The Moodle Podcast

MoodleMoot Global 2024 highlights, advice and insights with Marie Achour

July 05, 2024 Moodle Podcast Season 1 Episode 23
MoodleMoot Global 2024 highlights, advice and insights with Marie Achour
The Moodle Podcast
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The Moodle Podcast
MoodleMoot Global 2024 highlights, advice and insights with Marie Achour
Jul 05, 2024 Season 1 Episode 23
Moodle Podcast

Read the transcript here.

Interested in the upcoming MoodleMoot Global 2024 conference? In the episode, our guest Marie Achour, Global head of product at Moodle HQ, shares insights and gems of advice for anyone considering attending. 

Together, we unpack the theme, what the Jam sessions are about, and Marie shares her best advice for first time attendees of MoodleMoot Global. 

Whether you're an educator, developer, learning designer, manager or simply passionate about the future of education, this episode is for you. 

Collaborate with the best minds and unlock new possibilities at MoodleMoot Global 2024 in Mérida, México on 22-24 October, 2024. 

Register now: 

Early bird pricing is available until 16th July! 

Visit Moodle at

Show Notes Transcript

Read the transcript here.

Interested in the upcoming MoodleMoot Global 2024 conference? In the episode, our guest Marie Achour, Global head of product at Moodle HQ, shares insights and gems of advice for anyone considering attending. 

Together, we unpack the theme, what the Jam sessions are about, and Marie shares her best advice for first time attendees of MoodleMoot Global. 

Whether you're an educator, developer, learning designer, manager or simply passionate about the future of education, this episode is for you. 

Collaborate with the best minds and unlock new possibilities at MoodleMoot Global 2024 in Mérida, México on 22-24 October, 2024. 

Register now: 

Early bird pricing is available until 16th July! 

Visit Moodle at

Martin: Hello and welcome to the Moodle podcast.

Lucy: Hello, listeners and welcome. My name is Lucy and I'm here with Marie Achour, global head of product at Moodle. Marie has been described as being outcome driven, energetic, and a true believer in the products and people she leads. If you haven't met Marie yet or heard her speak at a conference, it's well worth making your way to a Moodle moot just for that honour.

Today we are talking about MoodleMoot Global, which is an incredible conference that we are hosting this year in Merida, Mexico, that will be taking place between the 22nd and the 24 October.

Marie: Oh, thanks for that kind introduction, Lucy. It's a pleasure to be here with you.

Lucy: Great. So to get us started, I'd love to know what you love most about what you do at Moodle?

Marie: Oh, that's a very good question. I think there's a lot of it, um, that surrounds the concepts of people, um, and that's the people I get to lead directly here at Moodle HQ. But it's also all of the people that I get to interact with, um, who are part of our Moodle community.

And that Moodle community term I use really broadly. I include our partners, our users, our community contributors, our translators. Um, that group of humans that we get to work with every day and build products for is just an amazing bunch of people. And that is by far the favorite part of my job, um, getting to interact with all of those people.

Lucy: That's so lovely. And today we're here to talk about an event that brings all of those people together. So that's perfect. Today we're here to talk about MoodleMoot Global, which is the biggest worldwide moot, which is our word for a conference. It's a get together of our community. So tell us a little bit about that and what MoodleMoot Global is for those who aren't aware.

Marie: Yeah. So it's a global event, as you said, where we, um, invite moodlers from all around the world to join us for a three day conference. And during that conference, we focus on the latest trends in online education and e learning technology. Um, we talk about things that people are doing with Moodle, um, from all over the world and whether that's in an education context or a workplace context.

We get presentations from people from Moodle hq. So the people who are building the product, um, with our community contributors, where they're taking the product, some recent changes to the product solutions, inspiring vision for the future type presentations, which I usually get to do, which is really great fun.

And then from members of our community. We get to hear how they use Moodle, how they've implemented it in their situation, and we get to see so much innovation from those people, which is always super interesting, uh, and seeing some of the outcomes that they deliver with Moodle, some of the things that they do to change the world.

And I don't say that lightly. People actually use Moodle to change the world. And we get to have presentations and learn about those things, and then. We also have things that are a bit more on the technical side. So if you're a Moodle developer, you'll get to do some workshops or attend presentations to see how other people are developing with Moodle.

So really wide range of topics, but importantly, really, we just all come together, mingle, get to know each other, get to see what's going on in the world of Moodle, and, um, have a really good time together and get to connect as a community, which is really, really fascinating to, to just be around everyone and get the energy from the Moodle moot.

