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Branch structures

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Branch structures are series of Lesson activity pages that are often called "branches". Simple branches are used all the time by the average Moodle teacher. A simple branch is like a chapter in a book of a book that has chapters. Perhaps the most common are those series of pages that are in effect defined by a table of content. The more complex we are calling classic branches.

Moodle 2.0 has changed the name of a "branch table" page to a "content" page. You will see references to both pages types. A "content page" and a "branch table page" are the same thing.

We will be using notation where C1 stands for the 1st Content (Branch Table) page the teacher created, Q1 the 1st question page, EB1 the first End of Branch page. We will assume the reader has some knowledge of how Content page and Lesson Question pages work.

Simple branches

Table of Content branches

In this example, a teacher has set up a table of content that jumps to 2 pages in the lesson and another to end the lesson.

C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10, End of Lesson

Where C1 is the table of contents. It has a button that jumps to C2 and another that jumps to C6. In this simple branch, C5 has one of its jumps set to return to C1 and the same is true for C10. All other pages simply go to the next page.

Internal redirection branches

In this example there are two simple branches. Here teacher realized that only a few students needed 3 pages of review. So the teacher moved those pages to the end of the logical order. Students were given a chance in C1 to select the review and the first question is a qualifying question to determine if the student will skip the review or jump to the review. The teacher found that most students who had trouble with the review, did not understand the material in the first two pages, so a formative question was added. All students were given the opportunity to take the review first.

C1, Q1, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10, C2, C3, Q2, C4, End of Lesson

For the sake of example, we will say that C10 is the end of the first simple branch and C4 is the end of the second simple branch.

Where C1 is the table of contents. It has a jump to Q1, C2 and End of Lesson. Q1 correct answers jump to C5, other answers jump to C2. Q2 correct answers jump to C4 and other answers jump back to C2.

As a best practice, C1 has a button to end the Lesson.

More simple branches

Several students asked for more information on this lesson topic. The teacher added another simple branch at the end of the lesson. This new simple branch started with its own table of contents to direct the student to different areas of interest. This teacher favored using question pages to present content and found that students enjoyed answering a brief question, where they could earn some points (custom scoring was turned on).

C1, Q1, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10, C2, C3, Q2, C4,C11, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, End of Lesson

C11 is the teacher's table of content for the "Extra information" series of pages. There is a button that jumps to each of the questions. All question answers return to C11. C11 and C1 have jumps linked to each other.

Simple branch best practices

  • Always give the student a way to exit the lesson
  • Remember to put a link back to the table of contents at the end of a segment (often the page before the start of the next simple branch).

Classic branches

All classic branches exist because an End of Branch page is being used in the Lesson. Three new relative jumps are added for a teacher to select when an End of Branch is added to a Lesson and the teacher is not in a cluster. Classic branches effect the navigation order of pages for a student.

Note the caution that appears to the teacher when previewing a lesson. "An Unseen question within a cluster jump or an 'Unseen question within a branch' jump is being used in this lesson. The Next Page jump will be used instead. Login as a student to test these jumps." While classic branches are beautiful things, the teacher must take great care in setting them up and making sure they work they way the teacher intends.

Key terms

  • End of Branch page - a navigation page that adds jump choices. Seen by the teacher not by the students.
  • Jump types =
    • Unseen question within a branch - selects an unseen question.
    • Random question within a branch - does what it says
    • Random content(branch) page - means Random Content (Branch Table) page and selects one

Unseen Questions within a classic branch

Here the student leaves C1 with a jump set to "Unseen question within a branch". A random unseen question will be selected between C1 and EB1. If every answer's jump in every question is set to "Unseen question within a branch", the student will visit every page between C1 and EB1. When the last random question is seen, Lesson will send the student to EB1.

C1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7, Q8, Q9, EB1, C2

Questions can send the student out of the classic branch. It is the reentry into this classic branch that can pose a problem. If all the questions have been seen, the C1 unseen question jump will end the lesson for the student instead of going to the End of Branch.

Random Questions within a classic branch

This is relatively straight forward. Students enter this classic branch through a C1 jump "Random question within a branch". All the answers could jump to "Random question within a branch". Typically an answer will jump them out of the classic branch, or direct them to the start of the classic branch.

As with any random page selection, it is a good idea to make sure the student has one or more ways to leave. In the example below, there could be an end of lesson jump on C1

C1, Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7, Q8, Q9, EB1, C2

Random Content (Branch) pages within a classic branch

Similar to a Random question. This time it selects a random content (branch) page. Every Content page could have jumps linked to "Random Content page" and "C1". Remember this type of jump does not include any questions within the branch.

C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, EB1, C10

Again it is important to allow the students to exit. In the above example, the teacher might select 2 pages and place jumps from them to C10 and C1, with all the other jumps set for "Random content page".

Mixed pages within a classic branch

Consider the two examples below. The special classic branch jump options will appear in every content and question page below. Each of the series might be an entire lesson. Just because the special jumps appear, doesn't mean they should be used.

The teacher decided that they wanted a classic branch to start for them on a C7 jump.

  • C1, Q1, Q2, Q3, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C8, C9, EB1, C10
  • C1, C2, C3, Q1, Q2, Q3, C4, C5, C6, C7, Q4, Q5, EB1, C8

See also