Edmodo v Moodle v Schoology

Online LearningOnline ‘Learning Management Systems’ (LMS) have been around for a while now, and have been widely used for distance education for many years.

More recently LMSs have found their way into K-12 schools, to be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, providing a ‘blended’ online component within the regular curriculum.

A relatively new category in this space is the ‘Social Networking for Schools’ platform, built around the same model as popular on-line social networks.

So – which platform provides the best online option for your school? Do you need a full-featured LMS, or a discussion and sharing platform? Or something in the middle?

Below I have outlined information about three popular platforms used by schools implementing blended learning – Edmodo, Schoology and Moodle. These are not the only players in this field, but seem to be the most widely used – I have listed some other options at the Classroom Collaboration page.

Each of these platforms has pros and cons, depending on your intended purpose. Of course, the best way to decide the most suitable option for your school is to give each platform a try. All are free, or offer a free component for educational use.

My quick summary….

EdmodoEdmodo is a social networking platform with some assignment/quiz options included. Particularly suited to Primary/Elementary schools and for light duty in Secondary classes;

SchoologySchoology leans more to being a Learning Management System, but still maintains a friendly ‘social networking’ feel. Suited to upper Primary/Elementary and Secondary school use;

MoodleMoodle is a full-featured Learning Management System, suited to Secondary or Tertiary institutions where there is sufficient technical support available.

More info about each platform is provided below. Please share any comments or thoughts you may have about your experiences with these (or other) platforms.


Edmodo

EdmodoEdmodo is promoted as a ‘secure social networking environment’.

The Edmodo interface resembles Facebook, which makes it instantly popular with students! The platform is hosted by Edmodo in San Francisco, and is not able to be installed within your network. It is accessed using a web browser. (edmodo.com)

Edmodo can be implemented by a single teacher for their class, with no technical expertise required to get started. Simply visit the Edmodo website, sign up as a teacher and you are up and running. There is some District/School structure available for schools in the US.

Once you have created a class (or a school) you can invite students and other teachers to join the class by providing a unique code for that class. (It is worth keeping an eye on enrollments to ensure that students are enrolling as ‘students’, not ‘teachers’.) Each student has a unique ‘Parent code’ that can be provided to parents to view only their child’s assignments and contributions to discussions.

As a teacher you can create Groups (each with a unique enrollment code), which might be based on class structure, sports groups, interest groups, curriculum groups, etc. Teachers can also create professional development groups, special interest groups, or groups to support conferences.

You can store an unlimited number of documents in your Edmodo Library (max file size 100Mb) and these documents can be shared with your Groups using folders.

Edmodo integrates with Google Docs - you can access your Google Drive folder directly from your Edmodo Library and make files in your Google Drive folder available in your shared folders.

Edmodo can be personalised with a unique subdomain for your school, and a unique personal profile address.

Edmodo provides an option to make posts and assignments available on a ‘Public’ page, and to make resource folders Public too. In some cases just making a folder of links and documents available on your school Intranet may be all that is required to support a ‘blended’ or ‘flipped’ unit of work.

- Edmodo work unit example
- Edmodo shared resources folder example

Edmodo provides both iPad and iPhone apps, a critical consideration for schools that are rolling out mobile devices to students, or encouraging BYO models.

Edmodo is a great social networking platform for schools, with group resource sharing and basic assignment distribution features. Ideal for Primary/Elementary schools, or for classes in Secondary schools.


Schoology

SchoologySchoology leans a little more towards being a LMS than Edmodo while maintaining an easy-to-use ‘social network’ interface.

The Schoology platform is hosted on the Schoology servers, and is accessed using a web browser. (schoology.com)

Schoology can be implemented by a single teacher for their class, with no specialist technical expertise required to get started. Sign-up, and away you go. There is a premium District/School structure available for a fee.

As a teacher (or, as Schoology describes you, an Instructor) you create Courses, add materials to the courses – assignments, quizzes, files and links, discussions, photo albums and web pages. The free version of Schoology provides 15Gb of space per 100 students.

Schoology also provides a Gradebook, which is auto-populated with Assignments and Quizzes that you have created for a course.

A neat Attendance register is also provided, where students can be marked as Present, Absent, Excused or Late within your course

Schoology includes an Analytics feature, where you can check student participation in Assignments, Discussions, and their use of provided course web links.

Groups are created as a separate function to Courses, with access regulated using a 10 digit code. You can also create a list of parent codes, that will provide access to only their child’s work.

Schoology provides both iPad and iPhone apps, a must-have feature for schools that are rolling out mobile devices, or encouraging students to bring their own technologies.

You can link your Google Drive folder directly to your Schoology account and make files in your Google Drive folder available as Course materials.

