A High-Level Comparison of Google Classoom and Moodle LMS
There are many educational institutions in this time of COVID-19 crises who suddenly need to consider online. Google Classroom and Moodle appear the most popular choice, many have asked us for advice regarding their best online option.
This note offers a high-level comparison between GC and Moodle without going into the nitty gritty. Both systems have international standing. Google classroom 100 million users, Moodle 200 million users worldwide.
Google Classroom is quick to set up but in our view, it is not a permanent sustainable solution for online learning in a mid-sized to large school. Here is why.
BENEFIT FOR THE SCHOOL
SCHOOL MANAGEMENT OVERSIGHT.
Google classroom is not a full institutional LMS. Google classroom does not have the learning systems administrator functionality to the extent that Moodle has. Instead GC is linked to a g-suite package with a g-suite administrator.
Google classroom has virtually no high-level oversight of teacher activity and learner performance in real-time. There is no fully fledged grade-book, activity completion tracking, learner logs. Moodle offers a just-in-time view at both high-level and detailed level insight of all the online learning activities, quality of course material, learner participation, learner formats on a school-wide basis.
The Moodle learning admin function enables school management and departmental heads to monitor and control the online learning efforts of the entire school as it happens when it happens.
With Moodle, school management and departmental heads also have immediate oversight over the quality of learning material and can provide input, which they cannot not in GC.
LINKS TO YOUR SCHOOL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
With Google Classroom you cannot link your LMS to your SCHOOL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to bulk upload learners and automatically assign them to classes, courses, work-groups, and cohorts, all in one go. Whereas you can in Moodle. In a school of 500 or more learners, this a real disadvantage.
You also cannot send learner records back and forth from Google LMS to the School Management System in bulk as you can in Moodle. This creates an additional admin burden for teachers.
GC leaves it up to teachers and learners to enrol themselves in each online class. This usually happens in dribs and drabs and the school has no control over who has not registered on the system.
Your Moodle site belongs to your school; Google Classroom belongs to Google. With GC you cannot safely accumulate a repository of learning material that belongs to the school and is secured by the school for the school.
On GC you can’t import and export complete course packages to be used again year after year, you can only export course material in bit and pieces. In GC you cannot exchange whole course material packages with other schools locally and internationally.
BENEFIT FOR TEACHERS
PRESSURE ON TEACHERS.
GC does not reduce workload of teachers to the extent that Moodle does, which goes against the logic of having a LMS in the first place.
In fact, GC increases the pressure on teachers because you cannot automate assessments and assignments to the extent that you can Moodle. There is no automated activity completion tracking in GC, so you cannot track if learners have watched a video or completed prescribed reading, unless you create a quiz.
In CG, since you cannot make complete backups of an entire course, so teachers must reinvent the wheel every year.
GC has limits as to the number of topics you may include in a class. This often changes without warning and can severely limit the scope of your online course, rather suddenly. So, GC is less suitable for a year-long curriculum support than Moodle
In GC you can only attach a video but not embed it as you can in Moodle. So, integrating video into interactive lessons is not possible. This limits the teacher and the learner in the full use of the biggest learning resource available on the internet for learning, YouTube.
GC is very weak in quantitative subjects particularly maths science and accounting. Moodle has dedicated plug-ins for all of these. We have complete maths programs which can be added to your Moodle.
While GC is quick to implement and each teacher can set up a class on their own in no time, one should be careful to jump to the conclusion that more teachers will make use of it. Many teachers are still resisting tech in teaching, and with the lack of managerial oversight and control of GC the school may never see full implementation.
Moodle offers deep integration via plugins with all the major video conferencing solutions on the market. So, Moodle offers access to a wide range of options in pricing and features. Google offers only one facility namely Google Meet which is also available as a Moodle plugin.
MOODLE IS UGLY AND DIFFICULT FOR TEACHERS TO USE
This quite true with conventional Moodle. NextGEN Moodle is however much more sophisticated, much easier to use and has the stunning looks to go with it.
BENEFIT FOR LEARNERS
From the learner’s point of view the timeline course format of GC makes it almost impossible for learners to use GC for exam revision, unless of course the teacher is actively involved, handholding and spoon feeding the GC timeline on a daily basis during revision. This puts huge pressure on teachers at exam time as well as it does learners.
Moodle offers a static format that follows the subject curriculum, and learners can engage forwards and backwards with the curriculum without the teacher doing anything. Learners and teachers can monitor their progress relative to the course curriculum.
Quiz activities and assignments in Moodle are linked to a question bank which continues to grow and accumulate every year. This offers learners a stimulating variety of questions and assignments. GC does not offer conditional routing and adaptive learning, peer-reviewed assignments.
So, with GC learners may soon find the lessons and assignments becoming repetitive, bland, and predictable, and may lose their enthusiasm for eLearning and abandon it altogether.
All over the world Most schools who have started out with Google classroom found that they needed to upgrade to a full LMS such as Moodle, Cavass, Blackboard as their online learning scales up.
Teachers and learners must then get used to the new system and the school must go through the whole rigmarole of getting teachers and learners to adapt and get onboard with a new system.
It might be better for schools to start off with the right LMS from the get-go. International experience shows that learning institutions (Schools) usually migrate from Google classroom to Moodle LMS and not the other way round.