Propósitos y RepresentacionesISSN 2307-7999e-ISSN 2310-4635Mar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), e1104Special Number: Professional competencies for international university 2.1104RESEARCH ARTICLEMoodle LMS: Positive and Negative Aspects of Using DistanceEducation in Higher Education InstitutionsMoodle LMS: aspectos positivos y negativos del uso de laeducación a distancia en instituciones de educación superiorEvgeny Evgenievich EgorovKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, Nizhny Novgorod, RussiaORCID: 0000-0003-0082-3712Maria Petrovna ProkhorovaKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, Nizhny Novgorod, RussiaORCID: 0000-0003-0357-4213Tatiana Evgenievna LebedevaKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, Nizhny Novgorod, RussiaORCID: 0000-0001-9672-1395Olga Aleksandrovna MineevaKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, Nizhny Novgorod, RussiaORCID: 0000-0002-5669-3497Svetlana Yevgenyevna TsvetkovaKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University, Nizhny Novgorod, RussiaORCID: 0000-0002-0333-2444Received 09-08-20 Revised 10-10-20*CorrespondenciaEmail: [email protected] 12-11-20 On line 03-06-21Citar como:Evgenievich, E., Petrovna, M., Evgenievna, T., Aleksandrovna, O.,& Yevgenyevna, S. (2021). Moodle LMS: Positive and NegativeAspects of Using Distance Education in Higher EducationInstitutions, Propósitos y Representaciones, 9(SPE2), 104 Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Vicerrectorado de Investigación, 2021.nd/4.0/).Este artículo se distribuye bajo licencia CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Internacional (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-
SummaryThe Moodle learning management system (LMS) is currently successfully integrated into theeducational activities of higher education. This article discusses the peculiarities of MoodleLMS and elements of training courses in it. The research aims at highlighting the assessments ofopportunities and disadvantages of the Moodle LMS from the positions of undergraduatestudents and teachers in the quarantine conditions and before them. The research was conductedat the Kozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University in 2018/2019 and2019/2020 academic years at the Faculty of Management, Social and Technical Services. Theresearch involved teachers and first to fourth year full-time undergraduate students. The analysisof both positive and negative feedback from undergraduate students and teachers about workingin a normal learning model and in self-isolation has been presented. Interactive elements of thelearning environment have been considered and the research results of students' attitudes to itsvarious elements have been described. The methods and potential use of Moodle by means ofdifferent electronic devices have been explored, and the usage frequency of these devices duringquarantine has been analyzed. The analysis of negative feedback about the students’ andteachers’ work in the system during the pandemic has been given. Control methods in theMoodle environment, testing, and authors’ control methods have been studied. In the survey, therespondents evaluated the basic functions of the Moodle LMS, popular in teaching, gave adescription of the advantages and disadvantages of this system and evaluated potential areas ofsystem development in educational practice of the University. The conclusions have been madeabout the need to implement blended learning using the Moodle LMS, which combines varioustypes of distance and classroom work for students.Keywords: Higher Education, Undergraduate Student, E-Learning, Distance Learning, BlendedLearning, COVID-19, Information And Educational Environment, Learning ManagementSystem, Moodle.ResumenEl sistema de gestión del aprendizaje de Moodle (LMS) se encuentra actualmente integrado conéxito en las actividades educativas de la educación superior. Este artículo analiza laspeculiaridades de Moodle LMS y los elementos de los cursos de formación en él. Lainvestigación tiene como objetivo resaltar las valoraciones de oportunidades y desventajas delLMS de Moodle desde las posiciones de estudiantes de pregrado y docentes en las condicionesde cuarentena y ante ellos. La investigación se realizó en la Universidad Pedagógica EstatalKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod en los años académicos 2018/2019 y 2019/2020 en la Facultadde Administración, Servicios Sociales y Técnicos. La investigación involucró a profesores yestudiantes de pregrado a tiempo completo de primero a cuarto año. Se ha presentado el análisisde la retroalimentación tanto positiva como negativa de estudiantes de pregrado y profesoressobre el trabajo en un modelo de aprendizaje normal y en autoaislamiento. Se han consideradoelementos interactivos del entorno de aprendizaje y se han descrito los resultados de lainvestigación sobre las actitudes de los estudiantes hacia sus diversos elementos. Se hanexplorado los métodos y el uso potencial de Moodle a través de diferentes dispositivoselectrónicos y se ha analizado la frecuencia de uso de estos dispositivos durante la cuarentena.Se ha realizado el análisis de la retroalimentación negativa sobre el trabajo de los estudiantes yprofesores en el sistema durante la pandemia. Se han estudiado los métodos de control en elentorno Moodle, las pruebas y los métodos de control de los autores. En la encuesta, losencuestados evaluaron las funciones básicas del LMS de Moodle, popular en la docencia, dieronuna descripción de las ventajas y desventajas de este sistema y evaluaron áreas potenciales dedesarrollo del sistema en la práctica educativa de la Universidad. Las conclusiones se hanextraído sobre la necesidad de implementar el aprendizaje mixto utilizando el LMS de Moodle,que combina varios tipos de trabajo a distancia y presencial para los estudiantes.
