Lesson

 
 
Picture of Mark Hardwick
Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hi,

I've been using the Moodle quiz module now for nearly two years but have not used the lesson module at all.  Is there a simple answer or guideline on when the lesson module would be more effective than the quiz module and the benefits of a lesson?  If the lesson asks a question why would you put it in a lesson rather than a quiz?  Does a quiz have limits on what can be inserted vs. a lesson?

I’m sure these are basic questions but any input about building a lesson would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark

 
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paula
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Mark,

I hope I can answer your question.  For information about setting up the Lesson, you can go to http://docs.moodle.org/23/en/Lesson_module in Moodle Docs.  

The lesson is most often used to deliver content.  It has the capability to have questions to help measure the learning with questions.  The lesson can be set up to take students to more content depending on their answers to the questions.  So if a student picks the correct answer, it will take them on to new content.  If a student choses an incorrect answer that shows a specific misunderstanding, it will take them to content that will help fix the misconception. It also has a table of contents available if enabled so that students can refer back to the content latter if they would like. This kind of flow would be fairly difficult to set up in a quiz. 

Paula Clough cool

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hi Mark,

You can also do what Lesson does in Moodle 1.9 with Hot Potatoes exercises delivered through QuizPort.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Michael Penney
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Developers

It has the capability to have questions to help measure the learning with questions.

Just a slight addition - measuring learning is part of it, another reason for asking questions about content right after a learner views content is to move the information in the content from short-term memory to long term memory. Based on cognitive learning research - when we view content it goes into short term memory. When we are asked questions about content we have just viewed, we have to use the information to answer the questions, that helps move the information from short term (aka 'working memory') to long term memory. 

Dr. Richard Mayer of UCSB has done very interesting research in this area & a good bit of the work that went into Lesson's design back in the mid->late 2000s was inspired by his research findings on how people learn smile.

 
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Picture of Mark Hardwick
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Paula,

Glenys,

That's what I needed to help understand the difference.  I'm sure it looks like an entry level question on lessons but I' never used them.  Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Mark 

 
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Picture of Andrew Chambers
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hi, Thanks for starting this discussion. I would like to continue ti. What then is the difference between Lesson and Book? I have some content in a unit of material. About 60 pages. And interspersed in this are pictures and activities. I would like to make them into an online activity. Which format is best? Note that we use MS Word/PDF for our content development and delivery (as we are distance based). Suggestions appreciated. Lesson seems best but there are some gotcha's and I really need a TOC on the left and simple sequencing...

 
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Picture of Lynn Scarlet Clark
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hello Andrew - hope I can help as I'm a bit of an advocate of lessons...

With book there is always a TOC (unless you turn it off with CSS)  and in lessons you can choose whether to have a left hand menu (turn on in the settings). The navigation here is a the bottom of the screen and doesn't just need to stick with 'previous' and 'next' so is much more flexible in its own right. With lessons the jumps mean you can rename the navigation buttons (on each page) and can have multiple navigation outcomes - although don't confuse your learner!

Book for me, can do much of what (basic) lessons do and I have used it in certain situations. Mostly this use is for instruction manual-type content. However, it just feels more restrictive and for major learnng content I always use a lesson.

With complex content it's also much easier to review that content and edit it with lessons, as the edit view allows you to see all the pages in a succession. My sites/lesson/content are all stylised to be coherent and relate to each other so it's crucial that it's easy for me to see whether the first page correlates to the last etc.

You've already correctly identified that also there's the ability to include (simple) questions with lessons but this also has the knock-on effect or scoring/grading and then the extra ability to use lessons and scoring as criteria for student progression. Moodle can only say that someone has looked at a book module - with lessons there are more options, including the need for learners to make it through the whole lesson and land on the end of lesson page to prove it's been completed. You can then use this as the gateway to open other materials up to them or issues certificates etc.

Both will happily use javascript, swf objects, media etc. Neither (or anything really in Moodle) takes content particularly well straight from Word - even though there's a Word code stripper be advised that extraneous gumpf (techical term) from Word will make it's way in. As a precaution I always copy Word content into NotePad (Mac - Wordpad in Office) then copy that out again into Moodle.

So, you could list the choice between the two very simplistically down to two things - how complex it is to build (the more complex the easier it will be to cret what you want in lessons, including questions) and how linear you want the learner's navigation experience (just page turning? use book. For questions, jumps and copletion criteria use lessons).

