The Lesson activity (also known as the Lesson module) is a way of presenting content and quiz questions to your students. At its most basic, a Lesson activity can be used to present content in a linear fashion; the student progressing through the content by clicking a ‘continue’ button at the bottom of the page. Used to its full capacity, the Lesson activity can be used to create an adaptive learning experience where, depending on the student's choice of answer, students may progress to the next page, be taken back to a previous page or redirected down a different path entirely.

Questions which can be added to a Lesson activity include essay type questions, multiple choice, matching, numerical, short answer, and true/false. questions can also be exported from your question bank, before being imported into your Lesson activity. It is important to note that only the question types mentioned above can be exported into the Lesson activity.

Lesson activity for assessment

A lesson may be graded or ungraded. You can choose to grade a Lesson manually, or automatically, although this choice is also dependent upon the types of questions you use in your Lesson activity.

While the Lesson activity within LEO can be used for the purposes of graded assessment, this use is not recommended. In lieu of using the Lesson activity, we would recommend using the Quiz activity, which has the ability to deliver graded quiz questions to students, but without the additional adaptive learning functionality which makes the Lesson activity an exceptional flexible content delivery tool.

Map your lesson activity

A Lesson activity is made up of three elements: content pages, question pages, and clusters (a cluster is a set of pages from which one page can be randomly chosen). The key feature of the Lesson activity is its capacity to deliver flexible, adaptive learning experiences to students, as well as delivering detailed reports and statistics to teaching staff on its use.

It is best practice to map your Lesson activity out visually, before you start to develop it within LEO. You can use pen and paper, post-it notes, the ‘SmartArt’ function in Word, or any number of Free cloud-based mind-mapping programs to help you design the activity (we recommend MindMup but there are lots of options to try).

Using the Lesson activity, you could develop a branching simulation to test your students’ knowledge at the application level. For example, you could develop a medical simulation where some text and/or an image is embedded on a content page regarding a patient’s complaint. The student could be given two options on the proceeding question page; to order a test, or do nothing. If the student makes the choice to order a test then the test’s ‘results’ will be made available to them, and the student will be given different choices again. Each page could include an option to switch from diagnosis to treatment (and back again) which could lead the student to a different set of options.

(activity example from Lea, L (2013). Best practices: Leveraging the Lesson Module for differentiated learning. [online] Retrieved from [Accessed 21 January 2020)

Mary Cooch demonstrates adaptive learning using the Lesson activity.

  • The main benefit of the Lesson activity is its ability to deliver personalised learning experiences to students. Similar to ‘choose your own adventure’ books, a well-designed and constructed Lesson activity will adjust according to the choices that student makes as they progress through the activity.
  • The Lesson activity has the capacity to accommodate for different learning styles. For example, you could give students the option of watching a video, listening to a podcast, or reading some text before attempting the same Quiz question.

NOTE: Students are not able to easily print out the content of a Lesson activity. If you are looking to present linear content in a dynamic format we suggest you use the 'Book’ activity. All of the ‘chapters’ of a Book are able to be printed at one time.

  • To learn more please read our LEO Guide on the Book activity, and the accompanying resource 'How to set up a Book'.

Moodle 3.9: Lesson activity

Carr, L. (2016). How I learned to Stop worrying about SCORM and love the Moodle Lesson Activity. Moodle Moot UK Ireland 2016. Retrieved from: [Accessed 26 May 2016].

Carr, L. (2014) The Moodle Lesson Activity truly is an amazing content creator. [online]Lewis Carr. Creative Moodle blog. Retrieved from: [Accessed 26 May 2016]

Hanley, T. (2015). Using Moodle’s lesson activity. [online] Educational Vignettes, City University London. Available at: [Accessed 25 May 2016].

Romero, D. (2013). Moodle 2 Lesson Activity Showcase. [online] Convergence: Creating Tomorrow's CLE, University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from [Accessed 25 May 2016].

How I learned to stop worrying about SCORM and love the Moodle Lesson Activity

In this presentation, given at MoodleMoot Ireland UK 2016, Lewis Carr (@lewiscarr) talks about his own use of the Lesson activity to create adaptive learning experiences, and demonstrates some innovative uses of the Lesson activity.

Research from the Journal of Physical Therapy Education outlines how faculty staff at the Medical University of South Carolina developed a clinical-reasoning lesson using the Lesson activity. The Lesson activity included a videotape of a patient interview, a series of questions, a literature review, and other relevant materials and interactive elements. What resulted was a guided learning activity which simulated scenarios which a practitioner might face, which demonstrated the real-world impacts of the clinical-reasoning process.

The students were surveyed both before and after using the Self-Assessment of Clinical Reflection and Reasoning (SACRR) method. The results of this survey showed statistically significant change in 17 of the 26 items measuring students' self-assessment of their clinical reasoning. Students also “demonstrated overall student satisfaction with use of the Moodle lesson for the delivery of the clinical-reasoning lesson”.

Seif, Gretchen A, PT, DPT,O.C.S., F.A.A.O.M.P.T., Brown, Debora, PT,D.P.T., M.T.C. & Annan-Coultas, D. 2013. "Fostering Clinical-Reasoning Skills in Physical Therapist Students Through an Interactive Learning Module Designed in the Moodle Learning Management System", Journal of Physical Therapy Education, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 32-40.

Page last updated on 14/01/2021

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