Palabras clave: Educación superior, Estudiante de pregrado, E-Learning, Educación adistancia, Aprendizaje mixto, COVID-19, Entorno de información y educación, Sistema degestión del aprendizaje, Moodle.IntroductionThe results of digitalization of modern education were extremely popular in the unique andforced conditions of distance learning caused by self-isolation due to the spread of the COVID19 virus, which forever changed the Russian educational system (Blinov et al., 2020). Foreducational organizations, this was manifested in a sharp increase in the need for developedintegrated information and educational environments that combined the educational functionwith educational management process (Gruzdeva & Tukenova, 2019; Vaganova et al., 2020),support for educational, economic, research, project, and cultural activities (Arkhipova et al.,2018). Expanding the capabilities of information and educational environments of universitiesallows getting access to educational resources (educational programs, projects, electronicpublications, etc.) remotely (Tukenova et al., 2019), conducting and recording all forms of theeducational process results (Amandu et al., 2013), including certification, schedule of theeducational process, electronic portfolio, etc. (Atef & Medhat, 2015). In the context of distancelearning, educational organizations have become more open, which is embodied not only in theavailability of information and full information support of the educational process, but also inthe rapid development of open distance courses, mobile applications, etc. (Tolsteneva et al.,2020).It can be stated that the growing need for developed information and educationalenvironments and effective distance solutions in the context of potential quarantine will lead toeven more active development of distance education in all its formats. Currently, the mostcommon educational process management system used in Russian educational organizations isMoodle LMS, which provides great opportunities for organizing the educational process and iswell-tested in practice (Aikina & Bolsunovskaya, 2020; Mineeva et al., 2018). In the currentcontext of the pandemic, Moodle LMS took on the greatest load, as teachers and students weredeprived of the opportunities for face-to-face communication being the basis of traditionallearning. As a result, the advantages and disadvantages of the Moodle LMS have become moreobvious, and the issues related to the efficiency of this system in blended and distance learningformats have become of scientific interest.At present, the problems of using Moodle LMS in higher education have beensufficiently studied; however, the use of this system in the educational process raises new,previously unknown issues, in particular, the possibility of supplementing this system with othersystems and teaching tools, the organization of training in an "inverted" format, etc. (Murphy,2020). These studies are highly important for the methodological support of teachers who useMoodle LMS in their daily educational activities, therefore, they do not lose their relevance.Literature ReviewThe analysis of works devoted to the use of Moodle LMS in higher education suggests that thissystem has been widely applied in Russia and abroad (Lyashenko & Frolova, 2013; Oproiu,2015). Among the advantages of Moodle LMS, most researchers and practitioners note:– wide opportunities for developing students' independence, responsibility, and activity;– the use of various information resources that develop skills to work with information;Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
– the ability to create individual educational paths, personal portfolios and databases ofstudents' academic performance, achievements, etc.;– the opportunity for creation of new knowledge, experience exchange, consulting.Multiple studies of Russian and foreign authors have been devoted to analyzing theresearch opportunities, advantages and disadvantages of Moodle LMS. According to theanalysis of the works, most of them focus either on the general functionality of this educationalsystem (Shurygin & Krasnova, 2019) or highlight the experience of developing specific ecourses (Samerkhanova & Balakin, 2020; Wen & Yang, 2020). Foreign studies on this issueconsider the attitude of teaching staff to the transition to distance learning (Colis & Moonen,2001), systematize the skills of teachers working with such systems (Garrison & Vaughan,2008), sum up the overall results of distance learning using Moodle LMS (Oproiu, 2015).Research that reveals and evaluates the features of using Moodle LMS in a completelydistance learning format is clearly not enough, since the experience gained by teachers has notyet been comprehended, systematized and generalized. It can be stated that the use of MoodleLMS in a completely remote format allowed understanding its functionality in a new way,identifying drawbacks and opportunities. This statement is a previously unresolved part of theproblem of using Moodle LMS in higher education, since further development of distancelearning is possible only if all participants in the educational process have the opportunity tofully use the functionality of Moodle LMS in achieving educational goals.This research is aimed at presenting the results of a comparative study of teachers’ andstudents’ attitude to the opportunities and disadvantages of Moodle LMS during the quarantineand before it. This comparison will allow better evaluating the existing functionality of thesystem under the study, clarifying its advantages and disadvantages, and suggesting directionsfor its more effective use in practice.The research objectives are as follows:1. Clarifying the purpose of using Moodle LMS in the educational process before andduring the quarantine;2. Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of Moodle LMS in distance learning;3. Evaluating the Moodle LMS tools that were most effectively used in both situations;4. Defining directions for more effective application of Moodle LMS in remoteconditions.MethodsThe research was conducted in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 academic years at Kozma MininNizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University (the Russian Federation). It was based ontheoretical (selection and analysis of literature on the research topic) and empirical methods(filling in questionnaire in the Google-form) of analysis; statistical technology (survey resultsprocessing). Participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous.The research had two stages.At the first stage of the research in the 2019/2020 academic year, the survey wasconducted to assess students’ and teachers’ ability to use the Moodle LMS functionality as anPropósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
