Moodle is an organisation dedicated to the ongoing development of software that helps educators create online communities.

Global HQ: Perth, Australia Website:

Global leader: Martin Dougiamas, founder and lead developer

Core activity: Open source e-learning system

Revenue: Not disclosed

Key customers: University of Auckland, University of Otago, Unitec, Open Polytechnic, Massey University, Waiariki Institute of Technology, Open University (UK)

Employees: 10 plus thousands of volunteer developers

Moodle is an organisation dedicated to the ongoing development of software that helps educators create online communities. The software makes it possible to place content online and then create virtual classrooms, arrange chat rooms, conduct quizzes and organise other education related activites. These forums use content uploaded into the Moodle system.

Moodle is open source software and the company offers it free to all takers. This approach has seen the software adopted on more than 51,000 sites and reach more than 250 million users around the globe. The UK’s Open University uses Moodle software for up to 160,000 students at a time. In New Zealand, user numbers of Moodle are growing and include the major universities, government departments, polytechnics and schools.

Like many open source development organisations, the company offers its software free and then charges for support. Moodle has taken this idea further, creating a channel strategy that sees partners pay a royalty to Moodle.

The software is currently being enhanced to help it take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies.

“We are working on making it more connectible to other systems,” operations manager Michael Blake says. “We want to link to online portfolio systems so that students can maintain portfolios of their work, perhaps through social networking sites like Flickr. Moodle will be able to use resources in those web applications.”

Helping to realise this aim will be Moodle founder and lead developer Martin Dougiamas, who freely admits the software “became popular beyond my wildest dreams”, delaying his PhD along the way. He still intends to complete that work, which is entitled ‘An exploration of the use of an Open Source software called Moodle to support a social constructionist epistemology of teaching and learning within internet-based communities of reflective inquiry’.

Simon Sharwood

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