It's very hard to come home from a MoodleMoot in a bad, bad mood, that's for sure.

Lucy: I can attest to that. Yeah, it really does invigorate you, doesn't it? You touched on it a little bit then. But who is MoodleMoot global for?

Marie: Anyone who works with Moodle or would like to work with Moodle, and that's in a whole different range of categories. So you can be a, uh, Moodle developer, you can be a learning designer, you can be an educator, you can be a moodle administrator, you can be human resource rep, a training consultant, you can be a company that builds things on Moodle, you can be a Moodle partner.

So if you somehow are involved in the world of Moodle, or would like to be, or are considering becoming part of the world of Moodle, uh, this is a really great place to be. And then I would say that actually, if you have an interest in elearning tech or online education more broadly, or where education is going in this world, with the introduction of AI, even if you're not doing those things with Moodle right now, um, there would be topics and conversations that would be of, um, interest to somebody who has those kinds of questions, um, about the future of e-learning, technology, and education in our ever-changing and fast-paced world.

Lucy: Wonderful. So this year, the main conference theme is unlocking human potential, which I think is fantastic. Tell me about what that means in the context of Moodle.

Marie: So, at Moodle, one of our fundamental beliefs is that education is the cornerstone of personal development and the prosperity of societies overall. It's a vibrant and ever evolving journey that doesn't just happen within the walls of traditional institutions. And so this topic of unlocking human potential is really there to help us explore that concept, to say, how does education transcend the borders of school?

And how can an educational technology like Moodle really support that? Um, and it's also very much grounded in our vision for the product that we build, which is the Moodle LMS platform, Moodle workplace and all of our mobile, mobile apps and other services that we provide around Moodle, which is the concepts of trying to unlock creativity, so allowing people to create courses and experience courses and not be limited by the technology.

But enabling them to leverage their creativity to learn, um, facilitating collaboration. So how can one software solution, which is moodle, work with all of the other software solutions that people interact with? And that's in life or at work or at school, um, and then finally, very importantly, optimizing outcomes.

So how can, um, a solution like Moodle, really help people achieve the outcomes that they're hoping to achieve through formal training, learning and education? And how can they then end up getting better learning outcomes for, whether it's for themselves, for their students, or for the people in their organizations that they're using Moodle to train?

So those broad topics all fit under this umbrella of, um, unlocking, um, human potential. And we've got some really great presentations on the program already that are really zeroing in onto those topics and I actually personally can't wait to hear some of them. Um, always love hearing the stories from the community and seeing how each of those stories zero in onto the product vision.

Um, will be super fascinating.

Lucy: Yeah. So the provisional program has very recently been announced. I'd love to know more about some of the key speakers and types of presentations we can expect at middlemen global.

Marie: So we have a really wide range of presentations. So we have a number of presentations from universities around the world, whether you're in Egypt or Canada, um, there's some different presentations from different universities globally on different topics. We also have presentations that are more workplace focused. So a few really great presentations on how to leverage the power of e learning and online learning in a workplace context.

We're going to get something like 20 presentations from different people from Moodle HQ, whether they're learning designers or developers, and telling the story of how we build different, um, moodle solutions and demonstrating some new product features that are coming out. So there'll be a few of those. We've got some really great presentations from many of the moodle partners around the world, um, who implement most of the big moodle solutions out there.

So they get to share their stories about those implementations and what they're doing with moodle around the globe. And I think really importantly this year we're doing something a little different. Um, conference is bilingual, so we're going to have, um, on, um, each afternoon some presentations that are in Spanish, because we are in, we're going to be in Mexico, so we might as well talk to the audience that's going to be there.

So there will be a lot of presentations in Spanish each afternoon. People can attend those presentations now, at the same time, there are always going to be presentations in English as well. So if you don't speak Spanish, don't worry, you won't be sitting around doing nothing all afternoon. You'll have somewhere to go.

But yeah. So that'll be fun. And I'm really keen to see how that works out because we've never tried it before, so something new.

Lucy: Perfect. So that's fantastic that it's going to be bilingual. Of course we'll be in Mexico. So are there any other ways that I'd be able to access? For example, if I only speak English, could I still go to those talks in Spanish?

Marie: Yeah, we're working really hard on finding a really good translation solution so that if you're a spanish speaker or another language speaker and you want to attend the sessions that are in English, and I have to say, the keynote presentations, for instance, they're all in English so that you can attend those presentations and have those presentations translated, um, for you when you're in the room.

