We’ve been having a look at the developer release of Moodle 3.1 ahead of the official launch on the 23rd of May, and thought we’d share a few of the stand out features that we think really make it worthwhile upgrading.
Obviously, this is only an overview of what’s new in Moodle 3.1, there are many more minor changes and tweaks which are just as important if not quite as eyecatching. You can read the full release notes over at https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_3.1_release_notes
Competency support and learning plans
If you’ve heard of Totara – a business focused learning platform built on Moodle – you may have come across competencies or competency frameworks before. If not, now’s your chance to get to grips with them, as they’re supported in Moodle 3.1.
Essentially, you can now create a learning plan which contains a specific set of competencies, and apply it to an individual student or group. This gives you a framework within which both teacher and student can review progress towards specific achievements.
Students are also able to upload evidence of relevant prior learning which supports a particular competency to their learning plan.
Tagging activities and resources
From our conversations with schools it seems this is a feature which has been eagerly awaited for some time. Moodle 3.1 now allows you to quickly and easily tag activities and resources with simple text tags. Users can then search for and locate items with a specific tag, making it much easier to quickly identify all the content associated with a particular topic or learning goal.
Administrators can now enable global search for all users in Moodle 3.1, allowing you to search forums, wikis and other content on a site wide basis, giving you and your students faster access to the information you need without having to manually hunt through courses.
Simplified assignment grading
Teachers will be pleased to see that Moodle 3.1 brings an overhaul of the interface for grading assignments, with everything you need brought together into a single screen view. You can now also add annotations directly to any uploaded file type, saving time and improving communication with students.
Sharing activities between sites
Administrators can now share courses and activities between Moodle 3.1 sites, using a new authentication plugin and enrolment plugin. Associated grades can also be shared. This feature will definitely further benefit inter-school collaboration and sharing of best practice.
One-click bulk download of files
Moodle 3.1 allows a one click download of all files within a folder activity as a single ZIP file, which will be really helpful for students who need to grab a group of relevant resources for use offline, or teachers who want to take a quick backup of resources within a course.
The Recycle Bin plugin is now part of Moodle 3.1 as standard. This allows you to easily restore deleted resources, activities or even courses – handy if you’ve accidentally deleted something you didn’t mean to!
Improvements to the Moodle Mobile app
Alongside the release of Moodle 3.1 comes the new Moodle Mobile 3.1 app, and with it two new key features.
Firstly the app now allows users to view their learning plans from a mobile device and keep an eye on their progress, which we think will really help improve students’ engagement with this aspect of their education, and encourage self management.
Secondly, mobile quizzes are now available, allowing users to complete any standard Moodle quiz on their mobile device (with the exception of those requiring essay submissions). Certain quizzes can also be downloaded to a device for completion offline. This is a real step forwards for schools adopting mobile learning as part of their homework strategy or for off-site activities such as school trips.
We’ll be releasing more in depth resources on Moodle 3.1 in the lead up to, and following, the launch, including some video reviews of each of the new features, so keep an eye out on the blog or at www.twitter.com/tituslearning
In the meantime, if you have any questions about the new version, or you’d like to speak to us about upgrading to Moodle 3.1, please get in touch.