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Moodle quizzes in language teaching – ‘Drag and drop’ questions

In my last post, I promised to cover different quiz question types that I have found useful in language teaching. I will start my walkthrough with the two ‘drag and drop’ question types: ‘drag and drop into text’, and ‘drag and drop onto image’.

‘Drag and drop into text’

Technically, the quiz question is easily set up – follow the instructions here.

This type of question makes students reflect upon text cohesion. You can choose a grammatical or a lexical focus for your quiz (focus on function words vs. content words).

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Remove all the pronouns (he, she, him, ours, my, herself…) and let students use their knowledge of grammar to put the correct words back into place.
  • Remove the prepositions (in, at, on, into, under…). Prepositions are known to cause problems for most language students, also at later stages of language learning when struggling with idiomatic expressions (for instance phrasal verbs like to agree with/about/on/to). Very often, the correct prepositions cannot be guessed, so students have to learn the expressions as a whole. As a teacher, you can use ‘drag and drop’ questions with prepositions to support this process.
  • Remove content words, such as nouns, verbs, or adjectives, to train reading comprehension strategies. Students will have to use their global understanding of the text in order to determine which words fit where.

‘Drag and drop onto image’

Follow these steps to set up a ‘drag and drop onto image’ quiz question correctly.

Using images adds a visual element and colourfulness to your Moodle quizzes and is a suitable tool to meet the needs of more visual learners. In a language learning context, I find this question type especially useful to support the acquisition of vocabulary.

Use websites (e.g. Pixabay, Pexels, or Unsplash) to find free stock images for your exercises. Personally, I am fond of arranging several images in a collage – there are plenty of free collage makers available on the internet, such as Fotor.

‘Drag and drop onto image’ questions make sense whenever there is a connection between words (vocabulary, terminology) and visual representations of learning content.

Some ideas:

  • Pick any lexical fields (e.g. body parts, emotions, colours, types of housing, animals, clothing, landscapes, weather phenomena, food – only fantasy is the limit!) and find suitable, free images on the internet. Let students drag and drop the correct terms onto the collage.
  • Use images of maps and let students drag the correct names of countries, languages, capitols, or ethnicities onto the map.
  • Images of stairs or ladders can be used to illustrate taxonomies, hierarchies, or steps in a work process (e.g. various steps of analysis).
  • Use images or collages to illustrate technical or specialised terms.  As a teacher of adult learners working in specialised areas, you may find that your own knowledge of the required technical language is limited. However, you can still scaffold the acquisition of technical terminology by drawing on your students’ knowledge and experience. Let your students provide the relevant images (and maybe even terms), and create collages and ‘drag and drop’ exercises together.

Benefits of ‘drag and drop’ questions

One of the big advantages of ‘drag and drop’ questions is their intuitive use. ‘Drag and drop’ exercises are widely used in second language teaching, so most students will be familiar with this question type. This makes lengthy instructions unnecessary. ‘Drag and drop’ exercises also form part of the classical repertoire of language testing and are thus helpful tools to prepare students for tests and exams.

You can make your quizzes more difficult by adding extra words to confuse your students. The closer these words are in meaning, the more demanding the exercise becomes for your students. However, it must be possible to determine whether a word fits or not in a particular context.

Question types with images make your quizzes more colourful and illustrative. They are thus suitable for learners of different ages, levels of language proficiency, and educational background.

Stay tuned for a discussion of more Moodle question types in my upcoming posts!

Ruth Horak

Ruth Horak

Based in Denmark since 1998, Ruth is an Innovation & Educational Technology Consultant and has been a teacher of Danish as a 2nd Language at Københavns Sprogcenter (although she is a native German speaker, and also proficient in English and Norwegian). Her specialties and areas of interest include alternative pathways of learning, method development, adult education, ICT, Moodle (of course!), gamification, teaching, design & development of teaching material, project development & management.

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