Events

Introduction. Nowadays, with the development of digital technologies, the using open educational resources and useful training programmes in improving the quality of student learning is particularly relevant. The time requires mastering new content, innovative technologies, forms and methods of work, finding effective ways of learning.

Moodle is one of the world’s most popular e-learning platforms with very rich resources that facilitate the teaching/learning process. It is an open-source, free web-based application that can be used to create a specialized platform for development of students. Moodle and its equivalents allow teachers and students to work together. What sets this system apart is its accessibility and flexibility. Importantly, it is also a highly rational and interactive environment designed for different categories of learners. Providing access to the platform and its content from any remote location in the country and the world is another definite advantage compared to traditional teaching methods [1].

The Moodle educational system allows the creation of distance learning courses, including all necessary materials. This educational environment is a convenient, progressive form of work for teachers and allows students to learn the subject independently and deepen their knowledge [2].

Summary of the main body of the article.  As part of the AgroDev Erasmus+ consortium, teachers from Linnaeus Växjö University, Sweden (LNU): Heiko Fritz and Chris High conducted a 15 week online training on using Moodle in teaching. The aim of the training is to introduce the use of Moodle from the learner’s perspective; to identify and create learning materials suitable for teaching with Moodle; and pedagogical methods in online and hybrid learning. As Heiko Fritz notes: “Moodle is a learning management system that enables, among other things, the conceptualization and administration of courses, organization of content, online interaction with students and with each other, and assessment of student participation and performance. These features can enhance the quality of student learning and contribute to efficient and effective course delivery. Furthermore, as a flexible and accessible online-offline interface, Moodle can significantly enhance the sustainability of higher education services during the pandemic.  The training consists of three thematic blocks of five weeks each. The first block introduces participants to students’ perspectives on Moodle through a variety of resources, activities and assignments. The second block introduces techniques for creating materials suitable for online use, such as short text, video and podcasts. The third block looks at pedagogical methods for using Moodle effectively in different learning environments”.

Totally, 38 teachers participated in the training: 5 teachers from Tashkent State Agrarian University (TSAU), Uzbekistan and 14 teachers from Samarkand branch of Tashkent State University of Economics (SBTEU), Uzbekistan, 9 teachers from Kyrgyz National Agrarian University (KNAU), Kyrgyzstan and 10 teachers from Naryn State University (NSU), Kyrgyzstan.

According to the results of online training, Shavkat Umidov, teacher TSAU noted that “the coverage of all stages of the learning process with students was very good, special attention should be paid to the ease of providing students with video lessons, presentations and assignments, as well as the possibility to use multiple grading systems and that Moodle will be the main platform in the future as a new level in modern education and that in the learning process this program will be an important factor of competitiveness”. However, during the training he noted the following difficulties: “1) confusion in changing and setting the password for the account when activating the account in Moodle, which affected “that some teachers were not able to participate, 2) initially the assignments were difficult to complete as the main language in Moodle was English and Swedish, we tried to complete the assignments with the help of interpreters and an English speaking staff”.

Sulton Sharipov, teacher TSAU, believes that “it is important to apply this programme in the teaching process. The fact is that it has many facilities for student learning, including the fact that it will help convey theoretical knowledge in the form of pictures and through video recordings as text, while a practical test is today’s requirement to monitor how the student has mastered his or her lessons. The Moodle programme has made a significant contribution in areas such as the modernization processes at my institution, the organization of continuing professional development, and student and employer involvement in education and training processes in order to ensure the quality of education”. He also noted the difficulties associated with the knowledge of the English language in completing the assignments.

According to Mirzamat Odinaev, teacher TSAU: “The convenience of providing video presentations, presentations and assignments to students, as well as the possibility of using assessment methods in a single note, is particularly noteworthy, thanks to the platform in the field of natural sciences”. Using this platform, he uploaded videos, various, interesting animated presentations, photos and information about his university to the platform. He also noted that they had made mistakes in the beginning due to a lack of technical skills in changing and setting the password for the account when using Moodle. He is confident that Moodle is one of the most effective methods of delivering modern education and that it will serve as the main platform for mastering education in the future.

Askar Safarov teacher TSAU believes that “through participation in the online courses organized within the Moodle programme, will serve to modernize the educational process of this programme, including higher education related to agriculture, through the implementation and effective management of sustainable food production systems in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The main objective of this Moodle programme is to address all selected target groups and identify their interest in the project activities and issues addressed, thereby ensuring that they achieve the project objectives and outcomes, as well as creating conditions for sustainable extracurricular outcomes.

