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Getting to grips with H5P

Dr Alex Standen on using Moodle and eXtend tools to develop a more interactive learning experience for participants in two online courses – personal tutoring and research supervision.

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21 July 2020

In order to meet the high demand for training and development opportunities for personal tutors and research supervisors, UCL Arena Centre offers online courses hosted in the University's outward-facing virtual learning environment, UCL eXtend.

Interactive features with H5P

Both courses benefit from the interactive features offered by H5P, an easy-to-use Moodle plug-in that is available in all Moodle and eXtend courses.

The courses are self-paced rather than cohort-based, and as such are entirely asynchronous, so when designing them it was key to make sure they were as engaging as possible for participants.

What is H5P?

H5P is a plugin that allows for the creation of interactive content like PresentationsGamesQuizzes and more directly within Moodle. H5P is an abbreviation for HTML5. 

Why use it?

H5P is a good alternative to Flash-based and SCORM-bases content which makes the process of both creating and maintaining rich, interactive content much quicker and easier. 

Who can use it?

H5P Interactive Activities can be made within Moodle by anyone who is enrolled as a Course Administrator, Leader or Tutor on a course. 

Read the full UCL Digital Education mini-guide here

Bringing your course to life

Colleagues in Digital Education introduced us to the range of features available through H5P and these seemed an ideal way to bring the courses to life.

Here's a selection of the tools we used:

An interactive timeline

We put together a generic timeline of the “typical” doctorate with all the key stages along the way. Participants can move around it and for each milestone they can access further information, links and resources.

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Quizzes

These are much like a Moodle quiz, but don’t require building a question bank and can be a mix of T/F, multiple choice, fill in the blanks etc. Quick to build and great for giving students some immediate feedback.

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Interactive presentations

We imported content from an existing set of Powerpoint slides for participants to move through in their own time. The slides were punctuated by quick questions to check understanding and encourage reflection.

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Flash cards

We used these in a couple of ways, all of which were aimed at encouraging reflection. Some had a scenario on one side and a possible solution on the other; others a statement of perceived fact that we wished to challenge; and others a simple Q&A.

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Accordion

Great for presenting a range of suggestions or tips, or expanding on the key steps in a process.

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Labelled graphic 

An image with clickable points on it to discover further information about a topic – could be very helpful for presenting graphs or other visuals, or simply as a different way to present some information.

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Building content in Moodle 

Once we had the content, converting it to our Moodle space was relatively quick – the tools are so easy to use.

Simply choose ‘Interactive content’ in your list of Moodle activities and you can browse through there the range of tools available.

The longest one to build was the timeline as there was so much information out there to bring into one place – but it was worth it, we have received some excellent feedback on it!

Alex's top 5 tips for getting started

  1. Create a hidden test space in Moodle and have a play around – the best way to get a sense of what’s available is by trying the different tools.
  2. Have a look at the really helpful H5P pages.
  3. Be open-minded to changing the ways we usually present content – varying this will really grab your students’ attention.
  4. Share your work with others and ask for their feedback.
  5. Less can also be more – there’s no need for constant bells and whistles, but small enhancements can really make a difference to a learning experience