Manage Course Progress, Completion & Grades

This article covers the basics of tracking learner progress in a course in Lambda Learn: course completion, activity completion, grades, badges, and certificates.


Introduction to Course Completion

There are several ways to track learner progress in Lambda Learn. 

  • Course completion: Enables course creators to specify conditions that define when a learner has completed a course.
  • Activity completion: Enables course creators to specify conditions that define when a learner has completed an activity, for example when a certain number of posts have been made, or a grade has been reached.
  • Grades: Every course has its own Gradebook. Some activities such as Assignment and Quiz send grades back to this gradebook. 

  • Competencies: Competencies describe the level of understanding or proficiency of a learner in certain subject-related skills. 

  • Badges: These can be awarded either manually or using activity completion settings in a course and are a popular way to motivate learners. Learners may be awarded badges at different stages of the course for different levels of progress.

  • Certificates: These can be awarded based on predefined conditions set by the instructor using activity completion settings.  This is on way of recognizing course completion.



Course completion does not have a "restrict access" function, i.e., course completion dependency, or 'prerequisite' does NOT prevent learners from accessing courses they are actively enrolled in. It merely prevents the course from being marked as "complete" until they have completed the first course.

At this level, Course completion is best thought of as a report, that can show if the student has completed another course(s) that is marked as a "completion dependent" course.

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Course Completion

Course completion can show the progress a learner is making towards finishing the course according to specific criteria. The criteria can include meeting an activity's grade level or a manual checking "complete" by either the learner and/or an instructor.

Course Completion Progress

Course Completion Enable Site Level Course Completion

At the site level, Completion tracking must be enabled in Site administration > Advanced features > Enable completion tracking for it to be available for use in courses.

Site Completion tracking


Once enabled on the site level, course creators or course designers must enable completion tracking for each course.

Enable Course Completion  Enable Course Completion Tracking

Once course completion has been enabled at the site level, course creators can then enable course completion for their course by setting 'Enable completion tracking' to "Yes" in the Edit course settings page for their course.

completion tracking in course settings2


When Completion tracking is enabled, it may be set in the activity settings and/or course completion conditions. It is recommended to have this enabled so that meaningful data is displayed in the course overview on the Dashboard.

Course completion tracking also enables Activity completion.

A Course completion link will then appear in the gear menu or the navigation block. Clicking there will display three tabs:

course completion settings

Course Completion Settings


Choose here how you wish to mark the course complete -whether you want Any or All of the requirements that follow to count towards completion.

Condition: Activity completion

Select the boxes of the activities you wish to count towards completion of the course. (You need to have Activity completion enabled to be able to do this. You can decide whether ALL of the activities must be completed or ANY one of them.

Condition: Completion of other courses This setting allows you to make "the completion of another course" as a condition for completing the course you are currently working in. This does not block the student from your current course; it simply means that the current course will not be marked complete until the first course has been marked complete. Thus, completion of the current course is dependent upon completion of an earlier course. Just select one or more courses in the "Courses available box".
Condition: Date

If you select the Enable box you can then set a date after which the course will be declared complete.

Condition: Enrolment duration

If you select the Enable box you can then choose a number of days after enrolment upon which the course will be marked complete.

Condition: Unenrolment

If you select "Enable" here then the course will be marked complete once the student is unenrolled.

Condition: Course grade

If you select the Enable box, you can set a passing grade for the course. Please note that course grade in Completion status is looking at total of points (rawgrade) rather than a percentage.

Condition: Manual self-completion

If this is enabled then a student can mark the course complete themselves from the Self completion block.

Condition: Manual completion by others

Users with selected roles may mark the course as complete if their role is ticked here. The roles listed are ones for which the capability Mark users as complete in course completion is allowed.

ALL means that each role must mark the course complete before; ANY means that it will be classed as complete once one role has marked it complete.