auxiliary tool in the traditional learning model. The second stage of the research was conductedat the end of the 2019/2020 academic year after 3 months of distance learning in conditions offorced quarantine and self-isolation. The respondents answered the questionnaire questionsagain, having behind them the experience of using Moodle LMS as the main educational systemand lack of personal communication with other participants in the educational process.At the first stage of the research, the questionnaire questions related to the goals ofusing this system, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as its prospects. At the secondstage, the questionnaire was supplemented with a question concerning the change in attitude tothis LMS after the experience of complete distance learning.The participants in the survey were 74 undergraduate students and 37 professors ofKozma Minin Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University.FeatureMajorEconomicsTeacher cademic year1234Positionlecturer / senior lecturerassociate professorprofessorGendermalefemaleTable 1. Characteristics of the respondentsNumberUndergraduate students (74 participants)Percent 4146018.981.11835129Teaching staff (37 .256.8The data obtained were compared, analyzed and processed using descriptive statistics.ResultsAt first, the goals of using Moodle LMS before the quarantine (i.e., in the situation when theLMS complemented the traditional educational process) and during the quarantine (in thePropósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
situation when Moodle LMS became the main tool for implementing the educational process)were compared. The results are presented in Figure 1.43.2placement and use of materials for practical workplacement / studying theoretical material47.256.8information exchangereporting on training43.226.4tracking the progress of 832.438.9consultingTeachers during the distance learning period, %Students during the distance learning period, %75608095.8100Teachers before the distance learning period, %Students before the distance learning period, %Figure 1. Goals of Moodle LMS EmploymentAs can be seen in the graph, the goals of Moodle LMS employment for both teachersand students in distance learning had changed. In the context of traditional learning, the mostpopular feature of Moodle LMS for all categories of users was the placement and use ofmaterials for practical work (as indicated by 43.2% of teachers and 75% of students). Studentsrated the value of Moodle LMS for studying theoretical material lower than teachers (47.2% vs.56.8%), which was due to the wide opportunities of searching for information in the free access.For teachers in the conditions of traditional training, tracking the progress of students (56.8%)and reporting on training (43.2%) were important, which indicated the high importance ofautomating functions for systematizing and storing information about the educational process(however, the same option was evaluated lower among students – only 26.4% indicated it).Such function of Moodle LMS as consulting in traditional and blended learning was in demandonly for 32.4% of teachers and 38.9% of students, and communication through this system wascarried out only among 24.3% of teachers and 19.4% of students.Comparing the responses to the same question during the distance learning period,significant changes in the use of this system were found. This primarily affected thecommunication function (the share of teachers using the Moodle LMS communication featuresand capabilities increased from 24.3% to 83.8%, the share of students increased from 19.4% to95.8%), and the use of the information exchange function increased among teachers (from51.4% to 94.6%) and students (from 34.7% to 87.5%). This was due to the replacement ofinterpersonal communication with virtual communication, as well as due to an increase in thenumber of students who strived to perform academic work exactly in accordance with the taskof the teacher. The Moodle LMS functionality for generating and storing reports has alsobecome more valuable, with 56.8% more teachers and 55.5% more students accessing it.Next, it was found out how the attitude of participants to Moodle LMS had changedduring distance learning (Fig. 2).Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
