Where it all began: A remote town in Western Australia
As a young boy, Moodle’s Founder and CEO, Martin Dougiamas, lived nearly 1000 kilometres from the nearest school in a remote area of the Western Australian desert. This was in the 1970s, long before computers were a household item or readily accessible to students. To pursue his education, Martin’s family registered him into the School of Air – learning delivered through shortwave radio, the best available technology at the time. This experience with distance learning sowed the seeds of Martin’s vision to use the Internet to:
- Take education beyond physical classrooms that have barely changed in hundreds of years
- Enable quality education in all corners of the globe
Coupled with this vision is Martin’s support of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights that everyone has the right to education. To break the barriers faced by millions in accessing education, Martin founded Moodle with the goal of creating an online learning solution that is flexible to learner’s needs, accessible, and would provide a quality education for all.
Founder & CEO, Moodle
"One of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. In fact that’s the most important one, because without that, we can’t achieve any of the other sixteen goals!"
By the late 90’s, Martin has completed a computer science degree and is working at Curtin University of Technology as an “Internet consultant” and lecturer, experimenting with trying to get academics teaching online using the web. Some bad experiences with existing tools such as WebCT get him started on building his own tools.
Martin realises he needs to learn more about communications theory and education, and commences a Masters in Science Education, and then later a PhD with Professor Peter Taylor. The paper Improving the Effectiveness of Online Learning describes study around some early prototypes.
Martin starts calling his new system Moodle, a word he invents based on the acronym Martin’s Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (later changed to Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, when other people started to use it).
Research continues with the first-ever Moodle course named “Constructivism” which runs at Curtin University (archived at http://smec2001.moodle.com/). Martin makes his first post on his own Moodle.com site in November 2001. Martin and Professor Peter Taylor publish An Interpretive analysis of an internet based course constructed using a new courseware tool called Moodle. By the end of 2001, Moodle can be downloaded via CVS (Git arrived in 2010 and replaced CVS in 2013) and basic installation documentation is available.
Action is in full swing now, and within months, Moodle is being used all over the world.
Moodle 1.0 is released on August 20th 2002.
Martin sets up the Moodle tracker in May 2002, “so you can see what I am working on.”
After Moodle 1.0 is released, users start discussing Moodle on a new forum, translating Moodle into different languages and creating themes.
The first contributed module (workshop) is released.
The community installation of Moodle including all the community forums is migrated to Moodle.org, with Moodle.com becoming the commercial aspect.
Martin presents Moodle at Edmedia 2003 conference with the paper: Moodle: Using Learning Communities to Create an Open Source Course Management System. The conference is attended by innovators in the burgeoning EdTech field from all over the world. Martin’s presentation of the paper (and demo of Moodle) is full to capacity, and the organisers ask him to present it again the next day – to another full room.
Moodle LMS 1.1
1000 registered Moodle sites
The first ever Moodle conference for Moodle users to share experiences and to learn from each other is hosted in Oxford – £15 for admission and cake! The organiser, Sean Keogh, names it a MoodleMoot (A moot is an old english word meaning a “meeting of the wise”), and to this day, all official Moodle conferences are still called MoodleMoots!
Martin registers the word ‘Moodle’ as a trademark of Moodle Pty Ltd and explains his choice of name in a forum post some years later.
Companies commence applying to become Moodle partners and the first partnerships are being finalised.
Moodle LMS 1.2
Moodle LMS 1.3
Moodle LMS 1.4
Moodle HQ moves to its first permanent office occupying a small orange house at 16 Wickham St in East Perth growing up to 5 staff.
At the Spanish MoodleMoot 2005 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the mojito establishes itself as the unofficial – and then subsequently official – MoodleMoot drink.
Moodle LMS 1.5
Moodle LMS 1.6
Moodle LMS 1.7
With improved documentation and new certifications, Moodle LMS establishes itself as a leading and award-winning open source LMS.
Moodle joins forces with eff.org (a leading non profit defending digital privacy, free speech and innovation) to overturn a patent granted to a leading propriety software company allowing them to own education software designed to facilitate collaborative working by a number of users.
Moodle LMS 1.8
500,000 registered Moodle users
Moodle continues growing from strength to strength, and by 2008 has established itself as the dominant LMS, winning multiple awards and registering over half a million users.
In 2008, Martin accepts the Google O’Reilly Open Source Award.
Moodle LMS 1.9
The School of Isolated & Distance Education in Western Australia, the “School of the Air” that Martin, Moodle’s CEO and Founder attended in the 1970s, implements a pilot program using Moodle.
Moodle 2.0 launches on November 24. Moodle now integrates with external repositories of content and supports standards-based web services.
Just two years after hitting half a million registered users, Moodle reaches a new milestone with 1 million users.
Moodle now has 50 certified Moodle partners.
The Translation repository AMOS holds over 100 languages.
Moodle LMS 2.1
Moodle LMS 2.2
Moodle App 1.1 is launched.
The first Moodle Research Conference held in Crete in 2012 attracts over 100 researchers, and serves as a reminder that, however advanced the technology, Moodle design and development is guided by social constructionist pedagogy.
