How to create a horrible and ineffective Moodle site

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Television is one of the greatest inventions ever. It is, however, subject to some very poor decision making on the part of both programme makers and viewers (This explains stuff like Ant & Dec). E-Learning is equally susceptive to this and there are countless researched and anecdotal accounts of poor practice, which give e-learning a bad name. I recently surveyed my Twitter followers and other interested parties as to what they think contributes to a poor user experience in Moodle.

With thanks to Twitter followers: @acastrillejo @marxjohnson @Rob_work @BBarrington @moodleman

Summary of responses

  • The overwhelming majority of responses related to the poor presentation of courses and the distribution of materials
  • Some were concerned with poor planning and execution of activities
  • There were a few examples of disconnects between tutors, students, IT staff
  • I’ve experienced at first hand almost every single one


  • How many of these issues could be solved by surveying the recipients - the students
  • Can poor editing tools and over-complicated uploading 'workflows' contribute to poor presentation?
  • Could an intervention resolve all of these provider-centric errors with by an intervention? e.g., Learning Technology Consultant carrying out a simple demonstration of the user experience
  • How many of these issues can be explained by a lack of time, support, recognition for e-learning efforts?
  • Is there a deeper problem to solve?
  • Is it easier to pick holes presentation than content? Are we guilty of surface rather than deep critique?
  • As generalists, are Learning technologists incapable of analysing content – and should this be done by critical friends in the same discipline?


  • Add resources only in .pdf
  • Put Files needed for Assignments as separate Resource links, and don't link to them from the Assignments' description
  • Only use Offline Assignments
  • Prevent teachers from seeing each others pages
  • Put all your resources and activites in "Topic 0" at the top of the page
  • Upload all your resources as Powerpoints
  • Use a different authentication method from institutional login, preferably one involving hard to remember usernames
  • No section headings
  • List of links with un-useful names (eg: website; powerpoint 1)
  • Broken links
  • Loadsa blocks!
  • Focus on the tool instead of making it pedagogically relevant.
  • Make it a static repository with no real interaction
  • Use the back-to-front theme that uses on April Fools Day, totally unusable!
  • Put your live site into developer debug mode

1 comment :

Emma and Paula said...

Very nice :) Mind you - "adding all your resources as pdf only" is actually quite good - maybe if you added them only as Microsoft Word 2010 when most of us are still stuck with 2007 or 2003 that might be even less helpful :)