interaction of all participants in the educational process16.7variety of resources and tasks86.584.72751.422.243.2 51.4simple interfaceavailability of feedback36.1all the necessary training materials in one place45.9 188.8.131.52.6studying at an individual pace81.183.390.383.891.754.134.7ability to access to missed classes and fill in knowledge gaps757581.163.970.364.970.367.67352.8 62.5immediate view the results of performed work67.6studying / teaching in the most convenient place and at a 020406091.990.397.280Teachers during the distance learning period, %Teachers before the distance learning period, %Students during the distance learning period, %Students before the distance learning period, %100Figure 2. Assessment of Moodle LMS AdvantagesThe analysis of respondents' answers to the question about the advantages of MoodleLMS showed that during traditional education, the main advantage for the majority of students(90.3%) “was the ability to study in the most convenient place and at a convenient time”, then83.3% of students noted the simple interface as an advantage of the system. In the third placewas the ability to immediately view the results of performed work, which was highlighted by52.8% of the surveyed students. For 47.2% of respondents, it was important to have all thenecessary training materials in one place. Slightly less than half of the respondents considered itimportant to study at an individual pace (43.1%), as well as highly evaluated the possibility tohave access to missed classes and complete the necessary tasks (36.1%). The interaction of allparticipants in the educational process (16.7%), the variety of resources and tasks (22.2%), andthe availability of feedback (34.7%) were less important before the quarantine and the transitionto an online format. During the forced distance learning, students reconsidered such advantagesof Moodle LMS as the availability of feedback (57% increase), the variety of resources andtasks (52.8% increase) and the interaction of all participants in the educational process (68%increase), as well as the ability to fill in knowledge gaps (38.9% increase). Such results wereexplained, in the authors’ opinion, by limited opportunities for consultations and greater needfor clear understanding of the content and management aspects of the educational process.Teachers who were cautious about evaluating the benefits of Moodle LMS beforedistance learning also changed their perception of the positive characteristics of this LMS aftergaining experience in online teaching. Thus, the most valuable perspective of the teachers usedto be the availability of all required materials in one system (70.3%) and the opportunity toteach in a convenient location and at a convenient time (67.6%). Whereas during distancelearning among the advantages of Moodle LMS teachers confidently pointed out theopportunity to teach in a convenient location and at a convenient time (91.9%), the interactionof all educational process participants (86.5%), the availability of feedback with students(83.8%), the ability to upload various resources and tasks, and all necessary training materials(81.1%).As a result of the distance learning experience, the attitude of survey participants to thedisadvantages of Moodle LMS had also changed (Fig. 3).Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
technical problems64.943.219.420.310094.456.8high time input20.8difficulties in learning material without directcontact with the teacher78.422.2lack of direct contact between participants inthe educational process91.987.559.531.9020406094.695.880Teachers during the distance learning period, %Teachers before the distance learning period, %Students during the distance learning period, %Students before the distance learning period, %100Figure 3. Assessment of Moodle LMS DisadvantagesBefore the implementation of distance learning, the main disadvantages of this systemfor students were "lack of direct contact between participants in the educational process"(31.9%), "difficulties in learning material without direct contact with the teacher" (22.2%),"high time input" (20.8%). While studying in the distance learning format, such disadvantagesas "difficulties in learning material without direct contact with the teacher" and "long time spenton learning material" became more significant for students (the number of students increased by73.6 %). The obtained data showed that many students needed help and support in organizingtheir educational activities, and the timing of assignments and other reporting was important forthem.As for teachers, the major drawback was the difficulty of students' learning withoutdirect contact with the teacher (78.4%), as well as the lack of direct contact between participantsin the educational process (59.5%). During the full distance work, such disadvantages as hightime input (it was noted by 100% of teachers) and difficulties in mastering the material withoutdirect contact with the teacher (94.6%) came to the forefront.The question of evaluating the efficiency of the main interactive elements of MoodleLMS, which were most often used in the educational process, was important for the research.To do this, respondents were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the elements "Assignment","Lesson", "Quiz", "Wiki", "Forum" and "Glossary" providing the study and assimilation ofeducational material, assessment, feedback and communication on a 1 to 10-point scale (Fig. 4).Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
184.108.40.206 68Teachers during the distance learning period, %Teachers before the distance learning period, %Students during the distance learning period, %Students before the distance learning period, %10Figure 4. Assessment of Efficacy of Tools in Moodle LMSThe research results demonstrate that both teachers and students considered testing to bethe most effective means of achieving educational results both during traditional training (8.6and 9.2 points) and during online training (9 and 9.3 points). A significant increase wasobserved in the assessing the importance of the "Forum" element. If during the traditionaltraining students rated the importance of this element at 2.6 points, and teachers – at 2.1 points,then during distance learning it was rated by students at 9.1 points, and by teachers – at 8.9points. This fact is easily explained by the fact that "Forum" as a means of communication isvery important for participants of the educational process in a distance learning format. As forthe "Assignment" element, its importance was rated consistently high by teachers (8.2 and 8.4points). Students' recognition