Moodle is mandated as the online learning management system across all classes at the Western Australian School of Isolated & Distance Education, that same “School of the Air” that Martin, Moodle’s CEO and Founder, attended in the 1970s.
Moodle LMS 2.3
Moodle LMS 2.4
The current focus is on mobile technology: an official HTML5 app is released and Moodle includes a customisable theme suitable for all screen sizes. The new Moodle App is released later in the year.
In September, the first official Moodle MOOC, Learn Moodle, introduces over 9000 participants to Moodle’s basic features, demonstrating Moodle’s abilities as a MOOC platform. The MOOC’s success makes it a permanent fixture of the community, and continues to run for each new release of Moodle LMS.
Moodle LMS 2.5
Moodle LMS 2.6
Moodle LMS 2.7
Moodle LMS 2.8
Moodle LMS 3.0: improvements in usability and the user interface for students, teachers and admins. Many of Moodle’s activities keep evolving with advanced functionality.
Moodle App 2.0 launches, supporting the majority of Moodle’s core activities and new plugins.
18 million registered users
Moodle achieves its greatest milestone yet: it becomes the world’s most used learning management system.
In July, alongside a major redesign of moodle.com, a new initiative is announced: MoodleCloud offering free hosting for Moodle sites, managed by Moodle HQ.
Moodle LMS 2.9
Moodle App 2.1 – 2.7
Moodle App 3.0 is released, with usability and interface improvements to the chat activity, messaging and video player.
Branded Moodle App launches. Organisations can now have their own, customised app to provide streamlined learning on mobile devices.
100 million registered users
Moodle 3.0 brings so much success to Moodle, that it reaches a new record of registered users.
The mobile app updates now include almost all the standard features available on desktop and we see the release of the Branded App. This is a commercial service where organisations can have their branding applied to the standard app.
Throughout 2016, HQ works on improving Moodle’s User Experience (UX) by forming the first UX team and also releasing a fresh new default theme – the Boost theme.
Moodle LMS 3.1
Moodle LMS 3.2
Moodle App 3.1 – 3.2
Moodle partners with ‘Education for the Many’, an investor dedicated to financially supporting entrepreneurs who are changing the world through education.
New projects are developed, including:
- Spreading MoodleMoot events into many more countries around the world
- Establishing the first Education team
- Re-affirming Moodle’s mission of empowering educators to improve our world
Moodle LMS 3.3
Moodle LMS 3.4
Moodle App 3.3 – 3.4
Moodle LMS 3.5
Moodle LMS 3.6
Moodle App 3.5
Moodle Workplace is launched
The first Global MoodleMoot takes place in Barcelona in November 2019.
The Moodle Plugin Directory reaches 1,600, with over 380,400 downloads.
The Moodle App becomes available in Google Play and the App Store (iOS).
Moodle announces the launch of Moodle Workplace at the Learning Technologies conference in February: a flexible, multi-tenant and customisable platform that transforms human capital management and enhances the functionalities of Moodle LMS for workplace learning.
Moodle LMS 3.7
Moodle LMS 3.8
Moodle App 3.7 – 3.9
Moodle Workplace 3.7 – 3.8
190 million users on over 145,000 Moodle sites
The latest versions of Moodle LMS enable educators to create and upload H5P content, store it, personalise it, use it across multiple courses, and have grades displayed in the gradebook. Course content can be downloaded and browsed offline and enables paid enrolments. Moodle Quiz, one of the most popular and loved activities on Moodle, is further improved with new UX features.
Moodle LMS 3.10 achieves WCAG 2.1 AA accreditation after an accessibility audit.
Launch of Bugcrowd security program.
In May, the Moodle Educator Certification program is launched to certify experienced Moodle-using teachers, and progress is made on a new resource-sharing site MoodleNet.
The global COVID-19 pandemic creates an exponential increase in demand for online or e-learning management solutions to allow educators to keep teaching K-12 school, vocational and higher educational students. Moodle responds with a MoodleCloud plan for up to 1000 users.
Due to COVID-19, all MoodleMoots move to virtual conferences. In particular, Moodle runs the Global MoodleMoot in 5 languages with over 1400 paying attendees.
Moodle’s network of Certified Service Providers are located in 52 countries and speaking over 35 different languages. In February, the Moodle Certified Premium Partner program is launched.
Moodle LMS 3.9
Moodle LMS 3.10
Moodle App 3.9
Moodle Workplace 3.9 – 3.10
Moodle Academy, the learning hub for the global Moodle community, is launched in August 2021.
Moodle 4.0 is planned for release in late 2021. It will provide major strides forward in user experience.
MoodleNet, the network to share and curate open educational resources will be revamped and launched.
Moodle US launches! Moodle acquires three US-based Moodle Partner companies: My Learning Consultants, Moonami Learning Solutions and Elearning Experts to form Moodle US representing the first time customers can access services direct from Moodle itself. Moodle US unites an outstanding team of Moodle experts and hosting technology for customers in the US.
Moodle becomes a Certified B Corporation. After an organisation-wide review of Moodle’s social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, this certification recognises Moodle’s commitment to using business as a force for good.
Moodle LMS 3.11
Moodle Workplace 3.11
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