2. Lambda Learn (Moodle & Totara)

Importing Quiz Questions




The Aiken format is a very simple way of creating multiple choice questions using a clear human-readable format in a text file.

The question must be all on one line. Each answer must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period '.' or a bracket ')', then a space. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with "ANSWER: " (NOTE the space after the colon) and then giving the appropriate letter.

For more information on this quiz import format, see AIKEN Format.

  • You must save the file in a text format (*.txt). 
  • Non-ASCII characters like 'quotes' can cause import errors. To avoid this always save your text file in UTF-8 format (most text editors, even MS Word, will ask you).
  • The answer letters (A,B,C etc.) and the word "ANSWER" must be capitalized as shown below, otherwise the import will fail.

Here is an example of the format:

What is the correct answer to this question?
A. Is it this one?
B. Maybe this answer?
C. Possibly this one?
D. Must be this one!

The GIFT format has many more options and perhaps is less prone to errors, but doesn't look as straight-forward as AIKEN



    It's possible to import both .dat files containing just questions text or zip archives containing questions and associated medias (images, sounds, ...).

    If your questions contains images they are imported too.

    Also both Blackboard POOL and QTI files are supported.

    Questions produced with TestGen and Examview softwares and saved as Blackboard files are imported.

    If the zip archives contains several resources files all questions from all files are imported. "Undeployed" Blackboard quiz are also supported.

    Follow these steps to import questions:

    1. Create a quiz with questions in Examview Test Generator v. 6.2.1 or another question generator able to save questions as Blackboard files like TestGen.
    2. Export the quiz to Blackboard 6.0-7.0 format.
    3. From the Settings tab for your course choose Question bank and then Import. Make sure you use the Blackboard format.

    Embedded Answers (Cloze)

    This format consist of a passage of text that has various answers embedded within it, including multiple choice, short answers and numerical answers.

    You can link to an external web site that does create these questions from a graphical interface, such as the Online Cloze Question quiz generator , or an Excel-based Cloze and GIFT Generator .

    There is a Cloze editor for TinyMCE that will let you create these questions from a graphical interface within your Moodle site, but it will overwrite your current HTML editor and only works with the TinyMCE editor but not with Atto

    GIFT Format

    GIFT format allows someone to use a text editor to write multiple-choice, true-false, short answer, matching missing word and numerical questions in a simple format that can be imported. The GIFT format is also an export file format available in Question bank. 

    For more details on this format see GIFT Format.

    XML Format

    Quiz questions imported and exported from Lambda Learn in XML format.  For more information see Question Types XML Format.

    WebCT Format

    The WebCT format is able to import a number of WebCT question types: shortanswer, multichoice single answer and multichoice multiple answers, calculated and essays (that WebCT calls "paragraph" questions.) It can also import webCT zip files containing questions and images embedded in questions.


    Keep in mind that WebCT allows more than one "blank" per short answer question, whereas, Moodle will only accommodate one blank per question. Questions that used multiple short answers in a question will not convert successfully.

    Here are some examples of Multiple Choice and Short answer questions in a text file:

    # Start of question: Short Answer Question
    :TITLE:Short Answer Question
    What is the name of the WebCT Learning Hub?
    <br />
    Be sure to visit the Learning Hub\: www.WebCT.com
    # End of question: Short Answer Question

    # Start of question: Multiple Choice Question
    :TITLE:Multiple Choice Question
    Darwin invented the theory of evolution and created Darwinism.
    Where is the Darwin Research Center?
    Menlo Park, California
    Vancouver, Canada
    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
    Correct Answer!
    London, England
    Sidney, Australia
    # End of question: Multiple Choice Question

    Importing Questions From an Existing File

    It is possible to import questions from a file on your network/computer or from a file that has been saved or uploaded into your course files.

    TIP  TIP

    The underlying character encoding of this file is important.

    XML Format is the recommended import question type format as it enables the maximum amount of question data (such as question feedback) to be imported.

    Question Bank Import Process

    The question bank allows you a great deal of flexibility when importing questions. To import questions into the Question bank, use the Questions link in the course administration and select the Import option. 

    Import question formats from the import tab
    import question formats
    • Select import tab
    • Select the question type to import.
        General and import file parameters sections
        import file parameters
        • General: pick the category, determine if the context and category information that maybe contained in a GIFT or XML file should be used.
        • Select what should happen if there are no grades or an error is detected in the import process.
        • Choose the file to import
          • Import from file upload. Use the browse function to import a file from your computer. Use the "Upload this file" button to import the questions.
          • Import from file already in course files. A popup window will take you to the course files start page. Use the "Import from this file" button.

        Back to TOPICS

         Course Lesson Process

        The question types that can be imported from the Quiz questions bank into a course Lesson activity in a course are the following: Matching, Multichoice, Numerical, Short answer, True/false, and Essay.

        The Description and Cloze questions can not be imported from Quiz questions bank .

        Lesson screen asking which file type will be imported
        Lesson screen asking which file type will be imported
        • In edit, using the expanded view
        • Select the position where questions should be inserted into the lesson
        • Click on the Import question link between the pages.
        • Select the file type
        • Use the browse function to find the file on your computer
        • Import the selected file.

        Back to TOPICS


        Character Encoding

        It is important that the imported file is encoded in the UTF-8 standard.

        If this is not adhered to you may get import errors and/or strange characters in the imported materials. If the file is not UTF-8, an external tool must be used to change the encoding. Note that if only basic 'latin' characters are used, then the coding issue can generally be ignored. Be particularly careful when creating questions using Microsoft Word. For reasons best known to themselves, Microsoft used their own encoding for some characters (incompatible with UTF-8) and this is likely to break the import.

        Note:If you are having problems with the first question (or category modifier) in the file being misinterpreted (this particularly applies to GIFT format) it might be your editor adding a "Byte-Order-Mark" character at the beginning of the file. This is particularly common in Windows programs (e.g. Notepad) and is another good reason to steer clear of Microsoft products for text editing (as apposed to word processing). There are plenty of free or low cost text editors available for download. The BOM is neither recommended or required as UTF8 does not have byte order issues.

        Match Grades

        Imported grades must exactly match one of the fixed list of valid grades, as follows:

        100, 90, 80, 75, 70, 66.666, 60, 50, 40, 33.333, 30, 25, 20, 16.666, 14.2857, 12.5, 11.111, 10, 5, 0

        negative values of the above list are also permitted.

        There are two settings for this switch. They affect how the import routine treats values that do not exactly match one of the values in the above list

        • Error if grade not listed - If a question contains any grades not found in the list an error is displayed and that question will not be imported.
        • Nearest grade if not listed - If a grade is found that does not match a value in the list, the grade is changed to the closest matching value in the list

        NOTE  NOTE

        Some custom import formats write directly to the database and may bypass this check.

        TIP  TIP

        • It may be easier and faster to type many questions into a single text file, than to create a series of Quiz or Lesson question pages. Some teachers report that once they master creating questions in one of the formats to import, they do not have to wait for their Moodle site screen to refresh and the process of selecting the next question type to create.
        • Want to use questions from your quiz in a Lesson? Export the question category in say a GIFT format, then use a text editor to delete questions, or perhaps use a search and replace function to change names or places.