Schoology is well designed and fills the middle-ground between Edmodo and Moodle. Best suited to upper Primary/Elementary or Secondary students, though I still find the Edmodo interface more intuitive for both teachers and students.


Moodle

MoodleMoodle is a Learning Management System. It is an open-source platform, with modules and plugins developed by people all over the world.

Moodle has been used for some time in the Tertiary sector, and has now found it’s way into the K-12 sector via Secondary schools, distance education, and to a limited extent Primary / Elementary schools.

Moodle is installed on a server within your network and accessed through a web browser.  With some technical expertise, the look and feel of Moodle can be completely customised for your school.

There are very few free online options for using Moodle with more than a couple of classes. (mdl2.com is one option if you want to explore Moodle online.)

Moodle has a hierachical structure that can be setup to mirror the structure of your school – faculties, stages, classes, etc. You create categories, then populate those categories with Courses. Courses can contain Resources and Activities.

Moodle has a comprehensive assignment/gradebook system. Assignments can be submitted and graded online. There are many other Activities and useful activity tracking tools available for use with Courses.

Despite being a popular LMS, and highly customisable, the Moodle interface is complicated and ‘clunky’ – usually setup by back-room technicians for use by teachers. In it’s default mode it is very ‘texty’, which is often a real ‘turn-off’ in schools.

However, with enough time and technical knowledge, Moodle can be made to be a little more user-friendly in a K-12 environment. I have posted some examples of how it might be setup for use in schools. (These examples include some demo courses and resources, but with guest access enabled I am not able to provide examples of activities.):
- Secondary school example
- Primary / Elementary school example

Moodle is ideal for Tertiary education environments or Secondary schools where there is a need to offer students structured courses in a controlled online school environment. But you will need some technical expertise to get it up and running – and to maintain it. You can download Moodle from moodle.org, or have it hosted in your school by specialist K-12 providers such as Sentral.

24 Comments

  1. Juan Puig February 13, 2014 9:17 pm  Reply

    Excellent post, Thanks. We are starting evaluating different LMS (Schoology, Edmodo, Frog, Its Learning) and this article helps me to find the main difference on Edmodo and Schoology, the social and the learning approach.

  2. Diana December 20, 2013 4:25 pm  Reply

    Thank you for this great comparison. I was a Technology Coordinator and teacher in a school that used Moodle and LOVED it. We did have an IT department that supported the backend, and with training, I was able to get all teachers using Moodle effortlessly.

    I am now working with inexperienced and untrained “teachers” in underserved communities in Cambodia to develop ICT curriculum for public school students with limited or no computer and/or internet experience. I first used Edmodo last year, which was great to introduce simple terms such as “post”, “reply”, “newfeed”, “profile”, etc. However, the disorganization of the newsfeed is sending me exploring other options. I do not have an IT team backing the project, so I cannot set up Moodle easily. I will now explore Schoology.

    Regards,
    Diana Gross
    Global Citizen Media

  3. Pamela Dooley November 20, 2013 1:14 am  Reply

    We have been using Moodle for several years and have two staff members responsible for its day to day upkeep. I piloted the program for the district. The learning curve is not that big if you have admin for the back-end part. The teachers just need to know how to add what they want to the course. We are now looking at Edmodo for the severely un-techie teachers so that they can have a small on-line presence but I feel that Moodle has so much more to offer for the students and the teachers. I love that I can find mods to do what I want. I just let the admin know what I want and he tests it in the system to make sure it works and plays well with our other mods and if it passes, he installs it. Edmodo is, well, what you see if what you get.

  4. Dianne November 7, 2013 5:14 am  Reply

    I teach at a distributed learning school with Grades Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our grade 10 to 12 program is all online in Moodle. I teach K to 7, and am looking for ways to make the Moodle format look more attractive for young students and to be easier for navigation. I like what you have done here and liked your examples. I am also trying to work out how I could use Moodle to become an online Portfolio for my students. There are lots of possibilities. I have good Moodle technical support here at my school. Good discussion.

  5. Donna Kiwala May 24, 2013 11:49 pm  Reply

    Great article. I’d love to have you take a look at eGenio. It’s easy and friendly like Edmodo but, offers a real learning platform. Contact me if you would like to take a test drive.

  6. Anthony February 13, 2013 7:13 am  Reply

    I have used and mostly loved Edmodo for a few years. Easy to train anyone to use, if they need training at all. My primary issue is the inability to make important, running responsibilities “stick” to the top. Kids get frustrated digging through the pile for the important thing we started last week. I have also used Moodle, but the learning curve is unfair for the average high school student or teacher. Plus, the limitation of needing 3rd party involvement is not ideal in my district, since the early adopters often pilot stuff on their own before the district will support them. I am considering changing at least one class over to Schoology to see if I like it better, and to see if the change improves student involvement.