of this element’s efficiency increased significantly during thedistance learning period (the average point increased from 4.6 to 8.2). During the distancelearning, the attitude to the “Wiki” element had changed on the part of all participants in theeducational process. The importance of “Wiki” as a tool that allowed students working ingroups to create collaborative learning products during self-isolation had grown significantly.The average rating of this element among students increased from 3.2 to 7.6, and amongteachers - from 4.2 to 7.9. The element "Lesson" was rated lower by students than by teachers.Such results were observed both during traditional training and during distance learning. Thiscan be explained by the fact that students used other sources of information, such as onlinelibraries, reference books, databases, etc., in addition to the material published in electroniceducational complexes. The "Glossary" element, being also an important learning tool, wasalways highly rated by teachers (7.6 and 7.8 points). As for students, this element had becomeparticularly important during distance learning (the average score had increased from 2.6 to7.8). In the authors’ opinion, such a high rating was given by students during distance learning,since the “Glossary” had a number of features that made it easier to study the course at a timewhen the educational load had significantly increased.At the end of the research, a question was asked whether the attitude of teachers andstudents to Moodle LMS and its capabilities had changed during and after the three-monthdistance learning experience. When asking this question, it was assumed that the situation oftotal distance learning allowed all the participants of the educational process to become morefamiliar with the functionality of this LMS, as well as to evaluate and understand thepossibilities of replacing personal communication with virtual one (Fig. 5).Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
no changes21.615.332.4negative changes37.545.947.2positive changes05101520teachers (%)253035404550students (%)Figure 5. Change of participants’ attitude toward Moodle LMS during e-learningThe results do not leave any doubt that the attitude of the majority of respondents, bothstudents and teachers, to the Moodle LMS functionality had changed. It is important to note thatthere were positive dynamics of changes: the number of students whose attitude to MoodleLMS had changed for the better exceeded the number of teachers – 47.2% and 45.9%,respectively. The authors assume that this result might correlate with the technical challenges ofworking in Moodle LMS, which were noted by many teachers.A change in attitude for the worse was recorded in 32.4% of the surveyed teachers and37.5% of students. Despite the fact that the number of survey participants whose attitude hadchanged for the worse was less than the number of participants whose attitude had changed forthe better, this fact could not be ignored. In the authors’ opinion, in the future it is necessary tostudy the factors that caused negative attitude to this LMS in more detail. However, it can beassumed that the result of the negative attitude of respondents to the Moodle LMS functionalitycould have been negative attitude to the conditions of distance learning and self-isolation inwhich all participants of the educational process found themselves. As a result, there was a lackof live communication and contact between students and teachers, a large amount of educationalmaterial being taken out for independent study, and large time input. As for teachers, technicalchallenges might have negatively affected them because of the low level of digital literacy, aswell as an increase in the time spent on placing educational content in the electronicenvironment and checking students' assignments. 21.6% of teachers and 15.3% of students didnot change their attitude to the Moodle LMS functionality during distance learning.ConclusionBased on the research results, a number of conclusions can be formed regarding theexperience of distance learning using Moodle LMS.1. During the rapid transition to distance learning, the Moodle LMS has become themain means of learning, the effectiveness of which has been proven by the results of theresearch.2. The survey results have shown that during distance learning, the value of MoodleLMS as a means of learning, communication and interaction of all participants of theeducational process has increased. The proof is the fact that such elements of the system as"Quiz" and "Assignment" were rated highly in any form of training, but when evaluating theeffectiveness of the" Forum" and "Wiki" elements, the leap was observed during distancelearning, since these elements provided participants with communication, discussion andteamwork.Propósitos y RepresentacionesMar. 2021, Vol. 9, SPE(2), 04
3. All participants of the educational process have better mastered the Moodle LMSfunctionality in distance learning. Many of Moodle LMS functions have become more popular –these are the functions related to communication, reporting, tracking progress, and organizingcollaboration. Thus, many functions, that normally constitute communication in the traditionaleducational process, have been replaced by Moodle LMS.4. Distance learning has significantly increased the transparency of the educationalprocess, increased the ability of outside (including administrative) control over the activities ofall its participants. The openness of the Moodle LMS has led to more stringent requiremen
Clarifying the purpose of using Moodle LMS in the educational process before and during the quarantine; 2. Evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of Moodle LMS in distance learning; 3. Evaluating the Moodle LMS tools that were most effectively used in both situations; 4. Defining directions for more effective application of Moodle LMS in .