Best practices: IEPs for all: Ten tips for creating individualized instruction with Moodle™ and Joule

Although an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is often thought of as a plan only for students with documented disabilities all students have their own strengths and weaknesses. The on-line environment can aide in creating a learning atmosphere that is personalized to match each student’s ability levels. Moodle™ and Joule both have modules and tools that can be configured to meet student’s needs instantaneously (without even knowing each student’s aptitude level beforehand).

1. My Home and My Moodle™:

My Home (in Moodle™ 2.x) and My Moodle™ (in Moodle™ 1.x) are customizable user spaces which allow for individualized information about courses events alerts notifications and more. This page adds a personal touch to the student’s experience by meeting their individual needs. Accommodations like navigational assistance course and messaging organization and specifications that are tailored to the end user can be made here. There are several blocks that can be added to this page by either the administration team or the individual students to make life on-line learning life easier altogether. The Course Overview block can assist with navigation of upcoming course activities. The Calendar block can be added to organize events and daily tasks; the Joule Activity Stream block can be added to keep current on activities happening in each of the users courses; the My Private Files block can be used to organize course files and keep them in one on-line location so that the user can access them from any computer. For a deeper dive enroll in our Basic Navigation and Introduction to Moodle™ webinar!

2. Profiles:

Unique to each user is their personal Moodle™ profile. The user profile can be configured to allow for highly personalized preference settings concerning Moodle™ or Joule’s interface. Forum subscriptions (e-mail copies of posts made to forums) and forum tracking (highlighting visually any un-read forum posts per user in the course context) can be set here for all forums for which a student is a part of. There is the ability to turn on capabilities to allow Moodle™ to work with a screen reader to aide individuals who learn aurally or need assistance reading or seeing. We live in a world of many cultures and as such languages. The on-line environment can embrace this on a personal basis as well by allowing for pre-written text in Moodle™ to be converted to a user’s preferred language. For a deeper dive enroll in our Basic Navigation and Introduction to Moodle™ webinar!

3. Moodle™’s Calendar block:

Schedules and reminders added through the Calendar block help keep individual students up to date on course events assignment due dates and tasks they personally need to complete. Events can be added at the global (site) course group and user levels. The calendar functions so that all of these events are collected and displayed to the individual user as it makes sense for them (i.e. User a doesn’t need to see User B’s personal events). When creating events users can add text images and any other items to the notes section through the Moodle™ HTML editor. This aides them in individualizing their on-line Moodle™ experience. Images are assistive items that can help students with disabilities like Autism audio impairments and learning disabilities to easily navigate through calendar events and daily tasks. For a deeper dive enroll in our Basic Navigation and Introduction to Moodle™ webinar or our Course Building Fundamentals online course!

4. Differentiating instruction:

Instruction can be differentiated through the creation of resources and activities to fit the learning styles of individual students. With the duplicate feature in Moodle™ 2.x modules can quickly and easily be multiplied. This allows the instructor to edit the settings for the individual module to fit the needs of a certain student or group of students by configuring the activity requirements and student accessibility. Since Moodle™ has a wide variety of activity types such as Assignment Forum Glossary Quiz Lesson Chat Choice Database and Wiki course creators can build similar content in differing learning venues in order to meet the needs of visual aural logical verbal and kinesthetic learners. For a deeper dive enroll in our Course Building Fundamentals or Advanced Course Building online courses!

5. Groups and Groupings:

Moodle™ allows you to organize students into sections that can then be associated with individual modules to ensure that the needs of the students are being met through the use of Groups and Groupings. Within each group user roles can be added to assist the individuals within the groups. Depending on the defined role settings these ”assistants” could have the ability to review student’s assignment submissions forum posts glossary entries calendar events grades and more. Use of roles such as this should be used carefully and in compliance with all privacy laws.

6. Restricted access settings:

Through the use of restricted access settings (Moodle™ 2.x only) multiple modules and topics can be created and then only released to individuals or groups based on certain configured conditions. These condition settings can be based on dates grade conditions and completion conditions to ensure that students are working through the course content in the desired framework. This could be on either a schedule or course content organization. For a deeper dive enroll in our Advanced Course Building online course!

7. Completion tracking:

Who doesn’t like a checklist? With completion tracking users are given a visual cue that corresponds to the completion of course activities and resources. These visual check marks can be set up by the course creator to be either manually checked by the student or marked complete when all conditions are met. There is also an ‘expect complete date’ setting that is visible to the instructor within the Completion Tracking report which assists in monitoring the timely completion of modules by students. For a deeper dive enroll in our Advanced Course Building online course!

8. Joule’s Personalized Learning Designer:

Groups messaging restricted access and completion tracking can all work in cooperation with Joule’s Personalized Learning Designer (PLD)(Joule 2.x only) to create a highly customized Individualized Education Plan for every user. The PLD is like an automated agent that works on behalf of the teacher to send automated e-mail notifications pop-up messages direct and redirect students to specific course content and more! It is an agent that works behind the scenes based on event triggers conditions and actions which the teacher configures. It is one of the most powerful ways to differentiate learning within Open LMS ’ Joule platform. For a deeper dive enroll in our Personalized Learning Designer webinar!

9. Individualized feedback and scalable assessment:

To students and teachers alike “assessment” is sometimes an ugly word. However Moodle™ and Joule is making assessing being assessed and providing authentic feedback easier than ever with the built-in tools offered to users of the platform. Rubrics (already included in Joule and coming in Moodle™ 2.2) are a great way to allow for flexible assessment while delivering valuable assessment ranges so that the learner understands where and why they excelled and how they can improve in the future. Need to assess a student using words instead of numbers? No problem! Moodle™ allows for the creation of verbose scales with which students can be assessed. Need to rate students against outcomes? Again – Moodle™ has you covered. You can create outcomes to share with your entire site in order to rate students against certain objectives or learning goals. With use of the Joule gradebook (Joule 2.x only) instructors can easily send messages to students with incomplete assignments or those students who scored within a specific grade range. With this individualized feedback via e-mail students can be reminded to complete activities be sent additional material for review or receive praise for their accomplishments. For a deeper dive enroll in our two-part Gradebook webinar!

10. Monitoring student progress:

Grading on a timely basis and connecting with students on a need by need basis is highly important to a successful individualized learning plan. Through the use of both core Moodle™ Reports and the enhanced Joule Reports instructors can observe activity inside of their courses grade activities send messages to students and run statistics on the efficacy of their course content. Utilizing the Moodle™ and Joule reports will not only make you a more effective teacher but a more efficient one as well! For a deeper dive enroll in our Making the Most of Moodle™ and Joule Reporting webinar!

The perceived “burden” of creating an on-line environment that meets the needs of Individualized Education Plans can be greatly eased by utilizing these ten tips. To learn how to implement these tools in your on-line Moodle™ or Joule courses by taking a deeper dive into their uses and functionalities enroll in one of our Open LMS ’ Learning Solutions offerings today!




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