Ann Fandrey
(more info about her within the post):
Exciting things have happened since I wrote two posts on course website usability for the U Minn TILT blog. Notably, Esther Maruani and Kate Briggs in the Department of Psychology helped us gather some data that showed overwhelmingly: students love these sites! When asked to compare their old Moodle site with a new one receiving a course website usability makeover (“reMoodled”), 80% of PSY 1001 students said they found the redesigned site more pleasant to visit (606 responses/63% response rate). Sixty-six percent were able to figure out the organizational scheme more quickly than the old site and 63% were able to find materials more quickly. From these numbers, it is clear that reMoodled sites are more learnable, more efficient, and more effective at helping students find and access learning materials on course websites.

While instructors do experience a slight learning curve learning to use Moodle in this new way, one instructor remarked, “I get fewer student questions. It’s replacing the need for the administrative PowerPoints I usually have to give.” We are thrilled to hear that reMoodled course websites can actually result in more class time for educational activities.

We’ve added an instructor support/template Moodle site; you can self enroll with enrollment key “ID” to access this resource.

Ann’s original post – included below – is Part 1 of 2; you’ll find a Part 2 link at the end of that post.   And for easy reference, here are direct links to each of those original parts:

Improving Moodle’s Usability, Part 1 – http://wp.me/p1Mdiu-1bs

Improving Moodle’s Usability, Part 2 – http://wp.me/p1Mdiu-1bH.


We – and our students – live in an Internet-saturated world, spending an average of 29 hours per month online. Web designers, usability experts, user experience designers and content strategists study and improve these web-based experiences daily. From this, the task is to connect what is known about web usability to how we can (re)design online course websites.

In my role as an instructional designer in the College of Liberal Arts, I’ve used a framework informed by principles from the field of web usability to redesign more than 2 dozen course websites. From this work, I’ve identified 3 principles that can be applied to your own Moodle course sites:

  1. Identify your users’ main goals
  2. Unify your messaging
  3. Minimize interaction costs

In this space, I’m primarily concerned with navigation and the display of information on a Moodle course site, as opposed to other facets of eLearning such as pedagogy and…

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