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Activity Completion

Activity completion, or completion tracking, has a two-fold purpose:

  1. For instructors, facilitators and course designers, activity completion tracking helps you track a learner's progress and identify potential areas of concern.
  2. For learners, activity completion tracking provides them with a visual guided progression through the learning module with the use of checkboxes on the side of resources or activities. It is particularly useful for self-study modules.

There are two types of completion checkboxes to help your users:

  • Complete when conditions are met  Dotted. The checkboxes with dotted lines are automatically ticked when a learner hits a certain criteria, such as completing a quiz.
  • Students can manually mark the activity as completed Solid. Checkboxes with solid lines can be clicked manually by learner to display that they have completed the activity.

When completion tracking is enabled, checkboxes appear on new resources and activities you add to the course.

In pre-existing courses where completion tracking were not previously enabled, you would need to manually change the setting of each resource and activity by Turn editing on > go to the activity/resource > Edit > Edit settings > scroll-down and look for Activity completion> under Completion tracking drop-down menu, select completion option you want, then save and return to course.

Completion tracking  Activity Completion Tracking Settings

There are three options for activity completion tracking:

    1. Do not indicate activity completion  This will not show a checkbox next to the activity.

    2. Students can manually mark the activity as completed Students can manually mark the activity as completed.  Learner select the completion checkbox to mark and change it. (Note: they can do this even without doing the activity!)

    3. Complete when conditions are met Show activity as complete when conditions are met.  The selected completion criteria must be met . A check mark will appear in the completion checkbox once criteria for that particular activity has been met.

activity completion conditions

Activity Completion Tracking Conditions

Require View

When this option is selected for resources such as Files, Pages, Links, etc, learners are required to view the activity i.e. click the link in order to complete it. 

Require Grade

If you have set up a grade setting for your activity, you can require your learners to either receive any grade to get a completion check, or to receive a passing grade (if it has been determined).  

Require Submission

This condition can be used in a variety of activities, like Assignment, Quiz, Forum, and Feedback. Though it may mean different things in each context, it effectively means that the user must provide some sort of interaction with the activity.

An example might be a user submitting a document, posting a reply to a forum, or providing their feedback.

For a summary of the completion tracking settings you can use for the standard activities included in Lambda Learn


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Completion Based Access: Restrict Access

Restrict access  is feature in Lambda Learn that allows you to create conditional activities for progress in a course. Course creators and instructional designers can restrict access to an activity or resource by setting conditions such as dates (e.g. the resource or activity is only available to access on the date you specify), achieving a particular score on another activity (e.g. Quiz, Assignment, Checklist etc.) or a particular resource or activity needs to be completed. Once the condition(s) have been met, the resource or activity would be available to access. 

Restricting access to an activity, resource, or even sections, allows you to create a pathway for learners, depending on specific requirements. You can also use a combination of these requirements, or use them in a nested form, also known as a Restriction set, to apply complex logic.

In each resource or activity setting page, there is a section labelled as “Restrict Access”, where you can set conditions. To access this section, Turn editing on > go to the activity or recourse > Edit > Edit settings > scroll-down and look for Restrict Access > click on Add restriction.. > Select which restriction you would like to add e.g. Date, Grade.

Restrict Access Setting Options

Restict Access Settings_

  1. Student...match the following
    1. 'must'
    2. 'must not'
  2. hide  The eye icon allows you to control the "visibility" of the activity you are restricting:
    1.  If the eye is SHUT then students who do not meet that part of the condition will not see the activity at all.
    2. If the eye is OPEN the students who do not meet that part of the condition will see the activity but it will be greyed out and have information about why they can't access it yet.
  3. 'Activity completionThere are two dropdown menus in this setting:
    1. The first, offers you the selection of resources and activities you have added to your course as a precondition of completion to gain access.
    2. The second shows you the conditions that are associated with a specific activity, such as a grade, a minimum score or a pass.
  4. The 'Add restriction' button allows you to add more restriction options to create a complex logic sequence. 

