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MOODLE-APPLICATIONS IN EDUCATION STUDENTS UNIVERSITY OF

ZADAR
Ljiljana Zekanovi-Korona
Department of Tourism and Communication Sciences
University of Zadar
Franje Tumana 24i
ljkorona@unizd.hr

Kristijan Fuko
Vocational High School akovec
Vladimira Nazora 38
kristijan.fucko@ck.t-com.hr

Boena Krce Mioi


Department of Tourism and Communication Sciences
University of Zadar
Franje Tumana 24i
krceb@unizd.hr

The application of new educational technologies in the


education of students and pupils as well as all persons
involved in educational system is one of the greatest
imperatives nowadays. Moodle is software tool for the
creation of electronic educational content that is used
both in distance education and as a complement to
traditional
education.
This paper gives demonstratesth e usage of Moodle as
a system for distance learning in the education of
students. The study was carried out at the University of
Zadar. The data on the types of information used by
students within the Moodle program, the quantity and
types of educational facilities available to them, the usage
of e-learning, the appliance of multimedia to overcome
individual courses and writing term papers are presented
here. The quality of educational content created and the
usefulness of information and how this type of education
have been examined. At the same time the work shows to
what range the students use educational technologies
autonomously and how many teachers suggest their
students
to
use
these
technologies.
The informatization of education becomes a part of the
education of society and the assumption underlying the
quality
of
youth
education.
Keywords: technology, education, Internet, multimedia.

I. INTRODUCTION
The educational technology used in teaching
processes has been closely studied recently for several
reasons, one of which is that the application of new
technologies requires an appropriate level of knowledge
in order to be applicable in the best possible way. Since
information technology has become very important in all
working environments, it has taken an important role in
educational institutions as well. With its appearance the
study of educational technology has acquired a new
dimension. It is possible to study the effectiveness of a
new and an old educational model, compare them
and show the advantages and disadvantages of each. In
addition to classical education at the beginning of one's

educational process, the need to acquire new knowledge


appears and remains crucial throughout one's life. In
simple words, long-life learning has become a must for
everyone.
Similar to the very beginnings of introducing IT in
teaching even nowadays some teachers are very positive
about the application of computers in teaching, while
others still feel uncomfortable about it. In the beginnings,
some authors were great optimists who even euphorically
prophesied Mesiac role of computers in education. The
expectations were optimistic to the extent that it was
expected teachers to be exempt from their routine tasks at
school and in class, and that computers would provide
greater opportunities for effective management and
control of both students and teachers' work. Since most of
the students like using computers, it was expected that
they would be significantly motivated, providing a better
structuring of the teaching process as a whole. For most
advocates of computerised teaching their main reasons in
favour of this media in teaching process are:
rationalisation, the attractiveness and the effectiveness of
the
lessons
and
their
optimisation.
The development of society greatly depends on
education. Current information age brings many changes.
Therefore, the adjustment of educational system to these
changes is very significant and important. Mankind and
science are in constant progress, so that the changes in
content that is studied and taught is inevitable. The
changes in learning contents should be adjusted to the
changes in methods and forms of presentation of these
contents. Modern education requires a new model of
studying active studying based on informational
emphasised of the real world. Educational method based
on information and communication technology are being
emphasised. A necessary prerequisite for using modern
teaching methods is having computer literate teachers and
pupils/students. When applying new educational
technology in teaching it is necessary to take short
learning courses for already computer-literate teachers in
order to introduce them to a target software application.

Afterwards, it is them who plan and create a new


educational material and training course for the same
application, aimed for pupils/students. In order to achieve
goals it is essential to establish a support system for both
teachers and pupils/students. Researches have shown that
nothing can replace alive vocal presentation in traditional
teaching, especially if a lesson is conducted by an
interesting speaker. The aim is to direct teachers to a
combined model of teaching, in other words, to
supplement the traditional way of teaching with ICT.
Long-life learning represents an upgrading of existing
knowledge and the implementation of new knowledge
and new techniques of studying, although it has not been
widely used yet. Therefore, the institutions of higher
education must teach new generations of students of such
learning techniques via new educational technology.
Elder teachers find it difficult to adopt changes in their
methods of work, while younger teachers accept novelties
and changes in their work.
II. DISTANCE LEARNING (ONLINE LEARNING)
One of the forms of learning with the help of new
educational technology is distance learning or online
learning. Different technology is used for online learning.
Most frequent terms are: e-learning, learning via the
Internet, distributed learning, network learning, telelearning, virtual learning, computer-aided learning,
assisted learning using the Internet and distance learning.
Basic concept connecting all these terms is the fact that
there is a distance between students/pupils and
lecturers/teachers.
Student/pupil most often uses a computer in order to
reach learning material and to communicate with a
lecturer and other students. This form of learning involves
more than presentation and delivering material via the
Internet. In the centre of attention must be a student, a
process of studying and the communication pupil/student
teacher. A pupil/student can acquire the content via
distant learning even when one is not able to attend
regular lessons. There are neither time or distance limits
for such form of education.
In asynchronic online learning, a pupil(student) , in
other words, the user of online learning can access
educational materials and communicate with lecturers and
other course participants at any time, while synchronous
online learning provides real interaction between students
and lecturers. Pupils and students can use the Internet to
access the latest teaching materials. At the same time the
communication with relevant experts in the areas to be
tested is enabled. The process of learning takes place in
the pleasant surrounding of one's own home.
Teachers involved in online teaching can teach
wherever and whenever, even when they are physically
absent from their working place. Online materials can be
easily immediately so that pupils/students can
immediately see the changes. When materials are easily
accessible on the Internet a lecturer can direct students to
certain pieces of information more easily, taking into
consideration their individual needs. The distribution of
notices is very simple. If the system of online learning is
properly designed it can be used for defining students'