There's a lot more besides, to using lessons but I'd be writing a short book if I put it all in here, especially with examples. If you have specific questions about lessons, I'd be happy to answer.

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hi Lynn,

I only discovered the Book module fairly recently but I find it really useful for keeping the clutter off the main course page. Here are some of the things I use it for:

  1. Presenting the course.
  2. Giving instructions about the work to be done in each section of the course.
  3. Providing "tutorials" about how the work should be done or how to use Moodle, in PDF or Flash video format.
  4. Providing examples of material outside Moodle. Not just links, YouTube videos, for example, can be made to play on the Book pages.
  5. Providing learning exercises in Hot Potatoes format: the students can see if their answers are right or wrong but they're not recorded in the gradebook.
  6. Showing "demo" Hot Potatoes exercises to teachers or prospective students. They can view them as "guests" - they don't need to log in to see them. At least, not on Moodle 1.9.

My experience is mainly with distance learning courses where some students need an awful lot of help while others need hardly any. Putting the "help" in Book form means those that need it can find it easily, whereas those that don't aren't bothered by the presence masses of links and text.

I can give you links to my "demo" courses if you're interested.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Liz Katz
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

I'd love any examples/demos you would be willing to share! I could really use some help developing a "how to use Moodle" tutorial for my students and learning myself what a hot potato might be. smile

 
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Picture of Mihail Omelin
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 
Hello, Glenys. I also will be very glad to see some good examples of Hot Potatoes with effectively used lesson tool. Thank You beforehand. -- Mihail Omelin
 
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Picture of Isabelle Langeveld
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Hi Glenys,

  1. Providing learning exercises in Hot Potatoes format: the students can see if their answers are right or wrong but they're not recorded in the gradebook.
  2. Showing "demo" Hot Potatoes exercises to teachers or prospective students. They can view them as "guests" - they don't need to log in to see them. At least, not on Moodle 1.9.

Do you mean that you insert a HotPotmodule in a Book page? How?

 
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Picture of Susanna Wesson
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

Dear Glenys,

Could you tell me how you incorporate a pdf into a Moodle book?

Many thanks,

 

Susanna

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I only wish Lessons allowed the same kinds of components to be added to sub-pages as we can add in the main course page, with exposure of buttons or activation of jumps tied to activity completion.

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

@Elizabeth,

I have no idea what you mean.mixed

Joseph

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Sorry, I missed your response until now.

What I mean is this: Lessons provide a way to make branching content based on user actions, which is great. But the question types allowed in Lessons are not as varied as the question types allowed in Quizzes. This is unfortunate, because the API for Quiz Question Types means that there are new Question Types being developed all the time, as plugins, but Lesson can't use them.

The Activity Type I'd most like to see incorporated into Lessons is the Choice. This can be configured to show the participant how others have responded to a question. So for example, I'd like to play a video clip, as the participant to respond, then show them how their response fits in with other participants before moving on to the next part of the Lesson. If I use this to identify a misconception, I'd like to branch to a review page before continuing on with the video lesson.

Alternatively, I'd like to be able to include any Questionnaire Question on a Lesson page, and choose what information to show to participants before continuing with the Lesson. This is similar to the way I teach in "live" classes, where I often pause and ask students for examples or opinions before continuing.

Ideally, I'd like to see Lesson, Questionnaire, and Quiz integrated. I know they serve different purposes, but they use much of the same functionality. The distinction between a Quiz and a Questionnaire is largely a matter of how to treat the responses (grade or merely collect), and the main advantage the Lesson adds is branching navigation, which I'd like to be able to use in both Quizzes and Questionnaires.

I hope this helps to explain my earlier comment.

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Elizabeth,

Thanks for your belated reply (better late than never).wink

I quite understand what you would like to be able to do, but I'm afraid an online CMS such as Moodle is still far from being as flexible as a face-to-face class. On the surface Moodle's Quiz, Choice, Questionnaire and Lesson may look similar to you, but they are totally distinct, unrelated modules and there is no chance that you can see them "integrated".

All the best,

Joseph

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

There are other online tools that can be used to create this kind of interactivity, e.g. SoftChalk. Even YouTube has the ability to integrate questions into videos in beta now.

