f you're a teacher, academy owner, or instructional designer, Google Classroom and Moodle are the platforms you have undoubtedly heard of. Moreover, the chances are you’re choosing which is best to host courses.
For many, Moodle is an advanced open-source solution that is heavy and complicated to use. In contrast, Google Classroom is on teachers’ radars due to being exactly the opposite. And such a drastic difference can be a source of serious doubt.
In this Google Classroom vs Moodle review, we focus on how they differ, present vital features, and show the benefits of using the other, much-balanced solution.
Main differences: Google Classroom vs Moodle
Before delving into the key features, let's distinguish between these two platforms.
Even though Google Classroom is an LMS, it's limited. It has no advanced tools to manage courses, collaborate, and create content-rich lessons. On the other hand, it is one of the Google Apps tools, meaning it works great as an addition to the existing collaboration or learning system.
Google LMS is a popular option, especially for teachers who seek a tool to organize their virtual classroom or want to focus on online assignments.
In contrast, Moodle is an advanced open-source LMS with numerous features for teachers to create and manage diverse learning experiences. Importantly, it offers a mobile app, desktop, and web versions of the LMS.
One of Moodle's principles is offering free and open access to technology to “create a more equitable world” and ensure quality education.
That’s why this LMS pays much attention to details and customizable settings. Having powerful content creation or assignment management tools, the software is ideal for big and highly structured organizations.
Nonetheless, it's far from being smooth and straightforward. Its interface is not as intuitive, while a block and multi-level approach can negatively affect the course creation flow.
Overview: Google Classroom vs Moodle
Pros and cons of Google Classroom
Pros and cons of Moodle
In the Google Classroom vs Moodle debate, it's crucial to consider how these companies enhance their products. In this regard, we should pay attention to the frequency and contents of product updates.
As the Google Classroom is only a part of the Google For Education package, which consists of different apps, updates for this product are not so frequent.
Nevertheless, recently, Google Classroom adopted a new analytics feature, improved the grading system, and contributed to practice sets available under advanced packages.
Google Classroom significant updates occur every 2-3 months, while minor ones related to operation can happen more often.
In terms of Moodle, the company takes a systematic approach to issuing different updates and supporting various versions simultaneously. It is concerned with the complexity of the system and the idea that users can download desktop versions, and bugs may appear.
The company issues significant updates every 6 months (in October and April) and minor updates every 2 months.
#1. Moodle vs Google Classroom course creation: Complexity or simplicity
The course creation with Google Classroom starts with a thread-like home page, with a list of vital spaces for administration (Calendar, Courses, Settings) and separate tabs for course creation.
The tabs are the critical spaces where a teacher or administrator creates learning experiences.
- Stream Tab allows commenting and announcements.
- Classwork Tab is for creating content and activities.
- Students and Grades Tabs are for managing access and grades.
With spaces for administration and particular tabs, the user gets an intuitive dashboard to quickly access and create assignments.
In contrast, Moodle has a much more complex system using a block and multi-level approach. For instance, you have a dashboard where you can add and access different blocks, like Calendar, Comments, Checklists, or Welcome page.
The course development follows a similar principle:
- Within a “My Courses” space, the teacher would use the block approach to add lessons, content, forums, and assignments to the topics or modules. Next, for each block or activity, they will need to adjust settings and tags and determine accesses (each has at least five sections with various settings).
- At the top panel, except for primary tabs for grades and reporting, there are additional ones allowing you to create a content or question bank, add badges and competencies, or adjust completion settings.
It offers enormous diversity and allows users to create structured and complex programs within different organizations. Yet, such a multi-level flow and advanced options are difficult to manage and require many different actions, adding to the steepness of the learning curve.
#2. Google Classroom vs Moodle content options: More variety from Moodle
Now, let’s look at the content options that make the difference in this Google Classroom vs Moodle debate. Why? Moodle offers a greater variety of content and activity types you can use.
