Lesson module/Draft2

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Lesson module/Draft2.

Lesson icon.gif The lesson module presents a series of HTML like pages to the student. Under the content area, the student is asked to make a choice or selection. This action will send them to another page in the Lesson. The Lesson module was designed to be adaptive and to use a student's choices to create a self directed lesson.

The student will see two types of pages: question pages and branch table pages. There are also hidden navigational pages for the teacher to use that will create some special effects. The teacher can also score and give a custom response for any answer.

Overview of the lesson activity

For a student, a lesson is a series of interactive pages that require a choice on their part before the next page appears. They look at content (which the teacher creates with the HTML editor, and then answer a question or select a labeled button. This action triggers a jump (link) to another page.

Sometimes the student will only be given the choice to "continue" without any comment from the teacher about their selection. The lesson can be scored with the use of questions for a grade, or used simply as a resource of non-graded pages or a combination of both.

Teachers can be very creative with their use of jumps. An answer might send the student back to a previous page, so the student repeats part of the lesson before they are asked the same question again. The teacher can use the more advanced navigation pages. Placing one of these hidden pages can cause the lesson to jump to a random page out of a series of pages.

As in creating any block of instruction, it is a good idea to start with a simple navigation plan and then build upon it. In a more traditional lesson, you might outline or storyboard the question and branch table pages. Then consider the adaptive points and what (page or response) needs to be added for some or all of the students. One of the last things to add will be the special navigational pages.

Pages with choices

The student sees choice pages called "Branch Tables" or Question pages.

  • Branch tables deliver content and can provide links (called jumps) to one or more other pages in the lesson.
  • Question page can do the same but also can give an individual response and an individual score for each student's answer.

The Lesson activity uses the standard Moodle HTML editor tool to make any page's content interesting.

Question pages

Question type tabs.GIF

Here are the basic Lesson questions. They are similar to Quiz questions in form but have different functions. Lesson questions are adaptive due to the jumps that are associated with every choice. All questions are automatically scored, except the Essay question.

  • Multiple choice - Has several answers listed, student picks one for credit.
  • Multianswer - Has several answers listed, student picks one or more for credit..
  • True-False - Has two answers.
  • Short Answer - A phrase answer is progressively evaluated by strings
  • Numeric - A number answer is progressively evaluated
  • Essay - The student submits and the teacher evaluates.

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Branch tables

Branch tables are similar to a multiple choice question page, but they are not scored and there is no response. A Branch table can present content and also offer labeled button links to other pages in the lesson.

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Navigation tools

Jumps are easy to make links

Jumps are the primary tool the teacher will use to determine a student's navigation through the lesson. For example, each different answer to a question, might send the student to a different page. Jumps have a pull down menu with pages to select.

There are two types of jumps, relative and absolute. "Next page" and "This page" are the two most common relative pages. Each lesson page's title also shows up on the pulldown menu.

The use of jumps creates the adaptive nature of a lesson. This can be simple or it can be complex.

Navigation pages

Navigation pages are only seen by the teacher but will effect the order of the pages the student views. For example, a cluster is a series of pages bracketed by a navigational pages called a "start cluster" and a "end of cluster" page. Navigation pages are an advanced feature and are best added after the teacher has laid out their lesson with the pages that will be seen by the student.


Moodlers also use the word "branch" to describe a series of pages.

  • A simple branch is like a chapter, a series of pages that is defined more by form and use than by any function. For example, a Branch table at the start of a lesson might have buttons that jump to a page in the lesson that the teacher thinks of a the start of a "branch" or chapter.
  • The classic branch contains advanced navigational functions. It introduces random movement within a series of pages that the teacher determines.

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Scoring and grading a lesson

A students answers to questions can be graded. The lesson scores and grades can be viewed on the "Reports" tab in edit mode and become part of the gradebook. A relatively simple formula is used to score the lesson. It is the number of correct answers divided by the number of question pages seen. This number score can be use by the grade scale.

The report tab provides both an overview of each student's attempt of a lesson, and a detailed summary of the class's answers to each question. It is also possible to see the same report via gradebook in the course administration block.

Allowing a student to re take a lesson is the default lesson setting under grade options. Each attempt at a lesson is normally recorded and the student can see a record of their performance by viewing their activity page.


There are two basic editing views for the teacher: collapsed and expanded. Both allow the teacher to preview, edit, delete and add pages. The expanded view initially shows more information about each page.

Some useful terms. The teacher sees the pages in what is called the edit order when they edit a lesson. The students see the lesson pages in the navigation order, which can also be seen by the teacher in preview mode. Most of the time we will be talking about the edit order from the teacher's perspective, rather than navigation order of the student.

Tips and Tricks

Building lessons NEEDS WORK

  • One lesson might present the same pages in the same order to every student. Another lesson could vary both the number of pages and their order depending upon how a student answers each question. Thus Lesson can deliver content in interesting and flexible ways to each student, with no direct or time sensitive action required by the teacher once the lesson has been created.
Think some of this is important. Just to give some clues about how a Lesson might fit into the teachers plan for the class. Adding content to the first page so things can move around is .... not about building a lesson.
  • As with any classroom lesson, it is a good idea to have a plan before starting the presentation. Simple lessons that basically go from the start to the end in a straight line path, one page after the other, can be created from an outline. More complicated lessons require more planning. The good news is that a teacher can create a simple lesson and then based upon feedback and performance, can add refinements or complexity.

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Completely random Lesson

There are several ways to present all the lesson in a random order by changing some lesson setting in Flow Control. The teacher can flash random unseen or unanswered pages for the student, showing them one or more pages at a time. Or the teacher can turn the Lesson into a slide show, which will hide any question page.

  • Moodle also has a standalone [Flash card module]

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Dependency or conditions

A teacher can make a dependent on taking another lesson. This feature was added in 1.9 and can be found in Lesson settings. There are 3 criterion to select: time spent, completed or receive a better than grade one specific lesson. Any combination of the conditions can be used.

Advanced topics

  • More advanced Moodlers can figure out how to place HTML links on a lesson page. Thus it is possible to create a link to another lesson or activity, a lesson or activity in another course, or even to a specific page in a lesson. While this method can be useful, the student may not be able to find their way back to the page with the link.

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See also