Brightside Content Editor Mark Taylor describes our newest e-learning projects and how free, open-source software helps us innovate efficiently.
A key part of Brightside’s work has always been using technology to scale up interventions and overcome geographical barriers. Our mentoring platform is designed to do just that: it is bespoke software designed from the ground up to bring the power of mentoring to young people across the country.
But not every intervention requires this bespoke approach, and we are keen not to reinvent the wheel when existing technology can help us to achieve our mission. In two recent projects, we have been working with the popular open-source learning management system Moodle. Widely used by educators and employers across the world, Moodle allows us to deliver and track interactive, appealing online learning in a tested, trusted environment. Using free, open-source software means we can start up innovative new projects quickly and efficiently, draw on the pedagogical and technical knowledge of the community, and share our own learning with other practitioners.
For our volunteer network, an online portal based on Moodle will provide essential training, continuing development, and access to the wider community of Brightside volunteers. As well as building their mentoring skills, this enhanced support will help to ensure that all our volunteers have a great Brightside experience, stay connected to our work between mentoring projects, and have access to new volunteering opportunities.
Elsewhere, Moodle enhances what we can offer to young people who are not participating in a Brightside mentoring programme. We have worked with the University of Exeter to build an e-learning platform for its Exeter Scholars programme, supplementing Exeter’s residentials and other face-to-face activity with online courses on exploring and applying to university. E-learning helps to ensure that students outside the South West don’t miss out on the valuable support the Scholars programme offers, while still allowing the university to track and recognise participation.
This is just the beginning: we’re always looking for new ways to achieve our mission, to collaborate with partners old and new, and to feed what we learn back into the wider community. If you’re interested in running an e-learning project with Brightside, contact firstname.lastname@example.org – or to find out more about our elearning work, contact email@example.com.
Find out more about Moodle at https://moodle.org/