Survey settings

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Note: Moodle's Survey activity uses pre-made questions. If you wish to create your own questions, use the Feedback module or contributed Questionnaire module or Surveypro module.

This page explores in more detail the settings for the Survey activity once you have added it to your course and also covers the Site administration settings.

Note that if you want to edit an existing survey, click the Edit link to its right and choose the action you wish to take, e.g. 'Edit settings'


In the Description, provide instructions for students. Check the box if you want these instructions to display on the course page.

Survey type
Choose your survey type here.

The available surveys have been chosen as being particularly useful for evaluating online learning environments that use a constructivist pedagogy. They are useful to identify certain trends that may be happening among your participants. (To see a paper where these are used in a detailed analysis, see:

Critical incidents

This survey is based on a well-known survey from Stephen Brookfield. By asking students to reflect on critical moments that they remember from the course you will (all) learn a lot about what is working and what is not.

There are only 5 questions with free-text answers:

  1. At what moment in class were you most engaged as a learner?
  2. At what moment in class were you most distanced as a learner?
  3. What action from anyone in the forums did you find most affirming or helpful?
  4. What action from anyone in the forums did you find most puzzling or confusing?
  5. What event surprised you most?

COLLES - Constructivist On-Line Learning Environment Survey

The COLLES comprises an economical 24 statements grouped into six scales, each of which helps us address a key question about the quality of the on-line learning environment:

  • Relevance How relevant is on-line learning to students' professional practices?
  • Reflection Does on-line learning stimulate students' critical reflective thinking?
  • Interactivity To what extent do students engage on-line in rich educative dialogue?
  • Tutor Support How well do tutors enable students to participate in on-line learning?
  • Peer Support Is sensitive and encouraging support provided on-line by fellow students?
  • Interpretation Do students and tutors make good sense of each other's on-line communications?

Underpinning the dynamic view of learning is a new theory of knowing: social constructivism, which portrays the learner as an active conceptualiser within a socially interactive learning environment. Social constructivism is an epistemology, or way of knowing, in which learners collaborate reflectively to co-construct new understandings, especially in the context of mutual inquiry grounded in their personal experience.

Central to this collaboration is the development of students' communicative competence, that is, the ability to engage in open and critical discourse with both the teacher and peers. This discourse is characterised by an empathic orientation to constructing reciprocal understanding, and a critical attitude towards examining underlying assumptions.

The COLLES has been designed to enable you to monitor the extent to which you are able to exploit the interactive capacity of the World Wide Web for engaging students in dynamic learning practices.

(This information has been adapted from the COLLES page. You can find out more about COLLES and the authors of it at:

ATTLS - Attitudes to Thinking and Learning Survey

The theory of 'ways of knowing', originally from the field of gender research (Belenky et al., 1986) provides us with a survey tool to examine the quality of discourse within a collaborative environment.

The Attitudes Towards Thinking and Learning Survey (ATTLS) is an instrument developed by Galotti et al. (1999) to measure the extent to which a person is a 'connected knower' (CK) or a 'separate knower' (SK).

People with higher CK scores tend to find learning more enjoyable, and are often more cooperative, congenial and more willing to build on the ideas of others, while those with higher SK scores tend to take a more critical and argumentative stance to learning.

Studies have shown that these two learning styles are independent of each other (Galotti et al., 1999; Galotti et al., 2001). Additionally, they are only a reflection of learning attitudes, not learning capacities or intellectual power.

Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Galotti, K. M., Clinchy, B. M., Ainsworth, K., Lavin, B., & Mansfield, A. F. (1999). A New Way of Assessing Ways of Knowing: The Attitudes Towards Thinking and Learning Survey (ATTLS). Sex Roles, 40(9/10), 745-766.

Galotti, K. M., Reimer, R. L., & Drebus, D. W. (2001). Ways of knowing as learning styles: Learning MAGIC with a partner. Sex Roles, 44(7/8), 419-436.

Other settings

Depending on what is enabled for your site and course, you may also need to explore Common module settings, Restrict access, Activity completion, Tags and Competencies

Locally assigned roles

In Administration > Survey administration > Locally assigned roles, selected users can be given additional roles in the activity.

Survey permissions

Role permissions for the activity can be changed in Administration > Survey administration > Permissions.