In this article, we will be reviewing a relatively newer and less explored theme in the Moodle ecosystem – The New Learning theme. This is a new Moodle theme developed by marbol2, available on Themeforest.
Themeforest offers several popular Moodle themes – Klassroom, Edumy, Space, Alpha – and now, New Learning has been added to the list.
New Learning is a 100 percent responsive, premium Moodle theme targeted to achieve a visually enhanced Moodle LMS. With easy-to-use layouts and theme customization options, New Learning is a clean theme with many good features. Let’s look at both sides of the coin.
Here’s our take on the theme
New Learning Moodle Theme Review
For a great, consistent learner experience, a good Moodle theme is crucial. Apart from enhancing the look and feel of your LMS, it even works to improve the overall functionality.
Here are some pointers that will help you evaluate Moodle themes better. This will assist you in choosing the right theme for Moodle, entirely aligned with your LMS needs.
#1 Theme Layout
New Learning provides layout options that give you enough flexibility to switch the layout as per your choice. The theme has two options – Full Width (default) and Boxed Layout.
With this theme, you can create diverse yet simplified course structures. New Learning has multiple course formats such as Grid, Button, Collapsed Topic format, etc – to make the course experience much smoother and productive for students.
There’s more control when it comes to creating and placing sidebars. The layout settings section allows you to position or reposition, set, show/hide sidebars to minimize distractions.
Full-Width Layout (Default):
While New Learning offers a fresh experience, the layout is not dynamic as the theme is superficially built upon the core Moodle features and functionality. Giving a full-fledged personal touch to your e-learning initiative is hard to achieve as there is no provision for personalizing the dashboard, course analytics or customizing the footer.
There’s a constraint on making interactive and fun content as there is no support for H5P as well as emojis.
#2 Ease of Use
New Learning is super-easy to use and works right out of the box. Its functionality is wrapped up in easy-to-use configuration panels with a simple interface. Also, it has a powerful drag-and-drop front page builder to build a well-designed, attractive home page.
The navigation is effortless as the custom bookmarks can be used to add/edit shortcuts to the most used pages making it easier for teachers and students to navigate to the most important pages.
Finding interesting and targeted courses is easy through the A-Z index custom plugin. No coding effort is required as it has an easy-to-use code generator for adding different bootstrap elements without coding effort.
The theme can run on an offline server. For instance, you have your Moodle LMS running on an offline server that only has internet access for verification and update purposes, you could still easily use this theme to improve your LMS layout and design.
New Learning comes with a great interface but building an exhaustive, advanced course structure could be a trouble spot. Reason – It does not have a custom course dashboard.
Moreover, the theme is a little too simple and superficial. The core features and functionality largely belongs to Moodle, only the visual learning process is enhanced with this theme.
The Grid format can be improved as it does not show useful information such as when clicked on, opens the section and lists its resources. Other information such as students enrolled, students who have completed the course, in progress etc.
# 3 Theme Customization
New Learning offers decent customization options. You can build the desired front page for your Moodle LMS tailor-made as per your needs and choices with the front-page builder that can be easily used via the drag and drop functionality.
Further, it allows you to achieve a more engaging learning experience through video-based learning via YouTube or Vimeo web videos and more.
A robust design Moodle LMS can be created with various shortcodes for adding accordions, buttons, box content, box image, slider carousel.
Since it’s Bootstrap 4 compatible and also has a customizable login page. New Learning is a good theme to leverage the overall visual learning process and help with effective branding.. Further, it offers enough colors in the palette to impart a personal touch to your brand.
It scores well on the customization front as the theme supports seamless color, font customization and addition of custom CSS.
There’s an easy and fuss-free process for embedding videos for making learning enjoyable and interactive learning is a plus. You can use the below elements:
‘Video’ element of the front-page builder allows you to upload only web videos (Vimeo and YouTube)
‘Code’ element can be used to upload the custom video to Moodle and embed this video in ‘code’ element
Student tracking and management are simpler as you can set default dashboard pages for students with their courses and results (ALREADY IN MOODLE). In addition to this, the theme supports the creation of custom students/teacher dashboards in a modal window with quick links to the most used pages.
Although New Learning is a good theme, it takes a little more knowledge and understanding of Moodle when it comes to customization.
Another con is that the page builder only works on the front page. In order to add other additional pages to your Moodle LMS, you will have to add them to the front page without the page builder using shortcodes or static text. This is an extra task and could be difficult for those who lack technical knowledge.
The theme does not come equipped with a course dashboard with custom blocks serving different purposes. It is great to create a visually appealing, decent course structure but not suitable for creating a dynamic course structure.
#4 New Learning Theme Support and Pricing
Course content and instructions can be created in a wide range of languages as it supports multilingual websites in both LTR and RTL languages. New Learning provides a good and active support service on ThemeForest.
The creator of the theme is active and receptive to new developments and feedback. The support team is patient with novices out there and helps resolve issues with detailed explanations.
The regular license for the New Learning theme costs $79 USD with 6 months of support. This is great as it even covers quality checks by Envato and future updates. You can extend the support service to 12 months with an additional payment of $ 25.88.
The support is really high-quality as it provides interaction with the author of the theme, regular Q&A for your questions, issues and bugs reported etc. The extended license is worth $3000.
The extensive documentation and video tutorials come in handy to guide the users in technical aspects.
However, New Learning lacks a dedicated website or knowledge base. The support does not include installation and customization assistance. The cost of the extended license ($3000) seems to be on the higher side but maybe worth it, given high-quality support.
As far as demo content is concerned, there is no demo content in Moodle, unlike WordPress and Joomla. This is due to the size of the database that Moodle requires. Therefore, there is no feature of installing demo content.
Also, different users use different versions of Moodle and the upgrading process is not as easy as it would be in any other content management systems.
Here are some key points to summarize:
What’s good about New Learning:
Flexible, easy-to-use theme and works right out of the box
Nice design with a good scope of customization
Multiple layout alternatives and course formats supported
Multi-language support – both LTR and RTL languages
Versatile payment options as PayPal enrollment supported for every course
Things to watch out for
Not a dynamic theme as only the visual learning process is enhanced
The page builder only works on the front page
The theme lacks a custom course dashboard with custom blocks serving different purposes
The extended license is on the expensive side
Customization requires a little technical knowledge
Who is this theme for
Potential customers could be – Moodle teachers looking to make their LMS attractive
Moodle admins wanting a simple theme with minimum customization options
A getting-started theme for personal training websites
All in all, New Learning is a decent theme offering a prompt and reliable support service, if you’re looking for something lightweight that makes your Moodle LMS attractive and professional-looking at the same time.
You could opt for this theme if drastically changing your Moodle LMS is not your aim. This could be a good theme for you to try out, for its limited functionality and modest customization features.
We would love to hear what you think. Let us know in the comments section below.
Kiran is a thrill-seeking horror movie fan. She loves experimenting with food and learning new languages in her leisure time.