Free, open-source course management system Moodle is getting attention, as well it should if it’s what it seems to be: cost-effective (nothing is ever really free, your time and your staff’s time is worth money), reliable (the site boasts 300,000 registered users and over 40,000 registered courses, with an impressive growth curve), and built for serious online learning (they talk a lot about sound pedagogical principles, if you’re into that sort of thing).
I love finding online tools that nonprofits can use to make their lives easier and to advance their missions, and this certainly seems to qualify. Besides the obvious, intended application of delivering pedagogical services online to your constituents (which maybe isn’t exactly your bag), why else might Moodle make your toes curl?
- Record basic training modules for new staff, cutting down how much time it takes senior staff to train new hires on basic office procedures
- Reinforce good habits, record best practices, and reduce the loss of institutional knowledge, by having staff create short How-To-Be-Me courses
- Engage your key constituents by helping them create content about how to be a better organizer/activist/volunteer for your cause
- Deliver workshops and classes asynchronously to a geographically dispersed area
- Learn Greek! (I was a Greek minor in college, and I fantasize about brushing up my translation skills and getting back into Homer — or even better, this guy)
As Web Worker Daily puts it:
Think of it as online communities built around actually learning how to do something.
In your online communities, what are you there to actually do?
If you are trying to build community online, what is it you are offering that people can actually do in your online world?