In particular, Google Classroom offers simple features for assignments, materials, quizzes, or questions. You can connect to other Google apps that give flexibility, mainly thanks to Google Drawings, Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Google Besides, Classroom has the Reuse option to duplicate tasks. Yet, beware, the text editor is quite limited.
Moodle provides a solid text editing tool with a word count and the ability to record and upload video/audio, upload media pieces, and add source codes or links.
Just imagine: this platform brings 20+ content options that can be divided into four categories. For instance, you can add a chat or feedback, glossary or database, assignment or quiz, text and media page, book or lesson with multiple learning paths. Importantly, it grants “Duplicate,” “Reuse Course,” and bulk “Edit Module” options that are useful for scaling.
💡Highlight: the variety brought by Moodle gives more opportunities to produce exciting content, while Google Classroom relies on other apps.
Course development drawbacks: Is there a need for a more balanced solution?
What do the first sections of Moodle vs Google Classroom comparison tell us? The user may experience issues.
Google Classroom lacks the capacity to create pages or structured curriculum, whereas Moodle strikes users with advanced options and appears as “heavy” and non-intuitive.
It can significantly affect the course creators, especially when developing multiple programs or providing learning to a larger pool of students.
In that case, the educational goals and learning needs may better align with a more balanced solution. And EducateMe is such a platform, putting intuitiveness and flexibility at the center.
In particular, it's as easy to use as Google Classroom, as the editor tool applies the drag-and-drop approach and allows moving lessons and modules within the curriculum.
At the same time, just like Moodle, it has diverse content and media options and multiple integrations. There, you can add media pieces, create assignments and quizzes, and share links to Google Docs, Figma, or Zoom. Moreover, it offers a powerful Calendar automation to schedule drip courses and lessons.
As a result, EducateMe combines varied options and an intuitive user experience, making content creation more efficient.
#3. Moodle vs Google Classroom engagement tools
Moodle and Google Classroom offer standard engagement tools, while the first platform has more formats for student discussions.
First, Google Classroom has a Google Meet button in the home tab. There, a teacher also may use an Announcement, a thread-like feature, to start discussions.
On the other hand, content options have some engagement options as well. They refer to questions and polls where you can ask for comments, as well as some Google apps, like Google Drawings.
Moodle offers more exciting features. What are they? Firstly, it has native integration with BigBlueButton, the popular virtual classroom software. Secondly, the Moodle content options allow adding the following activities into the courses:
That way, with Moodle, you can create separate spaces for communication and discussion between the students and learning providers.
💡Highlight: Thanks to format diversity, Moodle seems to bring more to the learning providers. However, we should forget about Google Apps.
#4. Google Classroom vs Moodle quizzes and assignments
Google Classroom offers decent assignment and quiz features, as these activities are the platform's primary focus. Assignments and quizzes can be created as separate content pieces.
Even though the editor is limited, the media upload and link embodiment are practical and straightforward. Thanks to Google Docs integration, the assignments can become a collaborative environment or spacewhere you can comment on learners' work live.
For crafting content-rich quizzes, Google Classroom relies on Google Forms. Besides, the creator can easily establish deadlines and grades there.
Again, Moodle uses a variety of formats to provide assignments. There are:
- Assignment. It's a standard feature with the ability to upload files and leave comments; it offers some advanced settings.
- Quiz. It provides different questions: multiple choice, matching, short-answer, and numerical. It works well for tests and quizzes.
- Checklist. A checklist module allows the creation of a to-do list for students.
- Workshop. Assignments with peer-review options.
Notably, one of the essential features is the Question Bank. It's the space where you can create and edit questions and then use them in quizzes. The assignments have diverse settings for submissions, attempts, access, and deadlines. There is also a system of badges that can be given to the learners based on their results.
💡Highlight: Moodle brings a very convenient question bank for assignment management and creation, while Google impresses users with its intuitive editor and collaborative options.
#5. Moodle vs Google Classroom reporting
What about reporting? Well, Google Classroom offers Classroom analytics. It's a relatively new feature and can be used by the Super Admin by default.
