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Start them off right – Moodle User Tours

This term, millions of educators and students will be signing in to learning management systems as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect formal learning.  Learning management systems are an essential means for educational systems to manage blended and online learning. One way to help learners and instructors alike on their initial exposure to a new course on a learning management system is an automated orientation.  If your institution is using Moodle, the User Tours feature is a technique to help familiarize new users with attributes and functions of your Moodle LMS.

What is a User Tour?

A tour is a series of pop-ups that point out key attributes on the current screen.  It will move around the screen as determined but the tour author.  End -users click on a Next button to continue or select the End Tour button if they wish to finish the tour.

Tours can be filtered to target end-users based their LMS role, theme, category, course, or course format.  For example, if you only want those users who are encountering a course for the first time, you can set this filter.  They see the tour once and are hopeful ready to use the course.  If they require the tour again, they click in a reset tour link at the bottom of the course page.

Tour attributes

Characteristics of the Moodle User Tour that provide enhanced performance are:

  • There is multilingual authoring available.  
  • It targets users by their role.
  • It targets specific location type within the LMS.
  • There is a Reset link for end-users to use if necessary.
  • There is a User Tour Repository to promote sharing and repurposing of tours.

Technical issues

The Moodle User Tours feature must be activated by the Moodle administrator.   You can choose to make the background of the screen opaque to highlight the pop up and point of interest. You can also locate an existing tour in the Tour Repository and import it into your Moodle.  Be careful to select the matching Moodle Theme for your tour so it will be able to locate all of the attributes.

When creating your tour, you must choose which type of element that your tour pop-up is pointing to.  The term used in Moodle is target type. There are three target types.

  1. Block to describe the functions of blocks whether on a course, the front page or on the Dashboard.
  2. CSS Selector, the points to specific items on the page based on CSS on the Moodle page. Note:  You must use the browser’s developer tools to locate this.  If this is too difficult, find a web specialist to help you out or use the CSS selector links for your browser in the Moodle Tour Documents page)
  3. Middle of the Page displays the pop-up in the middle of the page.

Final thought

Of course, the Moodle User tour feature will not prove educators and learners with all of the skills and knowledge that they will require to complete their courses.  However, it is on technique that will nudge them into a good learning experience.  Frequently Asked Question pages, live help, structured training, sound course design, accessible just-in-time video and document resources are other elements that are required to increase the likelihood of a successful introduction to an unfamiliar LMS.


CSS Selectors, https://mzl.la/33ovHtE

Moodle User Tours, https://youtu.be/hhLVvyP3DU0

Moodle Documents- User Tours, https://bit.ly/3bWryAN

John Allan

John Allan

John is a Canadian who writes about learning object development and online facilitation from a teacher's perspective.

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