And then the same works in reverse. So if you are not a spanish speaker and you'd like to attend the spanish sessions because you think the topic is interesting, you'll have access to that translation service, um, to enable you to understand those presentations as well. So we're trying to make it as accessible as possible for everyone who has different language needs.

Moodle is global, and that's, um, one of the things about being global is that not everybody speaks the same language. So you've got to be able to work around that and offer solutions to, to meet everybody's needs.

Lucy: I love that. I found it really handy last year, just being able to read along. Even if I could hear them speaking and understand it, it's still sometimes the processing time. Yeah, I thought it was really, really great tool. Let's talk about the jam. 

So this year we've got a UX jam, a, uh, developer's dev jam, and the learning designer jam.

What can you tell us about those?

Marie: So jams are really a time to get mucked in. So they're hands-on. They're beyond workshops like they are workshops by definition, but they're beyond that. So if you're in the dev jam, you're actually going to be coding, um, with a bunch of other Moodle developers. If you're in the UX jam, um, we're probably going to facilitate sessions where you get to inform the Moodle product experience, and you might be co-designing an interface or working on a specific workflow.

Um, with our UX designers, if you're learning in the learning design jam, you'll be doing kind of the same thing. Um, but, uh, designing a course using, uh, some of the moodle capabilities and best practices in learning design. So they are really a, uh, great kind of hands on experience, whether it's developing or learning design or ux, where you actually get to put in practice, um, those kind of domains of expertise and use them in real life on moodle with a bunch of other people who are also interested in doing that and also have experience in doing that with you.

Lucy: Let's talk about one of the highlights that everyone seems to love about MoodleMoot global, and that is the party. So everyone seems to always talk about it. And I noticed it's on the Wednesday this time around. So can you tell. Can you tell us anything? Because at this point, we don't know a lot about it, so I'd love to know more.

Marie: Uh, well, right now, a lot of this stuff is a little secret because we want to surprise people. But I can tell you that it will be a fantastic event in a beautiful venue. One of the many reasons why we chose to go to make. Mexico is, um, that they know how to party.

They have amazing party venues, and we can expect anyone at the conference to be there or be square. We usually have a bit of a costume theme, which we'll be announcing soon. We've tried to keep it easy for people. We know that sometimes buying costumes is not the first thing you want to do with your money.

So we've tried to make it easy for people to get their costumes ready for the event. There will be food and drinks, whether alcoholic or not. There will be music, dancing, props, and fun things happening, and it will be a really, really, really great night.

Lucy: Yeah, the party's amazing. I can't wait to hear more details about that. MoodleMoot Global is taking place in Merida, Mexico, which I've mentioned, but it's also on the 22nd to the 24 October. I would love to talk a little bit about Merida and why Merida?

Marie: We've held the global moodle moot in a european region for the last two years and we were really keen to bring the moot, um, as close as possible to all of our different users. And we have a huge amount of users across Latin America, the US and Canada, so in the Americas.

And then our idea was trying to find a location that was kind of central, um, for those people in the american continent, um, and accessible from a, uh, visa, from a finance kind of perspective. And Mexico kind of ticked all of those boxes. So it gives the opportunity for our user base and our partners who are located in those countries to get to a global mood at a cost point that's probably a little bit more palatable than having to fly all the way to Europe, um, and get more of those people.

Give more of those people a chance to attend a MoodleMoot global event, um, and then, um, also we just knew that, um, Mexico is a fantastic place to explore and visit. Merida is noted as the safest city in Mexico. So we knew that trying to go to Merida would give us an opportunity to offer a really lovely experience to people without having to be concerned about security and safety.

Um, and we also looked into the differences between holding something, let's say, in Cancun versus Merida, and beyond the cost differences, because hotels in Cancun are generally a lot more expensive because it's more of a tourist town. The experience in Merida is so much more, um, authentic because that's, you know, it's a real mexican city, and you really get to experience what it's like to be in Mexico without being in a completely touristic kind of destination.

So all of those factors came into play. But really our biggest driver was we wanted to hold a moot in the american continent, give our us, canadian and latin american, south american, central american users and partners a chance to get to a moot that's close to them. And then next year, we'll have to think about it and we might go back to Europe or try something in Asia Pacific.

We'll have to see, but we really want to try and bring Moodle where the people who use it are. And we know that a massive, um, portion of our user base is located on the american continent. And that's why we're going to Mexico.