needs and their current level of knowledge. After the


evaluation of their current knowledge, pupils, students
and other participants can be directed to particular
materials in order to achieve goals wanted.
According to Bank and Reynolds (1997) online learning
has to offer challenging activities that enable students to
connect new pieces of information with the old ones, to
acquire meaningful knowledge and to use their
metacognitive abilities, which all encourages progressive
thinking on the Internet.1 It is teaching strategy that
influences the quality of learning, not the technology. A
media influences a process of learning, but it is not a
computer per se that motivates pupils and students to
study. It is the creation/the design of real, living models
and simulations together with the interaction of pupils
and students with those models and simulations. Besides
pupils/students' motivation it is a teacher, as the creator of
learning material and exercises, who has a the leading
role in this process.
A computer is just a means which enables the
distribution of information and carrying out classes.
Simulations have to be developed on appropriate design
principles in order that pupils and students learn from
them. There are many advantages of online learning.
However, it requires dedication and funds while materials
need to be designed in such a way that their focus is on
pupils, students and the process of learning, being
appropriately supported at the same time. The emphasis is
on the individual approach to pupil/student which should
bring to their better results and success. Via e-mail, a
teacher points out individual mistakes and pupils/students'
productivity increases.
Distant learning systems enable communication of
pupils/students via forums where they discuss topics,
compare their individual work, develop their critical
thinking, evaluate the importance or arguments and
publicly
support
their
own
opinion.
Besides the education in particular field pupils/students
acquire wider knowledge via LMS system in distance
learning since they learn how to write letters, discuss,
speak in public, support their opinion and notice
mistakes. Deduction abilities develop together with one's
own personality. The emphasis would be on discussing,
analytical skills, interpretations, writing skills, solving
problems through discussion forums.
Student's previous knowledge would manifest as well
as the experience of other students in forming new
meanings or knowledge. If the emphasis is on
interpretation or analysis of a real situation and applying
knowledge in new context, then media and technology
can be used since they accurately reflect real world, the
one that allows interpretation and analysis. (Bates and
Poole,
2003).

III. MOODLE

Mohamed Ally: Osnove obrazovne teorije online uenja,


asopis Edupoint br.1. godina 2004/05.

Moodle is an application for creating and


publishing teaching material via the Internet. Moodle is
an acronym of English words Modular Object-Oriented
Learning Environment, which, when translated, would be
Modular
object-oriented
dynamic
educational
environment. Moodle is open source tool, which means
that its users are able to adjust it to their own individual
needs besides having insight into original source. Moodle
is licenced by GNU Public Licence. It means, that despite
it has been protected, users are allowed to use, copy and
change the code and adjust it to their needs. Although it
enables other to use it under same conditions, they do not
change the original licence or protection, but the same
licence is valid for any work derived from the Moodle. 2
Moodle interface has been translated into 65 languages
and has been used in 163 countries. The community of its
users is numerous, it has excellent documentation and
support that has been used day in day out. The most
important features of Moodle are: courses design,
scheduling activities within courses, managing users and
user's role in a course, working with current files, testing
knowledge, monitoring users' activities, tools for
communication among users, safety copies and statistics
of the system
and
help support
system.
Moodle system distinguishes two groups of users:
administrators
and
ordinary
users.
The administrators have right to manage the system,
start new courses, add new users, etc. The users can have
different roles. There are three groups of users: teachers,
pupils/students and guests. Teachers are authorised to
design their courses and monitor the work of their
students. Students can examine learning materials for the
course they have applied, do knowledge quizzes and
communicate with their colleagues within their group.
Guests are allowed to view only certain information on
learning material in case an administrator allows them to.
In institutions of higher-education, like Sveuilite u
Zadru (The University of Zadar), there are a number of
Departments for study-as-you-work students. Since
students are not obliged to attend lectures due to their
working obligations there has to be some way to offer
them learning materials. The number of lecturers and
Departments that prepare high-quality materials within
Moodle system has increased and target students can
reach them easily. Even full-time students use these
materials as additional material to traditional classes.
These materials are of great help to all students since all
their obligations, tasks and materials are systematically
organised in one place. Teachers involved in this form of
teaching collect students' exercises via this system,
correct them and communicate further with students.

