Add Content to Your Course

This article focuses on adding & organizing the learning materials and activities for your learners.


In Lambda Learn (Moodle) two types of content can be added to your course: resources and activities. Knowing the difference will enable you to better understand how to manage them in your course.

  1. In Lambda Learn terminology, an Activity, such as Forums or Quizzes, properly means something learners can contribute to directly, and is often contrasted to a Resource such as a File or Page, which is the content course presentation media used by the course creator. However, the term activity is sometimes for convenience also used to refer to both Activities and Resources as a group.
  2. Course completion status of learners is updated in 2 different ways: when an activity or criteria is marked complete manually, e.g. by a teacher or manager, OR when an activity or criteria is met automatically, e.g. passing/completing a quiz. For more information on course completion and grading see: Manage Course Completion & Grades.


Add Course Resources

A resource is an item that a course creator (CC) or instructional designer (ID) can use to support learning, such as a file or link. Lambda Learn supports a range of resource types which a  CC/ID can add to their courses.

In edit mode, a CC/ID can add resources via the 'Add an activity or resource' button.

Add Activity or Resource-1

Resources appear as a single link with an icon in front of it that represents the type of resource.


Administrators can decide whether or not to force teachers to add descriptions for each resource by enabling or disabling a site-wide setting in Administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Common settings.

Top Resources Used in Courses

File icon  File

The File module enables a CC/ID to provide files as  course resources.

Where possible, the file will be displayed within the course interface; otherwise learners will be prompted to download it. Different file types are shown with different icons as below:

Sample Files

Note that students need to have the appropriate software on their computers in order to open the file. A file may be used to:

  • Share presentations given in class
  • Include a mini website as a course resource
  • Provide draft files of software programs so students can edit and submit them for assessment

Label icon  Label

The Label module enables text and multimedia to be inserted into the course page in between links to other resources and activities.

Label Module

Labels are very versatile and can help to improve the appearance of a course if used thoughtfully. Labels may be used to:

  • Split up a long list of activities with a subheading or an image
  • Display an embedded sound file or video directly on the course page
  • Add a short description to a course section

Page icon  Page

The Page module enables a course creator (CC) or instructional designer (ID) to create a web page resource using the text editor. A page can display text, images, sound, video, web links and embedded code, such as Google maps.

Page Module

Advantages of using the page module rather than the file module include the resource being more accessible (for example to users of mobile devices) and easier to update. A page may be used to:

  • Present the terms and conditions of a course or a summary of the course syllabus
  • Embed several videos or sound files together with some explanatory text

URL icon  URL

The URL module enables a CC/ID to provide a web link as a course resource. Anything that is freely available online, such as documents or images, can be linked to.

The URL of a particular web page may be copied and pasted or a teacher can use the file picker and choose a link from a repository such as Flickr, YouTube or Wikimedia (depending upon which repositories are enabled for the site).

URL Module

There are a number of display options for the URL, such as embedded or opening in a new window and advanced options for passing information, such as a student's name, to the URL if required.

Note that URLs can also be added to any other resource or activity type through the text editor.

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Add Course Activities

An activity is a general name for a group of features in a course that learners interact with.  In contrast to a Resource , such as a File or Page, which are essentially content presentation media (text, images, video and/or audio) from which learners use to gather and consume information, an activity enables learners to engage with other learners and/or the instructor, such as Forums or Quizzes.

An activity is typically assigned with a "grade" upon completion, and therefore is referred to as a  grade item, a unit where course participants are assessed through a grade or mark. As such, a grade item is a container for grades and a set of settings applied to these grades. For more information on activity grading see: Manage Course Completion & Grades.


For a quick guide on how to use the Gradebook

Lambda Learn Gradebook Basics

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There are 15 different types of activities in the standard Lambda Learn installation that can be found when 'Turn editing on' is enable and the 'Add an activity or resource' button is selected.


Your choice of activity will depend on the type of course delivery you choose (synchronous, asynchronous or blended), it's format (by topic, weekly, a single activity,  etc.), the level of engagement you choose that is appropriate to your learners and the learning outcomes you want to achieve. 

brain TIP


It is important to examine the reasons for introducing an online activity– using it purely as a gadget because the technology is available does not guarantee a successful learning experience. Students value technology when it adds to their learning, not when it is used with no apparent relationship or benefit to how they learn. It is important therefore to consider the following issues:

  • Establish the key learning principles (andragogy or pedagogy) and then decide how technology can support activities that explore them: For example, what are the learning outcomes, what do you want to achieve, what skills do you want learners to learn? Ask these questions and then decide how best you can integrate the technology in order to achieve or support these outcomes 

  • Technology is just a means to an end: When you train online you can select from multiple technologies, however the technology is just a facilitator of the learning process - you still need to have sound teaching strategies in place to support the learning.