Lucy: Marie, I'd love to know what you are most excited for.

Oh, um, goodness. I think one of the things I've learned over the last few years, so this will be my third moot, is it really pays to sneak into the presentations, even, you know, as a member of Moodle HQ, I'm often kind of busy in meetings and things like that, but I really try and reserve some time on my calendar to sneak into a couple of presentations and just listen to how the members of our community are using Moodle and some of the impact that it's having on the world.

It always inspires me. It ignites my mind, and it really transforms the way that I think about what I do every day. And so for me, that one moment where I sit in presentation, I didn't expect it, and then all sudden, it changes my worldview. I can't wait to experience that again, because every time I do, I just.

I just love it so much. And it makes me feel like I'm growing and learning, which is fantastic. And then finally, obviously, the concept of connecting with everyone and whether that's, um, people who work with us here at Moodle because, you know, we've got people all around the globe, so we don't always get to see each other, but whether it's them, our community members, our partners, someone I've never met before and probably will never meet again, just that moment to connect with them and learn what they have to teach me about the world and sharing my thoughts and experiences with them, that's what I'm looking forward to the most.

Lucy: Excellent. And do you have any advice for people who are, uh, going to MoodleMoot for the first time, perhaps on their own? And maybe you have some little gems of advice?

Marie: Yeah. Well, firstly, if you're going on your own, don't be scared. The community is super friendly. You don't see people just standing around on their own at a MoodleMoot unless they want to, you know, because it does get a little bit intense, and some people need some quiet time.

So I wouldn't worry about going on your own. If you are thinking about it, um, you will make friends really really quickly. I think, in terms of my advice, have a good study of the program. Make sure that you know where you want to go. Um, and just keep your mind open to different learning experiences.

If you're at some point, you're like, I really don't. You know, none of these are super interesting. Try something, and you never know what you might discover. Um, the program is really rich, and the caliber of presentations is usually really, really high, so you kind of can't go wrong.

Um, but, yeah, my advice is take the time to study the program, decide where you want to go, and if you are finding yourself there, kind of not knowing if you can go up and talk to somebody, do it. They'll be expecting you to, and they'll be welcoming to.

Do make the time to go and talk to the people who have booths at the, at the mood. So the sponsors for the events. And I say that because I always find that I learn a lot when I meet with all of the different people and they're often different.

So it's not always the same people year on year. Some of them are, but, um, you do get new people who provide different solutions and different ways to use moodle in a really interesting way. So that's another thing that you can do. And that's also really practical in terms of if you're by yourself and you don't really know what to do, if you go talk to the people at the booths, um, they're always there wanting to talk to people.

That's why they're there. And you can have some really nice conversations with all of them as well. The event is going to be, um, held in, uh, the congress center in Merida. So it's a really big venue, um, purpose built for conferences. So you should expect some really nice facilities, um, good space to attend the presentations, um, strong audiovisual, so you'll be able to hear and see all of the presenters really well.

Um, but also bring your extendable pants, um, because we feed people a lot at these MoodleMoots. You get morning tea, you get lunch, you get afternoon tea. And then we do some networking drinks every evening, uh, on the three days of the event. So there's always been nibbles there as well.

And at the party we'll feed you as well. So, yes, definitely bring your expendable pants because, um, it is a good time and you get well catered to at, uh, a MoodleMoot event. And then, um, finally, I think, just know that the venue is really central within Merida.

So most of the hotels are located really, really close. Um, so finding a place to stay should be super easy. And getting around town is really easy as well. Um, getting in and out of Merida depends on where you're coming from. But I know that if you're coming from Europe, there's heaps of flights that go from wherever you might be to Mexico City and then to Merida.

If you're coming from the states, there's heaps of flights that come from Dallas and Houston directly into Merida. And then there's a whole bunch of other options, um, that land in Cancun as well. And the trip between Cancun and Merida is a pretty simple one. There's a public bus that takes a bit longer, but if you're a little bit of a group, you can get a little van, and two and a half hours later you're in Merida.

So, yeah, really, from a venue perspective, you, um, will be really, really well looked after in Merida. Um, and your tummies will probably not. Thank you, uh, for the catering that we will have at the event.

Lucy: Thank you so much for listening. That marks the end of this episode. But be sure to register for MoodleMoot Global by visiting by the 13th August to benefit from early bird registration rates. We look forward to seeing you there. Bye for now.