IV. METHOD
The research was carried out in the middle of academic
year 2009/2010 on random sample of 56 students at the
University of Zadar.
Both full-time and study-as-you-work students. The
method used in the research was an anonymous
2

Moodle book, HRopen, p.7

questionnaire with 34 questions of multiple-choice type.


The results were processed with Microsoft Excel. We
have analysed seventeen, in other words, half of the
questions in the questionnaire, that referred to the Moodle
system of distant learning. The questionnaire was quite
detailed, so we decided to analyse only half of the
questions.

V. THE RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


All the participants used Moodle system for distant
learning during their years of studying. We were
interested in when, to what extent and for which purposes
they use the system as well as their opinion on advantages
and
disadvantages
of
the
system.
Majority of them, namely 56,25%, said that the
Moodle system is well structured. Picture 1 shows the
answers to the question whether the system is simple
and adapted to all levels of users (1- I completely do not
agree, 2 I partially do not agree, 3 I agree and
disagree, 4 I partially disagree, 5- I completely agree)

Picture 1.
The graph shows that 62,5% of the questioned people
agree with the statement that the system is simple and
adapted for all users (whether they partially agree or
completely agree).
They gave an average mark of 3.21 for the quality of
learning materials for studying within the system.
Standard deviation is 1.08, and mean deviation from
arithmetic mean 33.6%. They marked the range of
studying material with the average mark of 3.4 (standard
deviation is 1.17, and mean deviation from arithmetic
mean 34.4%). The functionality of the system is marked
with an average mark of 3.5 They gave an average mark
of 3.21 for the quality of learning materials for studying
within the system. Standard deviation is 1.08, and mean
deviation from arithmetic mean 33.6%. They marked the
range of studying material with the average mark of 3.4
(standard deviation is 1.21, and mean deviation from
arithmetic mean 34.5%). The Moodle system was mostly
accessible (the average mark of accessibility: 3.85,
standard deviation 1.17 and mean deviation from
arithmetic mean 30.4%). The average mark for methods
of presentation in the system is 3.23 (standard deviation is
1.07, mean deviation from arithmetic mean 33%).
Not all the teachers using the system were involved in the

questionnaire via the system, so that not all of them were


able to answer the questions referring the testing via
Moodle system. Installing tests to the system requires a
great deal of engagement at the beginning, until the
database of questions is created. Further problems may be
carrying out tests via the system because the testing must
take place in IT classrooms, with smaller groups of
students, which takes more time for testing, despite the
fact that the process of evaluation is automatised. A
teacher estimates calculates whether to spare more time
for assessing classical written test or to waste time
preparing questions for testing within the system. What is
more, not all courses are available within the Moodle
system, although the number of courses within the system
has been increasing. The range of communication with
mentors via the system used is shown in picture 2.

Picture 2.
The average mark of courses within the system
involved in the research is 3.79 (standard deviation 0.69,
mean deviation from arithmetic mean 18.1%).
In comparing traditional lessons and online learning
average mark for traditional lessons is 3.33, and for
online
learning
3.48.
The advantages of this system, as stated by the
participants, are the possibility to study within time they
want, and the possibility of multiplied revision.

VI. CONCLUSION
After analysing collected data the conclusion is that the
Moodle system at the University of Zadar was primarily
used for study-as-you-work students, and at the same
time as additional help for full-time students. The
students' opinions are mostly positive and find this way of
studying as helpful. From comparing traditional and
online learning slight advantage is given to new way of
studying, which means that novelties in education are
welcomed. Materials need to be improved and enriched
with multimedia content. Teachers have to encourage
communication with students within the system as well as
the communication among students via forums and
groups. It is necessary to increase the number of courses
available within the system.
LITERATURE

1 Zekanovi-Korona,Lj.& Kalaji V.(2004):Internet i


multimedija u obrazovanju studenata Sveuilita u Zadru,
Zbornik radova MIPRO CE 2004
2 Topolovac,V.&Rosi,V.&Pavli,M.(1998):
Informacijska tehnologija i njen utjecaj na naobrazbu,
Journal Informatologia 31,1998,1-2,1-124
3 Panian, . (2002.): Izazovi elektronikog poslovanja,
Narodne novine. Zagreb.
4 Mohamed Ally: Osnove obrazovne teorije online uenja,
asopis Edupoint br.1. godina 2004/05
[5] Moodle book, HRopen