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Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities

 
Picture of Tobias Verlinde
Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
 

In summary:
We try to build online interactive lessons and are looking for the best way to do this. With a lesson we mean a sequence of activities (html content, videos, tools, programming exercises, questionnaires…) which students don’t see upfront but discover piece by piece by continuing through the lessons. These activities should not always have the same order or availability. It is partly up to the teacher to select activities or change the order by choosing a specific “learning path”.


In full:
We are planning to build a series of lessons (in Moodle) to train students in Computational Thinking skills. We will provide these lessons to the teachers, and they can modify them to the specific needs of their students. But (in contrast to standard Moodle) the students shouldn’t see what the activities in the lesson exactly are upfront. The students can start the lesson and do one activity after the other - within the order specified by the teacher -  and choose what to do if allowed.

In practise, this means a series of activities (as they are now present in Moodle) arranged in a specific sequence for each instance. We know the “lesson” activity in Moodle partly offers this kind of functionality. But we would like to add any kind of activity in the sequence, not just html pages and questionnaires. Much like a Scorm package (if we understood Scorm packages right?).

Here you can find and example mock-up of a class (in Dutch) on the topic of the Knights Tour.

About this lesson: The student starts the class, gets an explanation of a problem, continues towards a tool and afterwards some questions are asked. Then he is presented with a ‘different’ problem of a tourist tour and solves this the same way. Afterwards he is presented some statistics on the answers he and his classmates produced. The student will be asked to think of similarities and differences between the two assignments and will discover they are actually the same problem. Then he can easily solve an extension on the problem and reflect on what he has learned. In a later lesson, he will try to program some algorithms (DFS, BFS …) to solve this kind of problem.

The functionality we need thus consists of two parts:

  1. The students should not be able to see all activities in the lessons, but only the current one and then continue to the next (and go back if he wants).

  2. A specific sequence of these activities should be instantiated as decided by the teacher. The teacher does this in a framework that we provide (see mock-up here)

We are looking for some advice on how to provide or build this functionality… Do any of you know if our ideas are already present in Moodle in some way that we didn’t think of?
Should we make Scorm packages? Build our own Plugin? Modify the lessons activity in Moodle? Or if anyone is interested in participating to develop these features, we would gladly cooperate!

On a side note:
We are a team of two last year computer science students from the University of Leuven, Belgium.


 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators

Hello. Have you already explored the the Restrict access and Activity completion features?

I'm going to move your question to the General help forum where you'll get more assistance smile

 
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Picture of Tobias Verlinde
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
 

Thank you!

The Restrict access and Activity completion features are small parts of the functionalities we are looking for, so not a complete answer yet but on the right track smile

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
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Ok smile So which element of your plan does using Restrict access not cover, so we can help you more? 

 
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Picture of Zimcke Van de Staey
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
 

Hi Mary, I collaborate with Tobias on the project and your suggestion was very useful!

One of the aspects that seem not solely possible with access restricition and activitiy completion is hiding the topic title (if I experimented correctly). You can easily hide the content (acitivities), but our students shouldn't be able so see which topic comes next until they've completed (part of) the current topic. 

It is also not yet clear to me how we should provide several learning paths from which the teachers can select. If I understand it well, with a.r. and a.c. we should duplicate the lessons and preconfigurate each version of a lesson ourselves (= different paths). The teachers would then be able to select one of the versions and would still be able to make changes to that version if he or she wishes to. This is what we mean with dynamic learning paths. The issue is that we cannot restrict which changes he or she could still make and some changes wouldn't make sense...  Another concern is that duplication is (almost) never a good idea. If we change a lesson in the future, we would have to deploy the changes in multiple versions. In other words, we miss an intermediate interface, allowing to apply a  predefined set of access restrictions on a list of topics.

Hopefully my remarks are somewhat understandable... 

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
Documentation writersMoodle Course Creator Certificate holdersMoodle HQParticularly helpful MoodlersTestersTranslators

You can hide the topic title by clicking Edit topic and then in the Restrict access section of the topic, you choose the restriction you want and then click to "close" the eye of the topic. In fact, if you click to "close" the eye of any activity that is how you hide it completely -and that applies to topic sections as well.

hiding topic title

I'm sorry I am not quite sure what you mean by your explanation of the duplicating lessons problem. Are you using the term "Lesson" to mean a series of activities or are you using it to mean Moodle's standard Lesson activity? And when you talk about the teachers, are you expecting them to built the dynamic learning paths? Why do you think certain activities would need to be duplicated? Sorry for not understanding smile

 
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Picture of Zimcke Van de Staey
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
 

Thanks for the tip about "closing the eye", that indeed was exactly what I had in mind! 

Now for the second part. I shouldn't have used the term lesson because I actually meant a course. The topics/sections within this course should have a different order, depending on the learning path chosen (e.g. path 1 with topics/sections in order "A,B,C,D" and path 2 in order "A,C,B,D"). These paths should be predefined by us (the developers) and a teacher has to select one. The teacher of course can still adjust the settings, but doesn't have to. I didn't yet find a way to do this without duplicating the courses (and don't know yet if Tobias did). So that means we would have different versions of the same course in which at least the order of the topics/sections is different. Less important at the moment is how we would restrict the changes a teacher can make, but if you have any ideas I will certainly look into them. 

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
Particularly helpful Moodlers

Zimche, I think I understand you.

I do not know of any conditional branching using core Moodle.  I do not know of a way to have a coourse set up to go both A B C > D and also A C B > D.

Firstly, I'm pretty sure from an educational perspective you could just open things up and tell students to do it in a particular order; inspiring them with freedom [rather than a locked down linear option] often helps learning.  But that is a soap box of mine.

Secondly: you may find groups are an option.  Enroll in groups which are used to set the hide/show stuff.

-Derek


 
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Picture of Zimcke Van de Staey
Re: Dynamic learning paths by sequencing activities
 
Thank you for confirming my finding, Derek. What would considerably help us out is if there were a way to mark a section complete (not just an activity) combined with defining access restriction in a relative way (e.g. has completed the previous section instead has completed section A). They way we could easily swap different sections, without having to change each individual access restriction to adjust to the new section order.


I figured out a way to achieve the first part by using the fntabs plugin where they track all the activities within a tab (such as in the demo here: http://demo.ned.ca). If the activities are marked complete, the section is complete as well. However there doesn't seem to be any method yet for obtaining the relative referencing that I mentioned. Or is there?



 
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