The SVHS Learning Management System - Silicon Valley High School

The backbone of our education technology platform is Moodle, an open source learning management system.  More accurately, you will see that we built our own learning management system using source code from the Moodle community.

A learning management system (LMS) is a software platform that enables organizations to create, manage, and deliver online courses and training programs. Some common functions of an LMS include:

  1. Course creation and management: It allows instructors to create and organize course content, including text, videos, and assessments.
  2. Student registration and enrollment: It can manage student registration and enrollment in courses, including tracking enrollment, managing waitlists, and handling payment for courses.
  3. Communication and collaboration: It can provide tools for instructors and students to communicate and collaborate with each other, such as forums, messaging, and group work.
  4. Assessments and grading: It can provide tools for instructors to create and grade assessments, such as quizzes and exams. It can also provide tools for students to submit assignments and projects.
  5. Progress tracking: It can track student progress through a course, including the completion of assignments and assessments.
  6. Reporting and analytics: It can provide data and analytics on student performance, engagement, and other metrics to help instructors understand how students are progressing and identify areas for improvement.

Overall, an LMS can support the delivery and management of online learning programs and courses, and provide tools and resources for instructors and students to interact and engage with course content.

Beyond Moodle, there are many different LMSs on the market, each with its own unique features and capabilities:


  • Offers a wide range of features, including course management, assignment management, gradebook, discussion forums, and mobile app support.
  • Provides robust analytics and reporting tools for tracking student progress and engagement.
  • Integrates with a variety of third-party applications and tools, such as Google Drive, Turnitin, and Proctorio.


  • Provides a range of course management and collaboration tools, including discussion forums, wikis, blogs, and collaborative writing tools.
  • Offers a variety of assessment and evaluation tools, including tests, quizzes, and grading tools.
  • Supports mobile learning through its Blackboard app.


  • Provides a range of course management and collaboration tools, including discussion forums, wikis, and assignment submission.
  • Offers a variety of assessment and evaluation tools, including quizzes, assignments, and grading tools.
  • Supports mobile learning through its Schoology app.

Instructure (Canvas):

  • Provides a range of course management and collaboration tools, including discussion forums, wikis, and assignment submission.
  • Offers a variety of assessment and evaluation tools, including quizzes, assignments, and grading tools.
  • Supports mobile learning through its Canvas app.
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According to Fortune Business Insights, the global Learning Management System (LMS) Market Size is projected to hit USD 40.95 Billion in 2029, at compound annual growth rate of 14.2% during the forecast period 2022-2029.  The statistics for Moodle adoption are enormous. There have been more than 2 billion Moodle course enrollments, from more than 350 million students in more than 166,000 implementations in more than 240 countries in more than 100 languages. With more than 33,000 students, the Silicon Valley High School LMS, built on Moodle, is one of the largest implementations in the world, but is not yet the largest.  Institutions like San Francisco State University and the Open University in the UK have more than 100,000 students.

Moodle was created by Martin Dougiamas in 2002 as a way to help educators create online course materials and facilitate online learning. The name “Moodle” is an acronym for “Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.”

Moodle was initially developed as a platform for distance education, but it has since evolved to be used in a variety of educational settings, including traditional classrooms, K-12 schools, and universities. Because it is full-featured, open source and runs on the LAMP stack, Moodle was the best choice for us here at Silicon Valley High School.

Moodle is packed with features but can be enhanced and customized with plug-ins.  There are a wide variety of plugins available, ranging from simple enhancements to complex features. Some examples of the types of plugins that are available include:

  1. Activity modules: These plugins add new types of activities that teachers can use in their courses, such as forums, wikis, and quizzes.
  2. Blocks: These plugins add new blocks of content that can be displayed on the course page or other pages within Moodle.
  3. Filters: These plugins modify the way that text is displayed within Moodle, such as by adding links or formatting text.
  4. Local plugins: These plugins are specific to a particular Moodle installation and are not distributed through the Moodle plugin directory.
  5. Reports: These plugins add new reports that allow teachers and administrators to track student progress and activity within Moodle.
  6. Themes: These plugins modify the appearance of Moodle, including the layout and styling of pages.

You can browse the Moodle plugin directory to see a list of all the available plugins and find ones that are suitable for your needs. There are hundreds of plugins available for Moodle, and new ones are being developed all the time.

The Moodle developer community is a group of individuals and organizations who contribute to the development and maintenance of Moodle, an open source learning management system. This community includes developers who create plugins, themes, and other extensions for Moodle, as well as those who contribute code to the core Moodle software.

The Moodle developer community is made up of a diverse group of people from around the world, including educators, students, programmers, and IT professionals. The community is organized through forums, mailing lists, and online collaboration tools, such as GitHub.

One of the main goals of the Moodle developer community is to create a high-quality learning platform that is flexible, reliable, and easy to use. The community works together to identify and address issues with the software, as well as to develop new features and capabilities.

In addition to contributing to the development of Moodle, the developer community also provides support and resources to users of the platform, including documentation, tutorials, and forums for discussing best practices and troubleshooting issues.

Moodle is not really suited to IT novices. To run Moodle properly, you need a team of capable IT specialists and software engineers. This was a perfect fit for us here at SVHS.

Although Moodle provides an industrial-strength and capable learning management system platform, it doesn’t provide us with all the features we need to service thousands of students and schools across the US. So, as you will see in upcoming blog postings, since 2013, our team of software engineers have been hard at work building our software framework on top of the Moodle platform. As we have access to the Moodle source code, we can make modifications and integrate proprietary new features that go beyond implementing plug-ins from third party developers.  From purchase order management systems to content management systems and student information systems, in the upcoming blog posts you will see that we’ve built some sophisticated capabilities to automate tasks and improve the efficiency of our course publishing and online school operation.

By David Smith, Founder & CEO of Silicon Valley High School

David Smith

A former Apple World Marketing Manager, David has more than 30 years’ experience of founding and managing technology startups. He holds a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law, Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Westminster and a BS (Honors) Computer Science and Economics from the University of Leeds. In the 1990’s David founded and acted as CEO for SurfMonkey, the leading web browser and Internet safety service for children. David has authored several books on business and intellectual property and is recognized by IAM magazine as one of the world’s leading intellectual property strategists.