The example below, a user is restricted from accessing the "A resource packaged according to IMS CP" unless they fulfil the condition set out by "Advantages of Using the 'Page' Resource" activity.  The combination of activity completion tracking  in conjunction with restricting access enables you to create a "guided" conditional flow of activities to enhance and increase learner engagement. 

Restrict Access and Completion Tracking



GAMIFY Your Courses Using Quests

You’ve probably heard the word “gamification” bouncing around. It’s definitely a buzz word with growing popularity as more people are realizing its effectiveness. If you don’t know already, gamification is “the insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behaviour”. In other words, it makes the boring parts of anything more fun by adding points systems, badges, and other features of game playing.

According to Salesforce, 71% of companies saw a measured increase in sales performance from gamification. According to, Hewlett-Packard reported that gamification in sales helped raise their total revenue by 31-44% (depending on region). No matter how big or small your business is, these numbers can’t be ignored.

Quest graphic

One way to "gamify" your training and development initiatives is to use quests, a task-based journey with obstacles that your learners must overcome. The quests approach to eLearning could cover a single course, or span a series of courses (e.g., certifications or programs). It really is up to you.

  1. To create a quest begin with the end in mind and determine what it is that you want your users to learn. What desired behaviours are they being trained for? Your selection of quest could be based on real life scenarios such as case studies or problems to solve. Alternatively, the quest could be a totally fun and fantastic story. The sky is the limit. Try one or try both.
  2. Quests can be contained in a single course, or a series of courses with subquests leading to a final quest. You can use your training goals to map out your quest(s) where your outcomes or competencies represent the different stages of that quest. 
  3. Next determine the tasks (resources and activities) needed to complete the goals of the quest(s). Making sure to note of the order and type of completion (manual or conditional), and the points at which a stage or the quest itself is deemed achieved.
  4. Then go to your course and add/create resources and activities for those tasks accordingly. 
  5. Most quests begin with a “Quest Giver” typically yourself or the first piece of content that learners access for the quest. When a learner completes a task the next step in the quest is revealed automatically.Use activity completion tracking  in combination with  restrict access (also known as activity locking) to release content and create a path. This works well for short term activities although you can release a whole topic and once everything has been completed within that topic the next topic can be released using the same techniques.
  6. A great way of adding more elements of gamification, is to recognize task or "quest" completion and use badges and/or certificates. See section on Recognize Completion below.
    To learn more, we have an article on how gamification badges motivate learners to succeed.

Create a Path Other Methods to Restrict Access

In addition to Activity Completion, there are also other ways you can restrict access:


If your course is time or duration based, you may consider sequencing the activities to unlock after a specific date, so that users don't jump ahead. You could also do it so that the activity becomes unavailable after a specific date.


A straightforward restriction that allows you to choose the grade that a user should (or shouldn't) have received on a gradable activity. 

Additionally, you can choose the grade to be within a range, so for example, students must have received a grade between 40% and 60% to gain access to this activity. This would be useful for supplementary resources for learners.

Group, Grouping or User Profile

The restriction that is not dependent on completion or time is the Group, Grouping or User Profile restrictions. You can restrict the access to users who belong to a group (within that course context), or have a specified value in one of the fields in their profile.

This works well for providing resources or activities that are specific to a group of users that others within the course might not need to access (like teacher materials, or group-specific resources). 

Course Completed

Similar to the activity completion restriction, you can do likewise with Courses (as long as they have Completion Conditions setup). 

This restriction works well if you have a program of courses, and want to have users discuss in a forum their thoughts on other courses, but only if they have completed them.