In other cases, you will need to ask them for access. It shows data on student performance and completion rates. Besides, a teacher can use a Grade tab to keep track of grades.
Moodle follows a slightly different path, bringing a model approach based on a category or course. It allows the course creator to see the participation and activity of students. For instance, you can see which students are “at risk of dropping out,” or “have not accessed the course.”
At the same time, for each such model, you can gain insights from the report. The teacher can also engage with the students shown in reports or set notifications.
Note. Moodle offers an open-source system and different plugins to develop reporting models.
💡Highlight: Comparing Google Classroom vs Moodle, the reporting features are standard. Due to the API system, Moodle offers some opportunities for advanced customization.
#6. Google Classroom vs Moodle customization
In this part, we will talk about customization and branding options. For a school, academy, or business, it's the way to connect with learners better and offer unique experiences.
Let’s start with Google Classroom. It has only 8 colors to customize the appearance of the course theme. Also, you can download a cover.
Moodle offers powerful customization concerning logos, course covers, space design, emojis, HTML use, and theme creation. For instance, it's highly customizable regarding the language used locally for the courses.
Nonetheless, much customization is possible due to the system’s open-source nature. It contemplates that a user should be code-savvy or have at least basic knowledge.
Note. One can download the theme template via one of Moodle’s plugins, yet, as the guide shows, it's not as easy.
💡Highlight: As you can see, Google Classroom customization is pretty basic, while setting Moodle in branding colors does not take several clicks. That’s why you may want to check the best white-label platforms.
#7. Moodle vs Google Classroom integrations
What about integrations? Well, they play a crucial role in how the learning providers create learning experiences with these platforms.
In the case of Google Classroom, the close interconnection with Google Apps allows the development of interactive quizzes, collaborative spaces, synched systems, and proper lectures. Despite some integrations with Nearpod and Quizlet, the lack of other alternative plugins may be a downturn, especially for progressive businesses.
Compared to Google LMS, Moodle offers a long list of plugins to enrich the course creation process with interactivity and gamification, add to the learning experience, and ease management.
Even though most of them are internal, it also offers vital third-party integrations with Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, DropBox, PayPal, BigBlueButton, Poodl, etc. Moreover, you can easily add custom plugins and embed tools via API guides.
Google Classroom vs Moodle pricing
Google Classroom Cost
One of the advantages of Google Classroom is that it's free for teachers and educational organizations. Its free version offers basic functions and constitutes a part of Google Workplace for Education.
However, Google Workspace for Education has advanced packages under which you can do more with content, integrations, and management.
In particular, Teaching and Learning Upgrade and Google for Education Plus are more suitable for organizations that need to scale or organize lectures for many people. These packages allow you to use Google Meet to host up to 250 or 500 people and have breakout rooms. The unique feature is a practice set for greater assignment experience.
The major downturn is that the Google Classroom price tag is only available upon contacting Google representatives.
Moodle Pricing: Is Moodle Free?
Yes, Moodle is free; one can download and use it on their server. Yet, its MoodleCloud solution, hosted on the Moodle servers, comes with a price tag. Here is how the Standard Plans vary:
The plan choice will significantly depend on the number of learners and how you will use the storage. The Stanard Plans may suit small academies, schools, and training departments. Notably, the Premium Plan offers more support and flexibility. Yet, its price tag is available only upon the quote.
Our Verdict on Google Classroom vs Moodle Comparison
All in all, your choice between Google Classroom or Moodle will depend on your specific needs.
Google Classroom offers a user-friendly platform for setting virtual classrooms and assignments but lacks advanced features. On the other hand, Moodle provides a comprehensive, customizable experience suitable for larger organizations, though its complexity may be challenging.
💡Thus, a balanced solution, like EducateMe, can be the answer to the doubts. With an intuitive dashboard, drag-and-drop builder, and relevant automation, it strikes a middle ground. It is designed to streamline course development, offering simplicity without sacrificing functionality.