Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moodle localization: to enrol or to enroll?

Ever wondered how would language localization affect a Moodle powered online educational site with more than 38,000 active users?

Moodle Trivia

We all know Moodle—the FLOSS CMS/LMS (a.k.a. e-learning software platform)—was first baked all the way in Australia. And you could see that Moodle was Australian at heart long before it grew to be the large international community that it is today.

One of these Australian fingerprints is the language it chooses to speak… err… spell.
The language pack installed and used by default by Moodle is English (en) and it prefers the British English spelling over the American English one.

Going international

No big deal, you might say. Well, the numbers can decide, so let's take a specific example:

Big Data University—the online educational site about big data—has more than 38,000 users (at the time of writing). Registering, they follow free big data-related courses on subjects from Hadoop Fundamentals to Streams Computing or to Text Analytics.
Quite the vibrant, diverse community, and it's all powered by Moodle.

enrol - British English

One detail worth noting: more than 1 out of 4 users are from US. Now imagine the number of users that were eager to enroll in a course, only to find enrolment options… and how many emails reporting the enrol vs. enroll "misspelling" we got so far.

And this is not an isolated case. The Moodle forums are proof of how many users asked for an elegant way to change this spelling. This question is so popular, it even made it to the Moodle FAQ.

The elegant way to change enrol to enroll

The elegant solution is to change the default language pack used by Moodle:

  1. Install the English - United States (en_us) language pack in
    Settings » Site administration » Language » Language packs.
  2. Set the new language pack as the default language for the site via
    Settings » Site administration » Language » Language settings.

    Moodle: changing your preferred language
    Note that this change will only affect the new accounts, while existing users will retain their language setting. If they want to use American English, they can change it in
    Settings » My profile settings » Edit profile » Preferred language
  3. …and it works!
    enroll - American English

Sometimes it's the small details that will make your users happy.


  1. Hey nice way of sharing about it. Keep Sharing... Thanks!

  2. I think there was a need to have the Moodle to other countries too and in this term this change was required. Looking at the usage of Moodle it seems that one day it will be available in all languages.

  3. Now think about the variety of customers that were desperate to join a course, only to discover enrolment options.

  4. Moodle is always a best choice in this conditions, it provides a versatile atmosphere for ongoing enhancement and development, this implies we can form Moodle according to the modifying atmosphere.