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21 August 2022


Building a long-term relationship on the foundations of an LMS that meets the exacting technical needs of Goethe-Institut and helps its online learning programmes to flourish.

A shared culture of innovation

Goethe-Institut is a not-for-profit German cultural association that promotes the study of the German language abroad via its institutes in 159 locations around the world, from Abidjan to Zagreb.

When we started working with Goethe-Institut in 2013, it was looking for a Moodle Partner that would match its commitment to innovative uses of the Moodle LMS platform.

At the time it was using Moodle to host external learning content created by third-party providers. It wanted to take greater control over the course in order to deliver the language learning experiences it wanted for its learners.

We were tasked with:

  • Carrying out all UX design work to give Goethe-Institut the look and feel it wanted for its language learning LMS
  • Working with Goethe-Institut to develop a new and unique suite of online language courses
  • Customising the Moodle LMS to give Goethe-Institut the features and functionality it wanted to achieve these things

Ever-increasing proficiency

Initially, we partnered with Goethe-Institut to manage the overhaul and relaunch of its Moodle LMS. This involved working together to create new courses and learning content at every level of German language learning.

We undertook all of the user experience and development work needed, including creating new learning activity types, new course formats and a new LMS theme, as well as improving user provisioning by making it easier for learners to sign-up to improve their German. 

This process was expanded over time to incorporate many custom features, including an array of new question types and adaptive tests, which determine language proficiency by selecting the next question from a bank of hundreds of questions of varying degree of difficulty based on how the learner performed on the previous question.

We also developed several sub-sites to support Goethe-Institut’s learning initiatives, such as the Kinderuni site, which teaches German to children. All of the sites use a single installation and shared codebase in order to remove duplication, minimise costs and increase efficiency for Goethe Institut.

Over the course of around a decade of working with Goethe-Institut, we have developed hundreds of customisations to help it to achieve the learning outcomes it wanted for those learning German via its institutes. This has required not only our technical online learning expertise, but also the cooperation and communication skills needed to sustain any working relationship over that period of time.

Surging from 14,000 to 12 million LMS visits per year 

Given the comprehensive nature of the language learning LMS we developed in comparison with the previous version, it is perhaps no surprise that learner engagement has been on a consistent upward trajectory throughout our time working with Goethe-Institut. 

The Moodle LMS site had attracted 29,000 page impressions in the year before we started working with Goethe-Institut. In the year after we overhauled the LMS, that figure immediately jumped to 18 million and by 2021 had reached a hugely impressive 263 million page impressions.

The LMS now has more than 80,000 courses, of which around 25,000 are used on an almost daily basis. We are now helping Goethe-Institut work towards a major upgrade of its Moodle LMS platform, evaluating and streamlining customisations, improving user experiences across the board, and finding innovative ways to promote and teach the German language.

“We need a Moodle Partner that understands how we operate. Synergy Learning has always given us the feeling that anything is possible; that their development team will always find the best way to achieve what we need.”

Stefan Münchow | Expert for Digital Learning



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