Conditional activities

Revision as of 23:32, 14 December 2009 by Martin Olmos (talk | contribs) (Enabling the use of conditional activities)

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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: Conditional activities.

Moodle 2.0


Conditional activities is a new standard feature in Moodle 2.0 onwards, which enables teachers to restrict the availability of any activity according to certain conditions such as dates, grade obtained, or activity completion. Each activity can also have conditions which need to be met before it is considered complete.

Please see the following demonstration videos:

TIP: Previous users of activity locking or conditional activities should note there are some new terms in 2.0. The activity setting menu uses "Restrict availability", which is more robust than the previous activity locking conditions. The activity setting menu also has a new functionality called "Activity completion". Both these menu settings must be enabled by the administrator.

Enabling the use of conditional activities

Teacher view of an activity setting for: Restrict availability and activity completion

To use conditional activities, the feature must be enabled by an administrator by checking the enable availability box in Administration > Advanced features. A Restrict availability section will appear for teachers on the edit activity page.

The basic conditional setting is in the Restrict availability area of an activity setting. It is asking for the conditions when the activity should be visible. This can be based upon dates, and/or score ranges of other activities and/or if other activities are considered completed (see completion tracking below).

Enabling the use of activity completion tracking

To use completion tracking, the feature must be enabled by an administrator by checking the enable completion box in Administration > Advanced features. An Activity completion section will appear for teachers on the edit activity page.

Essentially this asks the teacher what is necessary for this activity to be considered complete. It is found in the activity setting's "Activity completion" This condition can then be checked in the restrict condition area in another activity setting (see restrict availability condition above).

Tricks and techniques

With a bit of lateral thinking, you can achieve some interesting results beyond the most obvious uses of the system. Here are some examples.

Project allocation

Imagine that you let students choose one of two projects. Each project has its own activities (a forum for all the people doing that project, resources with information about the project, etc). You want it to hide all the activities that a student isn't doing.

This can already be achieved in Moodle using the Groupings system. However, conditional activities gives another way to set this up which might be preferable in some cases. Here's how:

  1. Create two forums called 'Frog project sign-up forum' and 'Zombie project sign-up forum'.
  2. Set both forums to be automatically marked complete once the user makes 1 post.
  3. Set each forum to be conditionally available only if the other forum is NOT complete.
  4. Create other activities for the frog and zombie projects. For each Frog activity, set it to be conditionally available only if the Frog sign-up forum is marked complete. For each Zombie activity, set it to be conditionally available only if the Zombie sign-up forum is marked complete.

When a student first visits the site, they see the frog and zombie sign-up forums and none of the project activities. As soon as they post in one of the forums, the other forum will disappear, and all the activities for their preferred project will appear. (If they want to change their mind, they can delete their forum post so that it isn't marked complete any more, and it'll be back to square one.)

Discussion: Should you really use conditional activities?

Conditional activities are a way for you to force your students to do things in a certain order. Is that really what you want? The answer will depend on your particular circumstances, but it is worth taking a moment to reflect upon the degree to which conditional activities are appropriate for your course.

Cautions

It is certainly good course design to make it clear to your students what they are expected to do next, to give good guidance. But do you need to use force? Might it not be better to leave students in control of their own learning and just use labels and layout, rather than locks and keys to suggest the best path?

New adaptive learning paths

This may allow the teacher to separate students by a range of performance they have achieved. For example, after a quiz any one of three different lessons might appear to a student, depending upon their score. The teacher can have one for low scores, one for high scores and one for average score ranges. The teacher could have a short quiz like survey, with 7 questions asking the student to give their feelings on a 1 to 5 scale. A range of scores would reveal different activities. Students who liked dark colors might get the black and gray activities revealed, those who liked light colors might get the white and gray activities.

On the other hand, you may have to design a certified training course that requires approval from unenlightened government regulators. Conditional activities will assure them that the trainees have been exposed to everything in the course, in a fixed order, and that the trainees must meet certain quantifiable standards from time to time before being allowed to proceed in the course. Correct use and explanation of conditional activities may ensure validation of your course.

See also