As Iskra Akylbekova, teacher NSU, had been noted “For teachers, using Moodle makes it much easier to create courses, presentations, evaluation questionnaires, that when summarizing students’ assignments, the teacher can not only evaluate but also comment. She said that “Moodle is also a center for creating learning materials and ensuring interactive interaction between participants in the learning process. As Moodle allows me to design, create and then manage educational resources, I am going to use it in my teaching. Moodle is a good opportunity for teachers to work in in-depth education”.

Kuban Akmatov, teacher NSU, remarked “that the difficulties in completing the tasks were not too great. It was easy to work with the profile and enter information about oneself and it was important to follow the task step by step in Moodle”. Existing language barriers sparked his interest in learning English, and he tried to understand the meaning of each word, sentence and task. Akmatov Kuban found Moodle very convenient for distance learning in an offline format.

According to Aysalkyn Azhybaev, teacher NSU, the difficulties encountered during the training were solved jointly with other members of the project team, there was an opportunity to exchange experiences, i.e. by learning more in depth, using more frequently expanded their knowledge.

Svetlana Tarasova, senior teacher KNAU, underlined that the Moodle system “has many different applications for creating video lessons, videos, convenience in uploading materials, and in general – getting feedback from students (completed tasks, testing, etc.). However,  she would very much like to consolidate knowledge with its constant use in her work. Then, of course, it will be much more productive and effective in transferring knowledge to students and assessing learning outcomes.”

Ishen Alykeev, Associate Professor KNAU believes that “the task of widespread use of Moodle should be addressed at university level, as some communication of the system with the existing AVN system would need to be synchronised. And there is a need for a more in-depth study of Moodle’s capabilities, in order to work out the goals of its application.

Along with many useful features and resources of Moodle system for Nurila Ibraeva, Associate Professor  KNAU, it was “interesting and new to study Futurelearn Research case study and useful to watch a video on how to find relevant sources and learning materials on the Internet, how to link to these sources and add to a common database”. She noted that “Moodle system enables to choose convenient time and place for learning where there is Internet connection, provide individual tutor’s work with every student, improve learning materials using video lessons, additional educational online resources, enables objective assessment of learning outcomes and tracking progress of students in mastering the material. And what is not unimportant is that the Moodle system increases the independence and responsibility not only of teachers, but also of students themselves”.

As the most participants of the training, Shahista Ishniyazov, content coordinator SbTSUE, considers that “we can draw the following conclusions at this stage of the training:

Advantages:

  • undoubtedly, the introduction of Moodle system significantly changes the nature of teachers’ work and the intensity of the learning process, and makes the education system more open to international cooperation;
  • allowing students to create their individual study plans, to freely determine the sequence of courses and to create their own semester study schedules;
  • the academic freedom of teachers, including the right to freely choose their teaching methodology;
  • individualization of the pedagogical process, practical orientation, as well as revealing the creative abilities of students.

In modern conditions, this system allows training of more mobile, competent and in-demand specialists.

Disadvantages:

  • reduction of the teacher’s role in the learning process;
  • lack of direct contact with students;
  • Insufficient development of oral, literate, competent speech of the student.

Moodle requires a great deal of self-control of the student, he/she has to plan his/her individual educational programme himself/herself, which is often a particular challenge for today’s youth. Also, this system of education provides an increased share of the learning load for students’ independent work, which clearly causes dissatisfaction among learners. Therefore, great attention should be paid to the organization of students’ independent work, the form of assignments and their control. The proposed assignments should be interesting and feasible for students.

Our Moodle online learning continues, and we hope to learn useful components of this platform that we will use in our pedagogical activities”.

Our sincere thanks to our coordinators Heiko Fritz, LNU and Chris High, LNU, and the AgroDev project for making our Moodle online learning possible. Thank you!

Literature 

  1. Marinina Y.A., Kruchinina G.A., Guseva L.V., Koroleva E.V., Oladyshkina A.A. // Digital Humanitarianism: Possibilities of Using Intelligent Learning Systems in Teaching Foreign Languages Science and Technology Revolution: yesterday, today, tomorrow / Edited by Popkov E., Sergi B. – Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems. – Vol. 129. – Springer, 2020. – С. 395-402. URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47945-9
  2. Zakharova, M.V. Digital tools for teaching English / M.V. Zakharova // World of Pedagogy and Psychology. – 2020. – № 06. – С. 106-116.
  3. Prospects and priorities of pedagogical education in an era of transformation, choices and challenges: VI Virtual International Forum on Pedagogical Education: collection of scientific papers. Part IV. – Kazan: Kazan University Press, 2020. – 318 с.