As for integrating the different modules... I know the code bases will never be combined. But just as the different Activity modules were eventually subsumed into a single module in Moodle 2.3, I hope eventually a new module offering a flexible mix of functionality currently contained in Lesson, Quiz, Choice, and Questionnaire will eventually be offered.

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Elizabeth "... just as the different Activity modules were eventually subsumed into a single module in Moodle 2.3,"

No idea what you mean. Can you be more explicit, please?

Elizabeth "I hope eventually a new module offering a flexible mix of functionality currently contained in Lesson, Quiz, Choice, and Questionnaire will eventually be offered."

That is very unlikely to happen.wink

Joseph

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Joseph, it might be unlikely, but it would be nice to have a lesson type activity that used quiz question.

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

@Marcus,

You mean it would be nice to be able to use questions from the (Quiz) questions bank in a Lesson activity. Yes, I agree.

But as for Elizabeth's hope for "... a new module offering a flexible mix of functionality currently contained in Lesson, Quiz, Choice, and Questionnaire will eventually be offered." that is totally unlikely to happen, simply because those activities serve different purposes.

Joseph

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I realize that Moodle is, by design, not theory-neutral. But I think assuming the purpose that will be served by a function will never grow beyond its creator's intent is short-sighted. A more flexible long-term strategy would be to try to make the functions as interoperable as possible, so teachers and students can find new ways to use them in learning.

If Moodle can't do this, or the Moodle developers are not interested in doing this, learning communities may decide to migrate to more flexible LCMS systems that will allow them to design interactions to meet their own needs. (In my case, apart from the above-mentioned SoftChalk, I am exploring configuring Drupal to provide the functionality of Moodle in a more flexible way.)

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

It is inevitable that any tool is used in ways that were not originally envisaged. Sometimes that is a really bad idea (e.g. using a chisel as a screw-driver). At other times, it is good (e.g. using a quiz to teach people something, rather than assess them on it).

Sometimes it makes sense to merge disparate things into one. For example combining a camera, media player, web browser and a telephone to make a smartphone. On the other hands, professional photographers still use an SLR camera.

In other cases, it does not work out. I bet you still have separate saucepans and frying pans in your kitchen. I do.

My view is that it probably does not work to try to make one single activity that compines quiz/lesson/questoinnaire/survey. It is better to have separate activities designed for specific types of learning activity.

However, online interactive questions are a useful re-usable compoent (lego brick) that can be used to build several different activities including quiz, lesson, question practice, .... I have worked hard to make questions more re-usabile. I am doing what I can to get the question practice module built. I would like to see someone else convert lesson to use the question bank, but I won't have time myself for the forseeable future. Etc.

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Yes, a huge thank you for all your efforts to standardize questions. smile

This discussion has helped me to clarify my thinking. The further standardization around the new question format is most of what I'm wishing for, e.g. Lesson and Choice being able to use the new question formats.

Questions are still pretty similar between Quiz and Questionnaire usage-- the difference is what the Activity module does with the user response (score and provide feedback vs. record and collate). The gap, then, is that it would be helpful for Lesson (or some other similar activity) to be able to act as either a Quiz or a Questionnaire, per page. I.e., given a user interaction defined on a Lesson page as either Quiz or a Questionnaire behavior, the interaction should provide a score and feedback, or collect the data and possibly provide an immediate collation and summary to the participant, and either way a navigation action may be triggered or presented as an option.

I do have some php skills and I may have more time this summer to start looking at code and making more specific suggestions.

Thanks again for the discussion, everyone. smile

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Hi Elizabeth,

I'm afraid it makes things difficult to understand if you "mix up" the four Choice, Questionnaire, Quiz and Lesson activities.

You write "Questions are still pretty similar between Quiz and Questionnaire usage-- the difference is what the Activity module does with the user response (score and provide feedback vs. record and collate)."

I totally disagree, again looking at the purpose of each activity. The goal of a Quiz is to assess/evaluate a student's knowledge, and therefore to score their answers, which can be evaluated as more or less "correct".

In the Questionnaire (or the Feedback or the Survey) activity, there is no notion of evaluation or correctness. So the difference is not only what you say, i.e. what the activity does with the user response, the fundamental difference is in the nature of the questions you ask. Let me illustrate.

  • Quiz
  1. Q1.- What are 2+2?
  2. Q2.- How old was Mathusalem when he died?
  • Questionnaire
  1. Q1.- How many cars do you own?
  2. Q2.- How old are you?