  7. Mike February 6, 2013 3:02 am  Reply

    I started out using Edmodo but became frustrated by the lack of organization. The more I used it the more disorganized my content became. After using edmodo for 2 quarters I was ready to give up on it and LMS. I then came across schoology. There was a little bit more of a learning curve with schoology but I jumped in feet first. I switched my middle school classes from edmodo to schoology over a weekend. The switch was a little stressful for me but my students adapted immediately. I have no regrets in making the switch and actually feel it was one of the smartest moves I’ve made. It transformed my classroom and how I did things with my students. I am 99% paperless with schoology.

    This year my district is doing a 1 to 1 ipad initiative. Every student kindergarten through 8th grade is receiving an ipad. With every student having an ipad, a LMS like schoology is perfect for managing work-flow and moving toward a paperless classroom. Since I have been using schoology for 2 years I felt I knew it pretty well. I’ve pushed for the other schools in my district to start using schoology as well. What do they do? They all adopt edmodo over schoology. I personally feel they chose edmodo because I use schoology. In the past there has been a lot of jealousy between school buildings over perceived favoritism or misconception about student populations (we get all the good kids). Whatever their reason for choosing edmodo, they will have to live with the fact that they chose an inferior system. In my opinion, schoology is superior in almost every way. Edmodo is easier to learn but that is because it does less so there is less to learn!

    • Warren February 6, 2013 7:48 am  Reply

      I agree Mike. This has also been my experience….

      Edmodo is simple to setup, but becomes ‘disorganised’ over time, though is fine for a discussion forum.

      Moodle is very structured, but not terribly user-friendly, especially in a K-6 school.

      Schoology sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

      To me the holy grail would be something like Schoology but it needs integrated with your school’s admin database and student profiles.

      What we need is for Sentral (which does great curriculum/welfare/admin/profiles tracking) to develop an integrated LMS!

      It is a case of horses for courses. What we are all looking for is the one-size-fits-all solution, which may not exist yet.

      Warren

  8. Princi January 2, 2013 3:43 pm  Reply

    After using moodle and schoology for a long period of time, I felt the need of developing something more. I finally found out few guys working on it already and they displayed me some awesome stuff. The name of the platform is Edhoot. TO visit them http://www.edhoot.com

    They provide all the tools a teacher can imaging. Teachers are able to share and collaborate, grade students, share the results of students with their parents directly.
    Edhoot also provides a common platform for Schools, Teachers, Parents and Students.
    This platform has tools for schools which automates all the tasks of the school.
    Edhoot provides a report in there own unique way.

    Most inmportant is that all the tools and the platfrom are free to use.

    All the data is kept on online servers and none is deleted even if the student advances, because there aim is to even help the student after school.

    • wazmac January 2, 2013 4:15 pm  Reply

      Hi Princi,

      edHoot seems to be more of an academic reporting and assessment tool, rather than a collaborative communication tool, or an LMS?

      I am not sure that it is really comparable to Edmodo or Moodle?

      Please correct me if I am wrong.

      Warren

      • Princi January 2, 2013 8:33 pm  Reply

        Hey Warren

        Greetings of the day..!!!

        EdHOOT is providing a lot of services which includes reporting and assessment but its main focus is smooth flow of information between teachers, parents, students and schools on a common platform.

        EdHOOT avails every information to the parents which effects a student’s progress such as daily classwork done at school, daily homework, Assignment submission dates, other important circulars etc.

        It helps the parents to better know their wards. The activities of their wards can be monitored by their parents on an online platform.

        All this and lot more on a common online platform, which is free to use.

        Edhoot is busy bringing all the the schools on a common platform, so that the Teachers, Parents and the students can benefit from it.

        For Students and Parents:
        A centralized online place to carry all the information, starting from report cards to daily performance and annual performance and even the teachers information can be accessed online by you and by your parents.

        For teachers :
        No headache of creating report cards. Better interaction with Parents. Better student and class management. Efficient teaching plans can be shared amongst all teachers.

        For Schools :
        All the processes get automated. Starting from School fees collection to the management of the teachers and the staff and resource management. School will not have to waste there important time in all the overheads.

        It is providing an easy access platform for all parts of the society.

        Definitely, Edhoot is not targeting teachers, its main target is the information which is flowing from schools to the parent. To authenticate all the information, edhoot makes sure that all the processes are done under its own platform. Thus all the other tasks may be called as a by-product of the main idea.

        Edmodo and Schoology or moodle were however more diverted towards the teachers.

        for more details watch this approximately 2 minutes video…
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAyXyDUBaqs

        your questions and suggestion are welcome..

  9. Emmanuel Tillman December 27, 2012 9:37 pm  Reply

    There are many Moodle learning management systems providers you can find today. They help develop seamless solutions for you.

