Martin Dougiamas, Founder and CEO
Scan the twitter feed of Martin Dougiamas (@moodler) and a shared post from UNICEF Education stands out. The post calls out that a right to education entails a right to learn. And its this alignment which has been the driver for Dougiamas in his extensive research over many years to advance the ways humans can use technology to support teaching and learning.
"We understand that education is the foundation of making the world a better place. We are always learning, improving how we learn, and helping those around us to learn and teach," says Martin Dougiamas, the founder and CEO of Moodle.
Martin is a visionary and in 2002, his research work led to the development of Moodle, a learning platform which empowers educators to improve our world.
Developed as an open source project, Moodle has been revolutionizing the global EdTech landscape ever since. The open-source Learning Management System (LMS) he created offers flexibility to create any learning environment and support any learning pedagogy - whether it is for the smallest home school or the largest university.
Vision to Action
The inception of Moodle is closely connected to Dougiamas' personal life. Receiving education from School of the Air, in the Australian outback in the late 70s, he started to deeply understand the challenges of distance education in remote places.
Years later, after gaining experience with WebCT, an online proprietary virtual learning environment and before learning management systems (LMS) were mainstream, he envisioned creating an alternative to traditional education and started investigating an innovative way to deliver online teaching.
In 1999, he started trialing early LMS prototypes and succeeded in creating Moodle, a modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment. After a few years and through his proprietary company, he organized the first-ever MoodleMoot event in Oxford - many companies and institutions were quick to understand the potential of Moodle.
We understand that education is the foundation of making the world a better place. We are always learning, improving how we learn, and helping those around us to learn and teach
From a few registered users in early days to more than 175 million users in 2019, the evolution has been rather sleek and timely: the team of more than 70 has been keeping the open-source project sustainable, has been driving growth and has established itself worldwide as a leading LMS.
Moodle’s mission is to empower educators to improve our world and its success has been to provide the flexibility to make teaching smarter and more efficient. An incredibly wide range of features and plugins, strong ways to extend through integrations with other systems, ability to customise - everything is there so that any institution can create their learning environment and tailor it to their own needs using Moodle.
At the forefront of Moodle’s functional and technical prowess is its dedicated open-source community and network of partners who contribute their time to constantly improve the platform. The popularity of Moodle proves once again that an open-source project has the best chance of succeeding when the teams, the community and the network of partners take an active role and become a strong ecosystem.
Moodle has made it possible by creating a solid collaborative approach through communication channels such as forums, discussions and events for example; allowing stakeholders to share ideas, support each other and even work collectively on translating materials in different languages for its global audience.
Transforming Education everywhere
As Martin confirms, “a long-term strategy towards transforming the education sector is only possible by empowering educators, trainers, and teachers first and our future is aligned with that belief.”
Thanks to the endless possibilities the platform offers, Moodle has been able to empower educators across different sectors: K-12, Higher-Education and the Corporate sector.
Moodle offers solutions specific to K-12 schools for example by allowing them to create social learning environments designed specifically to the classrooms. Higher Education institutions get the flexibility they need to manage the complexities of their learning environments. With its wide adoption among corporate entities, Moodle has also recently developed Moodle Workplace, a product proposition that responds to the particular needs of the corporate sector.
"We are not profit-driven; we focus on creating a platform that can empower educators and support the educational system. Moodle is just like Linux of learning management system"
While committed to providing and improving its LMS, Moodle is also set to explore other solutions to empower educators. For instance, it is about to launch MoodleNet, a new social media platform for educators to share and learn from each other and collaborate around curated collections of open-content.
But not only Moodle empowers educators to improve the world, it also helps in transforming access to education globally. For example, through its Moodle Apps where you can access learning materials offline and sync again when connected to the cloud, it helps to provide education to places where connectivity is a major issue.
Driven by Community, Supported by the World
From the initial stages of Moodle's development, Dougiamas always wanted to create a platform that supported the educational system. However, he was aware of the need for a viable business model to ensure the sustainability of the project.
"We are not profit-driven; we focus on creating a platform that can empower educators and support the educational system. Moodle is just like the Linux of learning management system," mentions Dougiamas.
Moodle’s business model works through its network of certified partners - it generates royalties when partners are using Moodle as part of their product proposition. Moodle Partners are experts in the field and understand local markets - they add value by responding to specific needs providing services such as installation, consulting, training or support for example.