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Manage Grades: The Gradebook

Every course has its own Gradebook.  When you add graded activities (such as quizzes, assignments, lesson activities, etc.) to your course, they are automatically tied to your Lambda Learn gradebook as a grade item

All the grades for each student in a course can be found in the course gradebook, or 'Grader report', accessed from the Grades link either in the nav drawer or navigation block.

access grades through course



For a summary of the completion tracking settings you can use for the standard activities included in Lambda Learn

DOWNLOAD: Gradebook Basics

Lambda Learn Gradebook Basics

Grades Management Grades Management

Lambda Learn offers various means of managing grades. Below are some of the options you can choose from depending on the needs of your organization.


If you want to organize your content to be weighted or graded differently, you can configure that within the Gradebook using categories. 

End-users won't directly see the category an activity belongs to, but teachers or admins can see how the activities within a course are weighted using the Gradebook Setup page. 

Manual Grade Items

The Gradebook also allows for offline items or activities to be included. Some examples might be things like Extra Credit, attendance, a Face-to-Face review or quiz. These can be and manually created from Course administration > Grades > Set up > Categories and items.


If you have more than one activity in your course, or several categories, you may want to select how you assign weight, or calculate, the grades of the activities.

You can choose from a range of Simple Weighted Mean, Weighted Mean, Natural aggregation, or highest/lowest and median/mode of grades. 

With this in mind, you can also choose to hide activities, exclude them, choose a grade to pass, and add a multiplicator.

Letters / Scales

There are other ways to show grades to learners, such as the use of Letters or grading based on a scale.

You can define the range for which a letter is received, or if you use a system other than letters, you can configure that as well. 


Outcomes are specific descriptions of what a student has demonstrated and understood at the completion of an activity or course. Each outcome is rated by some sort of scale. Other terms for outcomes are 'Competencies' and 'Goals'.

In simple terms, outcomes are similar to sub components of a grade. Outcomes assess specific levels of knowledge through a series of statements, that maybe coded with numbers or letters. Thus an overall grade can be given for a course, along with statements about specific competencies in the form of outcomes.

Import / Export

If you have grades existing from another source or would like to handle the grade information in other software, you can use the Import / Export feature for the Gradebook.

To export grades from the gradebook:

    1. Choose an export format from the gradebook dropdown menu or in the Administration block under Grade administration > Export.
    2. Set options as required.

To import grades into the gradebook:

    1. Decide on an import format - CSV or XML file, or paste from spreadsheet (see below) - then export some grades using the corresponding export format.
    2. Edit the export file as appropriate and save it.
    3. Tip: If you opened your exported file in Excel, don't add columns there because Lambda Learn (Moodle) will reject the import if there are new columns that didn't exist in the exported file. If you need to add columns, do that in the LMS BEFOREyou export your gradebook.
    4. Select your chosen import format from the gradebook dropdown menu.
    5. Browse and upload your previously saved file.
    6. Set options as required

grades Grade Items & the Gradebook

The three building blocks of the Gradebook are:


Gradebook Building Blocks

Grade item

A grade item is a unit (typically an activity) 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.

The settings affect the calculation and display of the grades in the gradebook.

Grade items may refer to course activities (e.g. a quiz, an assignment etc.), course outcomes or manual grades. They are represented by columns in the grader report.

Grade category

Grades can be organised into grade categories. A grade category has its own aggregated grade which is calculated from its grade items. There is no limit to the level of nesting of categories (a category may belong to another category). However, each grade item may belong to only one category.

All grade items and categories belong to at least one, permanent category: the course category.

Within a category, a grade summary is also a grade item itself. Summary grade items for a category can show up in reports, and can be used in the calculation of the grade for the parent category.

Grade A grade is an assessment of overall performance that may include tests, participation, attendance and projects.  There are 4 grade types:
  1. None - No grading possible
  2. Value - A numerical value with a maximum and minimum
  3. Scale - An item in a list e.g., Fail, Acceptable, Average, Excellent
  4. Text - Feedback only
For more information one how to configure the online gradebook and how to manually add graded items to the gradebook, check out our Lambda Learn Gradebook Basics.

