Key Influencing Factors Behind Moodle Adoption in Irish Small to Medium Sized Higher Education Colleges

David Walker [walkerdp@gmail.com], Lelia Livadas [lelia.livadas@my.ohecampus.com], Dr. Gail Miles [gail.miles@my.ohecampus.com],
Faculty of Science and Computing, University of Liverpool [http://liverpool.ohecampus.com],
Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, MerseysideL69 3BX, UK

Abstract

This research investigated Irish Small to Medium Sized Educational Institutions (SMSEs) involved in Higher Education (HE) that adopted Moodle,  the OSS (Open Source Software) course management system (CMS). As Moodle has only been adopted in the Irish HE sector in the last 5-7 years, this research crucially studied the attitudes of the SMSEs that have invested in it to uncover the influencing factors (lessons learned, rationale) concerning OSS adoption in HE from the view point of the smaller colleges. A full population of Small and Medium Sized Educational Institutions, large colleges and universities in HE operating in Ireland that utilize Moodle were included in this research. A variety of Open Source Moodle service providers (large and small) operating in Ireland were also included in this research.

This research found a high degree of improved confidence in additional Open Source core system adoption and integration in SMSEs resulting from Moodle adoption. This confidence has been a direct result of the Moodle experience and the supportive community that has been found to encapsulate it. The Moodle experience in Ireland has, without doubt, challenged traditional preconceptions and fears concerning core OSS adoption. In addition, proactive SMSEs have benefited greatly in Moodle assistance from other colleges, particularly the universities. Quality external Moodle support service has been viewed very positively. This research also suggests that Moodle has helped to realize long term Managed/Virtual Learning Environment (M/VLE) aspirations of SMSEs as they continuously strive for competitiveness as the most financially vulnerable players in Higher Education.

This research adds to the advancement of what is known about OSS expansion in education that importantly extends beyond the Irish HE domain.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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