Access Restrictions, introduced in version 2.0 of core Moodle, are nothing new to the Learning Management System (LMS). This feature enables the ability to set conditions for visibility on activities and resources. That’s a really formal way to say we can control what a learner sees in a course based on what they have completed or have demonstrated that they know.
Most of the time when we talk about access restrictions, we’re focused on more of a “carrot mentality” or rewards-based mentality – pass the test or in some other way successfully complete an activity to be presented with a badge, a certificate of completion, or (most likely) the next unit or module to complete.
How To Use Access Restrictions as Remediation
With all the talk and consideration of competency-based learning, we’ve put some thought into how that model might be flipped to use access restrictions for remediation. Part of the point of competency-based learning is to allow students to focus their time and energy on learning new things and giving them credit for the knowledge they bring into their studies. So why clog up their course view with activities or resources that they really do not need to complete?
One way to do this within Moodle is by employing the restrict access feature. Starting a module or unit of study with an assessment not only provides a baseline for measuring what students know coming into the module, but it can allow students who prove mastery to move on more quickly or guide students who are struggling through additional lessons and activities to help them remediate in key areas.
Access Restrictions can be applied to individual activities, resources, or – if your course structure lends itself – to an entire section. Within the settings of the section, activity, or resource, expand the Restriction Access section and select Add Restriction…
The Grade option is the most commonly used in our remediation example. This will allow a grade range to be designated for the pre-assessment. In our basic example, if a learner achieves 85% or higher they see a label moving them on to Unit 2. But if they receive below an 85%, they see a label directing them to begin the Unit 1 lesson (and then presumably that lesson is opened for them).
The access restrictions for scores below 85% would look like the screenshot below. The restriction starts with “Student must match the following” and we’ve selected the checkbox for “must be less than” and added “85” as the percentage criteria. Notice too that the eye is selected to have a strike through; this is the setting to prevent the activity from displaying to students unless it applies to them.
The same idea would apply to display the congratulatory message, except we would select “must be greater than or equal to”, set “85” as the percentage, and leave the “must be less than” option deselected.
This concept of making content, activities, and assessments available for learners who are struggling or need remediation can be used for one or two key units or expanded upon to develop custom pathways for learners throughout an entire course.
Questions about using access restrictions as remediation in Moodle? Let’s chat!