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 Grade Item Settings  Course Grade Item Settings

Course grade settings determine how the gradebook appears for all participants in the course. The default course grade settings are set by an administrator in Site administration > Grades.

Various default options for the gradebook are set at system level by the administrator and can be marked as being overridable by you, or fixed. This means that the options will not always be set up the same way for every user when they see the grader report for the first time.

Course grade settings are found in Administration > Grade administration > Course grade settings or via the gradebook Settings tab.

The set up for each activity is different. Some activities are designed to allow grading. The grades displayed are initially displayed as the raw marks from the assessments themselves, so will depend on how you set those up, e.g. a quiz out of 20 will appear as however many raw marks that student got, not a percentage (although this can be changed later). The settings below illustrate the grade options you can have on the Quiz activity.

Example of a grade setting: Quiz activity

grade settings for quiz
Grade category

This setting controls the category in which this activity's grades are placed in the gradebook. 

Grade to pass

This setting determines the minimum grade required to pass.

The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted and green and fail grades in red.

Attempts allowed This setting controls the number of attempts you allow the user to take and retake the quiz activity. It can be set to 'Unlimited' or a number from 1 to 10.
Grading method

When multiple attempts are allowed, the following methods are available for calculating the final quiz grade:

  • Highest grade of all attempts.
  • Average (mean) grade of all attempts.
  • First attempt (all other attempts are ignored).
  • Last attempt (all other attempts are ignored).

Some activity grade items may also include ratings as a potential grading method. For example, the Forum activity has setting for both grading and ratings.

grading and or rating
Whole forum grading

When grading is enabled from here, grading options appear, allowing the teacher to select points or a scale. Advanced grading methods such as rubrics may also be used and can be selected from the forum cog (settings) menu / Advanced grading.


Forums use a rating scale which you can customise. You can also set a "Grade to pass" which may be connected with Activity completion and Restrict access such that a learner will not be able to access a follow up activity until they have obtained a required grade (rating) in the forum.

By default, only teachers can rate forum posts, though students can be given permission to do so if desired (see forum permissions below). This is a useful tool for giving students participation grades. Any ratings given in the forum are recorded in the gradebook.

You can set an 'aggregate type' to decide how all the ratings given to posts in a forum are combined to form the final grade (for each post and for the whole forum activity).


Many grade settings come from an activity's setting page. To understand how to add scores and tabulate a final grade, see the Lambda Learn Gradebook Basics.

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Measuring Proficiency: Competencies

Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that you require your learners to possess and that you may measure their performance against.

Competency-based learning or Skills-based learning, refers to systems of assessment and grading where learners demonstrate these competencies.

  • Competencies may be enabled by an administrator in Site administration > Competencies.
  • Administrators can then set up competency frameworks and add competencies to them. 
  • They can then create learning plan templates, add competencies to them and assign learning plans to individuals  or groupings or users. 
Competency Linking  moodleM2 totara icon
Courses orange check mark green check mark
Course Activity orange check mark green check mark
Learning Plan orange check mark green check mark
Learner orange check mark green check mark
User Groups: Cohorts or Teams orange check mark green check mark
Position or Job Role green check mark
Organization or Department green check mark

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Recognize Completion

Course and activity completion shows the progress a learner is making towards finishing the course according to specific criteria. An excellent way of celebrating achievement is through the use of badges and certificates. 

The use of badges and certificates is also an effective way to "gamify" your course to engage learners and motivate them to complete more courses to earn points and badges.


Badges may be awarded based on a variety of chosen criteria and may be displayed on a user's profile or pushed to their Badgr backpack and public badge collections in their backpack will display in their profile. There are two categories of badges: site badges and course badges.

Read our article on how Digital Badges create opportunities to engage learners.

site badge icon   Site Badges

Site badges are available to users site-wide and related to the site wide activities, like finishing a set of courses.

