Good Practice

Create Branching Scenarios with Assessment using Moodle Lesson

Challenge

More and more often, instructors are choosing to provide at least some content online, with the intention that students will review the content outside of class, and come to class prepared to discuss or apply that content to promote active learning. There are times when it is useful to allow the students some choice in their pathways through the content, and beneficial to include some assessment as part of the activity.

Solutions

The Moodle Lesson activity provides a navigable, multipage, multimedia web resource within a Moodle course site. In Lessons, the instructor can create a tailored path for students to follow, or allow them to choose a path that adapts to their individual learning needs, or branching scenarios. The ability to create branching scenarios that incorporate assessment is the real strength of the Moodle Lesson.

Features of Moodle Lessons

Lessons consist of content pages and question pages. On each content page, in addition to information, the instructor provides one or more options to advance to another page. These options can be as simple as "Continue" or "Forward," which takes one to the next page, and "Previous" or "Back," which allows one to revisit the previous page. Or, the page can be constructed to offer a number of different options, which the user can choose based on interest or need (a branching model). For example, an option on a content page might offer a deeper dive into the material or an opportunity to review foundational material.

Question pages may contain information but always present a question. Depending on the student's response, the instructor may provide tailored feedback, and even jump the student to a specific page (e.g., for review, further practice, or the next topic). A Lesson can be graded on the basis of student responses, or ungraded and used as a self-learning or self-assessment tool.

The Lesson FlowViewer provides an overview of all pages and their links, which may help with troubleshooting during Lesson construction.

Uses of Moodle Lessons

  • Self-directed learning and self-assessment
  • Differentiated exploration of course material—students can progress from beginning to more advanced materials
  • Practice for dangerous or potentially life-threatening situations via decision-making simulations
  • A check for comprehension or completion

Limitations of Moodle Lessons

  • The Lesson tool is complex and has a bit of a learning curve.
  • There are fewer question types available in the Lesson activity than in Quizzes, and the Lesson question bank is separate from the Quiz question banks.
  • There is no tracking of user responses or paths through the content and no indication for the user of which pages have been visited previously.
  • Some users find pages with lots of buttons or options distracting.

Tip

Diagram your complete lesson—all content pages, question pages, and links—before you start building the actual Lesson. (Post-its on a whiteboard work well, it is easy to rearrange or redraw lines.) Then, work backwards from the end as much as possible. This will save a lot of backtracking as you create links among pages.

Example 

Below are screenshots of a branching scenario created in Moodle by Rebecca Montgomery, Department of Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Content Pages

screenshot of a branching scenario content page created with Moodle Lesson

screenshot of a branching scenario content page created with Moodle Lesson

Example Question Page

screenshot of a branching scenario question page created with Moodle Lesson

Lesson Flow Viewer

lesson flow viewer of a branching scenario created with Moodle Lesson