  • Activities should remain relevant to the learning process: Be discerning - don’t be caught up in allure of technology and its many features. Ensure that activities, tasks, etc have a purpose and stimulate learning.


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Top Activities Used in Courses

assignment icon  Assignment

The Assignment activity module enables a teacher to communicate tasks, collect work and provide grades and grade and give comments on uploaded files and assignments created on and off line.

assignment activity

Students can submit any digital content (files), such as word-processed documents, spreadsheets, images, or audio and video clips. Alternatively, or in addition, the assignment may require students to type text directly into the text editor. An assignment can also be used to remind students of 'real-world' assignments they need to complete offline, such as art work, and thus not require any digital content. Students can submit work individually or as a member of a group.

When reviewing assignments, teachers can leave feedback comments and upload files, such as marked-up student submissions, documents with comments or spoken audio feedback. Assignments can be graded using a numerical or custom scale or an advanced grading method such as a rubric. Final grades are recorded in the gradebook.

standard certificate icon Certificate


The Certificate activity allows you to dynamically generated PDF  based on predefined conditions set by the course creator or instructor. Depending on the certificate you select as an evidence item of completion or "diploma", you can add borders, watermarks, seals, signatures, outcomes, grades, add custom text to a certificate via the settings menu.

To find out more on how to use Certificate to recognize course completion or as a technique to "gamify" your course see Manage Course Progress, Completion & Grades.

 external tool  External Tool

The External Tool activity module enables students to interact with learning resources and activities on other web sites. For example, an external tool could provide access to a new activity type or learning materials from a publisher.


To create an external tool activity, a tool provider which supports LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) is required. A teacher can create an external tool activity or make use of a tool configured by the site administrator. External tool activities differ from URL resources in a few ways:

  • External tools are context aware i.e. they have access to information about the user who launched the tool, such as institution, course and name
  • External tools support reading, updating, and deleting grades associated with the activity instance
  • External tool configurations create a trust relationship between your site and the tool provider, allowing secure communication between them
Feedback icon  Feedback

The Feedback activity module enables a teacher to create a custom survey for collecting feedback from participants using a variety of question types including multiple choice, yes/no or text input.

feedback activity

Feedback responses may be anonymous if desired, and results may be shown to all participants or restricted to teachers only. Any feedback activities on the site front page may also be completed by non-logged-in users. Feedback activities may be used: 

  • For course evaluations, helping improve the content for later participants
  • To enable participants to sign up for course modules, events etc.
  • For guest surveys of course choices, school policies etc.
  • For anti-bullying surveys in which students can report incidents anonymously
Forum icon  Forum

The Forum activity module enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time.

There are several forum types to choose from, such as a standard forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time; a forum where each student can post exactly one discussion; or a question and answer forum where students must first post before being able to view other students' posts. A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.


Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.

Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook. Forums have many uses, such as;

  • A social space for students to get to know each other
  • For course announcements (using a news forum with forced subscription)
  • For discussing course content or reading materials
  • For continuing online an issue raised previously in a face-to-face session
  • For teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
  • A help centre where tutors and students can give advice
  • A one-on-one support area for private student-teacher communications (using a forum with separate groups and with one student per group)
  • For extension activities, for example ‘brain teasers’ for students to ponder and suggest solutions to
Learn  more with The Ultimate Guide To Creating & Managing Moodle Forums For eLearning Success

H5P icon  H5P

The H5P activity enables H5P content created in the Content bank or on to be easily added to a course. H5P is an abbreviation for HTML5 Package - interactive content such as presentations, videos and other multimedia, questions, quizzes, games and more. 

content bank

Any question attempts are marked automatically, and the grade is recorded in the Gradebook.

Learn to add this content type to your course, see Add Interactive Content: H5P Content Bank.

Watch our on-demand Lambda Lab and learn how to build branching scenarios using H5P, a flexible way to present a variety of interactive content to learners.

Quiz icon  Quiz

The Quiz activity enables a teacher to create quizzes comprising questions of various types, including multiple choice, matching, short-answer and numerical.

The teacher can allow the quiz to be attempted multiple times, with the questions shuffled or randomly selected from the question bank. A time limit may be set.

Each attempt is marked automatically, with the exception of essay questions, and the grade is recorded in the gradebook.

