The latest and greatest version of Moodle, the revamped 3.5, is slated to be released in mid-May 2018. This major version release update is jam packed with exciting new LMS features and improvements that primarily address issues of aesthetic usability, upgrades to mobile app frameworks, and compliance issues.
Here are some of the new major improvements that Moodle 3.5 will feature:
1. GDPR Compliance
The big one; making Moodle 3.5 GDPR compliant for all institutions and organizations within the EU region. In a nutshell, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance represents a monumental shift in the regulation and protection of personal data privacy. The aim of the GDPR is to protect EU citizens from personal data breaches and to respect data privacy in a global society that is increasingly dependent on data.
GDPR compliance laws not only affect organizations located within European Union borders, but also organizations that are located elsewhere in the world that offer goods and/or services that may monitor the behaviour of EU subjects - like corporate training programs supported by eLearning and/or LMS platforms.
GDPR adaptation remains a top priority of all Moodle updates, and Moodle HQ is busy implementing the changes that will assist institutions and organizations using Moodle to become EU GDPR compliant. These changes focus on functionality to:
- Provide additional privacy information during user sign up, as well as more extensive recording and logging of user consents.
- Provide users with the ability to obtain a copy of their data, enable and support their right to data erasure, and keeping track of all types of data within Moodle in a designated data registry.
2. Mobile App Refresh
One of the biggest visual updates to Moodle 3.5 will come by way of a major overhaul of the Moodle Mobile app. The new version will be upgraded to Ionic 3 framework which will help to address some usability issues.
Moodle Mobile 3.5 will also be fitted with various user experience, performance, and design updates, giving the app a brand new look and modern feel, helping teachers and students/trainees to use the app more easily. Of note, mobile 3.5 will work and look much more closely with Moodle 3.5, enabling consistency between two platforms. This does require use of new mobile devices — Moodle Mobile 3.5 will only work on Android 4.4 or iOS 8 and beyond.
3. Usability Improvements
Moodle has been hard at work to continue improving the overall Moodle user experience via its relationship to in-depth background research, stakeholder analysis, and design work done by their designated user experience development team.
Usability improvements to Moodle 3.5 focus directly on introducing stability to Bootstrap v4 to lay a framework for exciting, more easily developed UX (user experience) improvements into the future. Moodle has released that preliminary UX improvements will focus on the dashboard.
4. Question Bank Improvements
The Moodle Users Association will be pleased to find that their calls have been heard loud and clear. Moodle 3.5 will expand on the ability and functionality for users to tag questions within the question bank.
This feature update is geared specifically towards adding flexibility to question management within Moodle’s question bank by creating a metadata layer in the form of a label for questions on a course-by-course level, also contributing to the ease of management for instructors. These labels will be usable from a ‘random question from set’ question type.
5. Messaging Improvements
Making improvements to the functionality of messaging is a big priority for the team at Moodle - not just for 3.5, but for future updates as well. Messaging improvements ultimately means that changes to message database tables and events will inevitably have to happen, so to combat loss of message history, Moodle recommends that users with messaging related plugins will likely have to update their code.
Moodle 3.5 messaging improvements will also include extensions to Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) Advances, helping to further establish ways to integrate learning applications and tools with learning management systems.
We feel it’s critically important to note that this new version will be a Long Term Supported (LTS) version, meaning that it will have security support for 36 months from its release date, and one year of solid general big-fixing support—so upgraders and users can breathe easy that this new version is well supported and monitored.
These changes and upgrades to Moodle 3.5 are some of the biggest and best the learning management system has ever undergone. The new update will be available on the second Monday of May this year, and we recommend upgrading to take advantage of all these new LMS features.