    • wazmac December 28, 2012 5:51 am  Reply

      Hi Emmanuel,

      Yes there are many 3rd party providers who can tailor Moodle for a school environment. And these providers do a great job.

      However, that only re-inforces the point – if you need a 3rd party provider to install and setup software to make it usable, then the software may be too complicated for most elementary or secondary schools.

      And certainly too involved for a teacher who may just want an online environment for their own classroom(s).

      Warren

  10. Sara Tilleman December 12, 2012 5:42 pm  Reply

    Very helpful post – I’m developing a blended e-learning program for the university I’m working at and am debating between moodle and edmodo.

    Can an edmodo site be copied – meaning I can prepare the materials once and then every teacher will have a similar basic site to start with? I know that this can be done in moodle.

    • wazmac December 12, 2012 7:40 pm  Reply

      Hi Sara,

      An Edmodo site isn’t something that can be ‘copied’. Nor can you install Edmodo on your own local server. Think of Edmodo as being similar to Facebook in that sense.

      Edmodo is strictly a proprietary format housed on a remote server, and serves a different function to Moodle. Edmodo is more a communication tool than a LMS, but can be used as a basic, interactive, online learning tool in a K-8 environment.

      In a University environment, for online delivery of course material, I think Moodle (or a similar LMS) is a more appropriate option.

      Hope this helps,
      Warren

      • Sara Tilleman January 13, 2013 4:23 am  Reply

        Thanks Warren – just saw your response now.

        I read that in Edmodo you can create your own school domain and then all of the courses are created.

        I don’t like Moodle because it’s hard for the teachers to learn how to use the system. I was also looking into schoology – do you have any other suggestions besides Moodle? Thank you for your time.

        • wazmac January 13, 2013 1:36 pm  Reply

          Hi Sara,

          You can create your own ‘domain’ in Edmodo, but that is just a URL. Within the domain you still create Groups (classes), and within those classes you can distribute assignments – but they are not ‘Courses’ that you might create in Moodle. More of a sharing / communication forum.

          I understand that Blackboard ( http://www.blackboard.com/ ) is an LMS similar to Moodle. Though I have not used it, and it isn’t free.

          Moodle (and Blackboard) usually involves systemic deployment across your campus(es), with Categories setup by the admins for each Faculty or Department, and access to those Faculties/Classes controlled by local administrators. Edmodo can be setup online for just a single class if the systemic approach isn’t an option.

          Moodle can be very good – it’s just that there is a bit of a learning curve, and can be a little bland ‘straight out of the box’. Also requires some local tech support and admin.

          Maybe create an Edmodo account and a student account (free) and try it out to see if it will do what you need?

          Regards,
          Warren

          • Sara Tilleman January 13, 2013 3:02 pm 

            Thanks Warren for your quick response.

      • Sara Tilleman January 13, 2013 4:25 am  Reply

        Thanks Warren – I just saw your response now.

        I read that Edmodo has school domains where you can have all of the classes connected. I’m not crazy about Moodle because it’s very hard for the teachers to learn how to use it.

        I was also looking into schoology. Do you have any other suggestions besides Moodle?

  11. Jim Noble October 9, 2012 11:47 pm  Reply

    Thanks for this article. It is helpful to see another view of how these things fit together. I have been on moodle for a while now and it obviously has many more possibilities, but it fails miserably on being interactive or encouraging student participation. The social networking aspects offered by the other two are absolutely key for me and something moodle should take note of. I am now using both moodle as the repository for courses and materials and edmodo as the communication tool (not ideal I know, but a graet deal has been invested in creating moodle courses). I have had more enagement from 1 month with edmodo than 2 years with moodle.

    thanks again

    • wazmac October 11, 2012 6:49 am  Reply

      Hi Jim,

      Your experiences reflect those of many others. Edmodo is instantly popular with students, and relatively easy (compared to Moodle) for teachers to manage.

      The challenge for teachers is implementing the service in such a way that it supports learning outcomes. Success here often depends on many bigger picture issues such as school internet access whenever/wherever required, which in turn leads to discussions about student and teacher use of (personal) mobile devices on the school network, internet access at home, ‘trust’ of students in online environments, and ultimately the learning culture in the school.

      Edmodo used in a truly ‘digital school’ can be a great success. Implemented in a school where students ‘go to the lab’ once or twice a week, Edmodo is unlikely to have much chance of success in supporting learning activities.

      Let’s know how it is going after some extended use.

      Regards,
      Warren

  12. IT Guy July 23, 2012 5:48 pm  Reply

    This great – we have been trying to make sens of Moodle, but it is definitely too complicated for teachers here at school.

    We will be giving Schoology and Edmodo a try – they look like they will do exactly what we need, and give teachers the confidence to go forward with this stuff in their class.

    Great site wazmac. Thanks for your efforts in supporting schools.

    Ryan
    NYC

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