It seems obvious that those are totally different, non-interchangeable kinds of questions. It would not make any sense to ask the Quiz questions in a Questionnaire or vice-versa. Hence the idea to keep in the Questions bank those two kinds of questions so they could be used in either activity does not make sense either.

2.- " ... it would be helpful for Lesson (or some other similar activity) to be able to act as either a Quiz or a Questionnaire, per page. I.e., given a user interaction defined on a Lesson page as either Quiz or a Questionnaire behavior, the interaction should provide a score and feedback, or collect the data and possibly provide an immediate collation and summary to the participant, and either way a navigation action may be triggered or presented as an option."

I think what you want here is an extension of the current Moodle Lesson activity, which at the moment has all the features you want, except the "immediate collation and summary". If you could provide a scenario including those 3 features, I'd be quite interested in reading it.

The 3 features being:

a. "Traditional" questions (MCQ, Matching, Short Answer, etc.) which can be marked as correct/incorrect and given a score.

b. What is called "Question page", i.e. a page with 2 or more choices which "branch" the user to different routes.

c. Your new feature "collation and summary", which at the moment I fail to see what it would look like and implemented.

Looking forward to your "scenario",

Joseph

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I understand what you are saying about not putting Questionnaire and Quiz questions in the same bank. There are two reasons I am proposing what seems to be counter-intuitive to you:

1 - The code needed to administer the two types of questions is the same, i.e. whether you are trying to find out what proportion of people associate two ideas with a matching question or trying to determine whether a participant matches two sets of ideas in the "correct" way, the code needed to present the question to the participant is the same. So it makes sense to consolidate this code, so you have the widest variety of options in both contexts for the least maintenance cost.

2 - There are times when there is a need to ask both factual and opinion questions in the same context. For example, if you are trying to correlate opinions about, for example, climate change with knowledge about the facts of climate change, you would need to ask both kinds of questions together.

3 - The scenario in which you would want to collate and present responses in a Lesson works like this: Learners arrive at a lesson page. They watch a short video. Then they are asked what questions they have after watching the video, in a free-text format. After responding, they have an opportunity to read the responses of other participants before continuing to the next page of the lesson. This helps to provide the context of the other participants, similar to a class discussion right after an activity.

Alternatively, instead of a free text question, the participants may be asked which of several statements most match their opinions about the video. Some of the statements represent common misconceptions. After responding, the participants see how others responded, and if they chose one of the "misconception" responses, they are directed to a remedial page before continuing with the lesson. Being able to see how others responded helps the learners to perceive that they are not the only ones who had the misconception.

This is especially important in teaching some science topics, where overcoming preexisting misconceptions can be very difficult. Affective strategies to help the learner accept that their current hypothesis is faulty become very important so the learner can move on to construct a more accurate model for themselves.

I hope this helps somewhat.

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

"I think assuming the purpose that will be served by a function will never grow beyond its creator's intent is short-sighted."

True, and I do not believe that assumption has been made by the main Moodle developers.

"A more flexible long-term strategy would be to try to make the functions as interoperable as possible, so teachers and students can find new ways to use them in learning."

True, and as Tim Hunt has said work has been done to make Moodle code interoperable. Examples of this are the move towards web services and the changes to the Quiz Engine to allow questions to be moved to other uses. There are almost certainly other areas where this has been done.

However all of these things take a mix of smart people, time, money and clever project management.

 
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Picture of Isabelle Langeveld
Re: Lessons vs. Quizzes
 

What a tremendously interesting discussion. I am really hoping this flexiblility in working with questions will come some day. It is funny to see how Joseph is sticking to what seems to me a sort of functional fundamentalism. I totally agree with Elizabeth that you sometimes want to have a lesson that mixes knowledge and opinion and seeing what other people think. It would be great if the Lesson is not just a closed individual activity anymore. Maybe you could even have short discussion on a lesson page. I am sure that this is what 'new learning architects' who combine pedagogical with UX experience are looking for and will use Moodle. If we want to keep the Moodle community growing we will need to evolve in this direction.

On the other hand I understand the difficulty of breaking through established patterns in thinking about Moodles architecture and to reprogramme.

For now you might go for workarounds like linking to a Choice in a popup or new window from a Lesson page and let them come back to the lesson and resume the path with what they found out in te Choice.

 
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