“Free does not mean best” has probably been a never-concluding argument in group discussions, forums, social media comments and competitive debates around the world.
Is there an answer to it – maybe not.
But a middle-ground can certainly be found between free themes and premium themes made for Moodle. There are free themes with undeniably great features and there are premium themes with a reputation for never showing up for support.
This is why we came up with a list of leading themes for Moodle which are purely assessed on their quality, performance and user reviews. Free or premium, what matters more is whether a theme stands true to its expectations and transforms Moodle’s UI for the user.
Premium as themes can be, Edwiser RemUI checks every box when you think of all the features a good theme must have.
Be it simplicity, software support or frequent updates- Edwiser RemUI is constantly evolving and stepping up its standard.
A dynamic, user-centric dashboard-
The first thing that appears on a learner’s screen is the dashboard and Edwiser RemUI has utilized it really well. It shows the courses that the student has enrolled in, shows an updated bar of course progress, course image and any notifications of incomplete activities that need attention.
One look at the dashboard and you will know right away that Edwiser RemUI has nailed the purpose of improving Moodle’s user interface.
Minimalistic Course Page-
With Edwiser RemUI, you get a clutter-free and clean course page. You can sift through the various course activities with ease and plan your course accordingly.
It has a course summary block on top with space for a cover image which gives a relatable look and feels to the course, like a real textbook would.
The icons are simple and stylish, the layout is modern and the overall appearance is very organized and neat.
Edwiser RemUI has re-thought Moodle UX from scratch. Your Moodle will look completely different from the way you know Moodle. Check out their sleek calendar, their color customization options and collapsible sidebars that give you plenty of white space to learn.
Adaptable is a favorite among Moodle users who love their freedom to customize the appearance of their website.
True to its name, Adaptable lets you choose every element – from font style and colors to icons and buttons. The blocks can be toggled as and when you want, their positions can be changed as needed.
It’s a responsive, two-column theme upgraded from the theme BCU (which is now discontinued) used for its campus.
A news ticker!
Yes, they have their very own news ticker which is displayed across every user’s screen enrolled in the program. Sharing news campus-wide or company-wide like exam date change, new features on the site or introducing a new course becomes easy with the customizable news ticker.
The level of marketability that Adaptable provides is unbeaten by any other theme. Be it a footer, side pop-ups, header banners, alerts, reminders, they’ve got it all!
Lambda is one of the classiest and modern themes built for Moodle. Priced just right, it offers funky drag and drop customizations and slideshow settings to display images on the front page.
Like Edwiser RemUI, Lambda provides hundreds of color choices for the theme. But they have an added functionality – they can pick a color from images and also apply different colors to different blocks.
Different Course format settings
Lambda has a unique feature where you can use various course formats to view courses. You can choose each to see how exactly you want your courses to appear on the course page.
100 Built-in Language Packs
Lambda theme for Moodle supports almost 100 different language packs that are built in! It’s a multi-language content filter that enables resources to be created in different languages.
As cool as the multi-language support sounds, its smart too! Lambda has “Restriction by Language” filter which allows resources and activities to be different for students using different languages. This job is done by a plugin that goes by the same name, ‘Restriction by Language’. This plugin makes it easy to show an “English resource only to English users and an activity in French only to French-speaking students”
“I can’t really choose my one main reason for rating this theme 5/5. There are several reasons: customisability, features, excellent support, exhaustive documentation, etc. Highly recommended!”
An extension of the core theme, Boost, and compatible with Moodle 3.5, Fordson for Moodle is a force to reckon with. It boasts of premium level organizability, headstrong branding and subtle, minimally invasive marketing opportunities.
The team at Fordson is driven by the experiences and feedback from people who use the theme first hand. Their aim is to improve and include features which make teachers and students be involved in eLearning seamlessly.
Fordson focuses on cleverly using all the screen elements like icons, buttons, font style, color, animations, transitions to make the learning process a lot easy than Moodle makes it.
The re-imagined Course Management Panel
Fordson bags all the goodie points with this ‘one-click’ feature. It’s a single, shortcut button on the toolbar which opens a window (literally) of settings for the teacher.
You can easily manage and edit settings of the learning platform, regardless of the page you are on.
A quick-access Course Progress report
Handy as the top navigation bar is, Fordson gives another interesting feature for its users – the course progress reporting dashboard.
It shows course-wise progress for every individual learner and shows how many activities have not been completed yet. Likewise, it displays their current grades and details to contact the respective professor if they have queries of any kind.
Fordson has come up with a plugin “Easy Enrolment” that reduces enrolling time to a few seconds! Students need only enter a unique six-digit code (much like the OTP system) to be directly joined with the course they’re enrolled in. That’s not all – to break it down for young kids, “Easy Enrolment” lets them wave a paper while the webcam scans the QR code printed on it.
Academi, while being simplistic at the core is also intuitively designed for learners.
It’s clean, crisp and clutter-free!
Academi backs promotional activities on the very first page using an image slider. These image sliders can also be given a text description and title to maximize the space for promotional content.
The Course Content sidebar
While going through a course the course content navigation bar on the left-hand side makes a handy guide for the course. You can scroll through it and choose which topics need attention and which topics you have already covered.
It’s collapsible! So when you’re done browsing the course content you can just close the bar with a click on the big ‘cross’ in the upper left corner.
The ‘Latest Announcements’ block on the right never lets you miss out on important campus news. Teachers and admins can use this block effectively to make announcements that are relevant and urgent.
‘Upcoming Events’ has a link straight to the calendar where you can keep a track of all the events you’re part of in the near future.
The ‘Recent Activity’ block for teachers is a convenient shortcut to manage how active learners have been on the course. It also works as a record book- you can even filter the activities based on dates, groups and the order of courses.
Universities have more to benefit from this theme than corporates because of the way Academi has been designed.
Moodle themes range from minimal to fully-loaded. But the price you pay for a theme isn’t only for its features. You have to consider the support, documentation, quality, and developer assistance you get, along with the purchase. The experience a theme brings to your Moodle platform and to your learners is of prime importance. So consider a theme that impacts learning in a positive way.
A theme for your Moodle website is an investment. Make sure it’s a good one!