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The Moodle Mobile App runs on Android and Apple iOS and is available from Google Play and Apple Store at no cost. Although Moodle is accessible from browsers on mobile phones, the mobile app was built specifically for mobile devices, and in my view, it feels more like you are in Moodle rather than visiting a Moodle site. It is now possible to have a completely custom-branded version of the app for your organisation (see our promotional video below), but the standard app can also be customised to an extent through styles added to your Moodle web site.

To find out more see this page  https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_Mobile_Customization

Students can do anything on the app that they can do on the web but in my view, the Quizzing feature is one of the more interesting capabilities.

 

 

The quiz engine

The Moodle Quiz engine is the most powerful one available, free or paid for, and the mobile app supports all of the core question types. Certain things work slightly differently in the app by comparison to a web browser, for example, questions that use ‘Drag and Drop’ such as ‘Drag and Drop into Image’, instead of the familiar click to start, drag to destination and ‘drop’, they use click to select and click again to drop with no drag action required, and this is because dragging accurately on a small screen is harder than on a larger device. I was surprised when I first came across this but I have decided I prefer it on any size device and I did consider offering it as an option on the web as well as the mobile version.

 

Automated feedback

The great thing about quizzes is that students can attempt questions and get automatic feedback and marks without requiring work from the teacher. Creating unambiguous questions that address the learning tasks is demanding, but ultimately very rewarding.

The Mobile App supports some offline activities, so you can work through learning tasks when you don’t have an internet connection. For example, it is possible to write a response to a forum post, click send and when you next reconnect to your server the post will appear in the forum once the app has synchronised.

 

My question types

For full disclosure, I should say that I am the author of two Moodle question types that work in the Mobile App. These are Gapfill and Wordselect which can both be downloaded from the plugins database moodle.org/plugins.  Gapfill was created as a result of frustration with the complexity of the core Cloze question type, my ‘elevator pitch’ for it is that all you need to know to create questions with it is ‘put square braces around the missing words’. With a bit of HTML table knowledge, it can also be used to create small crosswords.

My WordSelect question type presents the students a question and some text with no indication of what to select. The student then selects the words or groups of words they consider to be the correct answer, and with HTML tables you can also create ‘find the words in the grid’ questions. I was pleased to note that the UK open University has started using my WordSelect question type and they have been converting their own question type such as pmatch https://moodle.org/plugins/qtype_pmatch to work on Mobile.

I am looking forward to more of the 3rd party question types supporting Mobile, especially Maths questions, and there are now more examples and tutorials on how they can be adapted.

 

Maths Symbols

The standard way of showing Maths symbols such as formulae in web Moodle is through a Javascript library called MathJax, however, the mobile app doesn’t support this, but there is a very good fallback to address this called latex. Instead of rendering the symbols using javascript this uses a binary package called tex to create images, this has to be set up by an admin and requires the correct binaries to be installed.

 

Quizzing with H5P

H5P is a very popular free 3rd party plugin that includes a quiz feature (see our blog post here on it’s two new content types), and it is now possible to use H5P activities with the Mobile app. This does require the site admin to alter a setting, you can find a description of that here – https://docs.moodle.org/37/en/Interactive_Content_-_H5P_activity#Moodle_Mobile_App_compatibility.

The question types in H5P are

  • Multiple Choice
  • Drag and drop (images or text)
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Mark the words
  • Drag text
  • True False

If you have not had much experience with core Moodle quizzing the H5P quiz will appear very impressive, especially as it can produce very visually engaging quizzes. For example, it is possible to set up a background image for a quiz and to include videos display if you pass or do not pass a quiz.

Creating questions is very easy but there are significant limitations. For example, the drag the words question type does not allow the creation of distractors or incorrect options to additionally test a students understanding.

Be aware that the answers to H5P quiz questions are downloaded to the student’s machines in the javascript code so they should not be used for high stakes testing.  In theory, a technically knowledgeable person could find out the answers from the code in the browser. Don’t let my criticisms put you off, H5P quizzing is an excellent tool and even more so now it can be used in the Moodle mobile app.

 

MoodleMoot Global

If you are coming to MoodleMoot Barcelona in November 2019 I will be doing a presentation of the 3rd party plugins that have been adapted to work with the Mobile app and what features are supported. I have discovered new plugins even since I started writing this article, so it is a fast-moving area.

 

My wishlist for Mobile quizzing

At the moment it is not possible to use question behaviours that give students immediate feedback in offline mode. There is a good reason for this in that it would mean that the answers to the questions were on the user device before the student attempted each quiz. Sooner rather than later someone would work out how to ‘cheat’ and get at those answers. On the one hand, I think I could live with that possibility in return for the benefit of knowing that interaction with answers and hints were available without a question once they had been downloaded.

 

To speak to Titus Learning about your Moodle Mobile App requirements, get in touch on the details below:

 

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