Saturday, July 10, 2010

Moodle 2.0 - conditional activities

Moodle 2.0 has been a long time coming: it's been two years in development, 70% of the code has been re-written and some great new features have been added.
One of the most transformational is what they're calling 'conditional activities'. There has been a bit of debate over whether conditional activities should be added to Moodle because some believe that every student should have access to all learning activities at all times (a viewpoint that has considerable merit) but I'm in favour of conditional activities because it gives educators the ability to reconfigure the learning management system depending on the needs of the learner. In short: Moodle becomes a personalised learning environment.
Image a situation whereby a student gets 100% in the diagnostic assessment at the start of a unit of work, while another gets 20%. These two students need dramatically different pathways through the topic ahead, but traditionally they have had the same materials available to them from this point on. Using conditional activities, a teacher could say "If a student receives 80% or higher in this quiz, then reveal to them these further activities, but if a student receives 20% or lower, allow them to see these activities..." Teachers can set any criteria they like around turning these activities on or off, but used well, this has the power to put the right learning activity in front of the right learner at just the right time. I can't wait to start using them with my students...


  1. Hmmm...I'm one of the doubters on this one. When they do come in I will certainly have a play around with conditional activities, but I will reserve judgement.

    What you describe is great Mark, but it isn't personalising learning in my opinion. Differentiating? Yes. Individualising? Yes. Personalising?...

    Personalising learning comes from the learner. It is about them having control of their learning. What you describe is teacher driven. The teacher determines the activities and tasks that are available to the learner who works through what they are given. This is the big problem with conditional activities for me.

    Don't we want students to manage themselves and have greater choice/flexibility in their learning?

    Sorry to sound negative. Individualising is still a very good thing. Love the blog.

  2. Hi Darren,
    Thanks for the well-considered points. I agree that conditional activities are differentiated and individualised while not being personalised in a student-led sense. The personalisation with conditional activities comes with the reconfiguring of learning materials based on a (teacher's) assessment of learner needs. Still personalised, but not student-led. It's a really interesting space and now that Martin has announced a timeframe for 2.0 I can't wait to really put it through its paces.

    I'm yet to see a VLE that works really well at allowing students to personalise their own learning and would be interested to hear if anyone has found a serious contender.
    Kia ora,