Badges are enabled by default in Site administration / Advanced features and can be managed from Site administration / Badges / Manage badges.  The  criteria for awarding site badges are as follows:

Site Badge Criteria


Criteria for Awarding Site Badges

Manual issue by role Allows a badge to be awarded manually by "any" or "all" authorized users who have a particular role within the site or course: Manager, Non-editing teacher, Teacher, Head Teacher. 
Completing a  set of courses Allows a badge to be awarded based on the completion of all the selected required courses. 
Awarded badges Allows a badge to be awarded based on the other badges the user has earned.
Profile completion Allows a badge to be awarded to users for completing certain fields in their profile. You can select from default and custom profile fields that are available to users.
Cohort membership Allows a badge to be awarded to users based on their cohort membership.
Competencies Allows a badge to be awarded to users based on the competencies they have completed.


All existing badges are displayed in a table showing current badge image, name, status, criteria, how many users have already earned this badge and a set of available actions.

Other settings are the same as for course badges. Badges which have manual award among their criteria can be issued by one user to another. Users who issue a badge must have "moodle/badges:awardbadge" capability. Site administrators can choose their role when issuing a badge.


Versions of badgers make it easy to keep track of badges over a period of time or badges at different levels or languages.

Endorsements are third-party accreditations (official or unofficial) such as from an external body or the management of an institution, adding value to a badge by giving it their approval.


course badge icon  Course Badges

Course badges are available to users enrolled in the course and related to the activities that happen inside the course.

If course badges have been enabled by the administrator then the course creator will see a Badges section from the More link when clicking the cog icon (Boost theme) or from Badges in the course administration block (non-Boost themes).

New badges may be added by clicking the 'Add a new badge' button, while clicking the name of an existing badge allows you to view its details and make changes if it is not enabled.

Badges Management Page


When the initial details have been added and the badge uploaded, clicking to continue leads to the screen where the criteria must be set along with extra information.


A badge must only be enabled once all necessary settings have been added.

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Certificates are 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.

This is a short list of settings for certificates in Lambda Learn:.

    • General - Certificate name and introduction. The certificate will use the course name, this is the link name.
    • Issue options -Here you can set email options, determine if you want to save and how user views the certificate. You can set minimum time the user must be in the course before issuing the certificate.
    • Text options - determine date, security code, grade outcomes, credit hours, teachers names, custom text.
    • Design (and image) options - select certificate type/print orientation, select images for border, lines, watermark, signature, seal or say no to any or all of these options.
    • Locking options - if conditional dependencies has been turned on by the site administrator, teacher can set standards that must be met before certificate can be issued.
Certificates Available

standard certificate icon  Certificate (Standard)

The Certificate  can be added to a course just like any other activity in Lambda Learn.

Customization of this certificate is limited and may be set while setting up the activity in the course.

custom certificat icon  Custom Certificate


The Custom Certificate allows the generation of dynamic PDF certificates with complete customization via the web browser. It is different from the standard Certificate which requires PHP and FTP access in order to customize its appearance.

To configure the Custom Certificate you need to log in as a user with appropriate permissions and visit 'Site administration' > 'Plugins' > 'Custom certificate'.

custom certificate settings

Show position X and Y

This will show the X and Y position when editing of an element, allowing the user to accurately specify the location.

This isn't required if you plan on solely using the drag and drop interface for this purpose.

Manage templates

This link will take you to a new screen where you will be able to manage templates. Templates allow a person with the appropriate permissions to create a site-wide template that can then be used by users when adding a certificate to a course, saving them from re-creating the same certificate over and over again. 

To create a template log in as a user who has the appropriate permissions and visit 'Site administration' > 'Plugins' > 'Custom certificate' and click on the link 'Manage templates'.

Upload image

This link will take you to a new screen where you will be able to upload images. Images uploaded using this method will be available throughout your site to all users who are able to create a custom certificate.

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More Resources LOOKING FOR MORE?

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