Quiz screenshot

The CC/ID can choose when and if hints, feedback and correct answers are shown to learners. Quizzes may be used;

  • As course exams
  • As mini tests for reading assignments or at the end of a topic
  • As exam practice using questions from past exams
  • To deliver immediate feedback about performance
  • For self-assessment

A SCORM package is a collection of files which are packaged according to an agreed standard for learning objects. The SCORM activity module enables SCORM or AICC packages to be uploaded as a zip file and added to a course.

SCORM 1.2 screenshot


Content is usually displayed over several pages, with navigation between the pages. There are various options for displaying content in a pop-up window, with a table of contents, with navigation buttons etc. SCORM activities generally include questions, with grades being recorded in the gradebook. SCORM activities may be used;

  • For presenting multimedia content and animations
  • As an assessment tool


A quick guide on configuring activity completion conditions.

Table of Activity Completion Conditions

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Create a Supportive Learning Environment: Blocks

A great way to create a supportive and usable course environment for your learners is to use blocks. Blocks allow you to provide additional information to help your learners stay on track with their learning. These functional tools may be added to the left or right or centre column of any page in a course. 

Blocks can be added to a course by turning editing on then using the 'Add a block' drop-down menu.

add a block

The choice of selecting which  block to use depends very much on the needs of your course: fully self-paced and asynchronous,  online blended, the course format (weekly, by topic, social, etc.), the kind of users, etc.

Here are some of the more popular blocks we recommend to help your learners  stay on track with their learning:

Top Learner Engagement Blocks


The Activities block lists and allows navigation between the different activities available in your course: Forums, Quizzes, Assignments, Lesson module and so forth). The activities list will grow as you add activities to your course.

activities block

Whenever you add a different activity or resource to your course, an icon will appear in this block representing the specific course activity module. These icons will link to a list of all instances of that module's activity that appear throughout the course.

Completion Progress

The Completion Progress is a time-management tool for students. It visually shows what activities/resources a student is supposed to interact with in a course. It is colour-coded so students can quickly see what they have and have not completed/viewed.

Completion Progress block

The block relies on completion settings of activities/resources in the course and when they should be completed by. Ordering can be based on expected completion times or on the ordering of activities in the course.

There is an Overview page allowing teachers to see the progress of all students in a class, which is helpful for finding students at risk.

Activity Results

The Activity results block displays results from graded or rated activities in a course. Think of this block as a means of adding an element of gamification by way of a leader board.

It may be set to display on the main course page, or on the page of a particular activity. 

Activity Results Block

You can also choose to display a number of highest or lowest scores, and whether to display individuals or groups.

The block will display grades from quizzes, assignments, lessons and workshops.

Course Completion Status

The Course completion status block shows what has been done towards completing the course. The learner and teacher will both see this block.

The "More details" link will lead to a more detailed report. This report can have some interactive elements in the form of check boxes for the student and teacher.Course Completion Status Block

Course Overview 

The Course overview block enables learners to check their course progress.

What Learners See

The course overview is displayed on a learner's dashboard and displays three dropdowns;

    • an option to sort by all, current, future, in progress, starred or hidden courses

    • an option to display courses by last accessed or by title

    • an option to display course by cards, summary or list view

Past, In Progress and Future courses

  • For courses to appear in the 'Past' section, the course end date must be in the past or the course must be completed. If course completion is turned on in the course settings, the course will not appear in the 'Past' section until course completion conditions are met even if the course end date is in the past.

  • For courses to appear in the 'In Progress' section, they must be not yet completed and the current date must be after the course start date. The current date must be before the end date, or there is no end date. Courses 'In progress 'displayed in the Course overview block match the courses displayed in the navigation drawer, although a site administration navigation setting can limit this number.

  • For courses to appear in the 'Future' section, the student must be enrolled in them even though the course start date is in the future.


The Courses block lists and allows navigation between all of the courses in which the logged in user is enrolled in.

The block title shows as "My courses" and allows one-click access to a course's home page.

Courses Block


HTML block is a standard block used to add text, multimedia, widgets etc to a course page.

The block is flexible and can incorporate a variety of functions and uses in the content area. It has the standard Lambda Learn text editor for formatting text, adding images or creating links, switching to code view and allows any valid HTML mark-up to be used. This enables embedding video, sounds and other files which can add unique elements to a course page.

This block is useful for blended courses as course facilitators can put whatever they want like support contact or office hours or general information.

HTML Block example


Upcoming events

The Upcoming events block displays events from the calendar in a summarized list.


The number of days in advance and upcoming events to be displayed are determined in Site Administration > Appearance > Calendar.

Users can choose their own calendar display preferences from their Preferences page accessed from the user menu.

There is also a link to go directly to the main calendar.

If you click on a date, you will go to the day-view calendar for that day. If the title of the event is a link, and you click on it, you will be taken to that event.

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