Forum LAMS for Tech-Heads - General Forum: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome

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1: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
03/01/07 05:57 PM
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Karen Baskett has asked a question regarding the Finish button label in the Higher Ed Forum.

At the end of each activity, there's a button that in English says "Finish" and that means "this is the end of this activity". However, I think Karen is raising an issue that the work "Finish" might be a bit misleading... as you might understand (from the student that is doing this sequence) that "this is the last activity".

Since you guys in this tech forum have been using LAMS before, would any have a problems with this? Or is this just a semantic issue?

If you are a translator for LAMS in another language, have you used another word that makes it clear between finishin a sequence and an activity?

All input is very welcome.



Posted by Ernie Ghiglione

2: Re: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
In response to 1 03/02/07 02:54 AM
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Hi Ernie,

I must admit that we found this to be an issue when starting out initially. It is a semantic issue for sure.

However, there are some minor usability issues with LAMS besides this in my opinion. Sometimes it is not always clear to the user where they should be clicking to progress.

e.g. When the instructions are displayed in the frame above a shared resource, most of our users never tend to click thru the instructions unless explicitly (and I mean explicitly) told to do so.

In our experience as an FE institution, we find that users almost need a glowing shiny button with 'NEXT' written on it. One of my gripes with LAMS is that all the buttons become much of a muchness after a while - and the users almost don't even look at what they are clicking on.

I know I've strayed a little (or a lot) from the original subject, but these have been issues for us from the start. However, once a group has used LAMS once, they generally find their way the next time without a problem...


Posted by Kristian Besley

3: Re: Re: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
In response to 2 03/05/07 06:11 PM
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Hi Kris,

Thanks for the comments on this.

So here's another question then, shall the "Finish" button that makes you jump to the next activity be different ( by different glowing colour or some other mean) than the normal "Continue" button?

And while we are at it, would this visual representation of the 'Finish' button will be enough for people to realize when they are about finish and activity and continue with the next?


Posted by Ernie Ghiglione

4: Re: Re: Re: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
In response to 3 03/05/07 06:25 PM
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Hi Everyone,

My particular learners have an issue with "Finish" in LAMS as they are used to coming from within a Moodle course - where nothing is sequenced and everything is a single activity. Like Kris my learners are mostly FE and not very technical minded so all technology is difficult for them. Putting "finish" at the end of a LAMS activity gives them the idea that it is only one activity and they will finish and go back to the Moodle screen. I guess 'next' or 'continue' would be good - I'm not too fussed. I also agree with Kris that once they have done a few sequences they get used to LAMS and quite like it. I have to deal with a lot of learners in a purely distance mode though, so would like things as intuitive as possible. I'm not sure if a different colour would work - I like the graphic design of LAMS 2.0 - but open to suggestions.

On this note - is anyone else using an integrated Moodle/LAMS server? My learners find the Moodle place page for a LAMS sequence very confusing - they say 'unintuitive'. They are basically dealing with two different forms of navigation.


Posted by Karen Baskett

5: Re: Re: Re: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
In response to 3 03/07/07 05:15 AM
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Question 1:
Possibly yes. However, I'd be interested to see what others think on this subject before I go ruining the navigation of LAMS forever! ;)

Question 2:
Perhaps a change of text on the button might be better, e.g. 'Finish Activity'. Once the students are familiar with the concept of different LAMS pages being 'activities' then perhaps it might be a little more intuitive.

That's my two pennies.


Posted by Kristian Besley

6: Re: Help needed with LAMS and semantics. All input welcome
In response to 1 03/12/07 05:49 PM
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This issue illustrates one of the important ways in which LAMS is different to a traditional LMS/VLE, as the concept of a sequence of activities that you work through is central to LAMS.

For me, I'd be happy to change the "Finish" text to "Next Activity" to try to make explicit that you are moving on to a different activity. For "within activity" progression buttons, I think "Continue" would be okay. I also like the idea of having a more striking visual appearance to the "Next Activity" button at the end of an activity to give an additional cue that you are moving to something else.

In terms of completing/finishing a whole sequence, I think we should handle this through the current "Finished" page that comes up. In theory we could try to get the last activity in a sequence to check if it is last, and then change its final button from "Next Activity" to "Finish", but I don't think this is essential (as the Progress bar would already provide an indication that this is the last task).

I think the reason we have used "Finished" is that in the past several LAMS activity tools allowed you to only do the activity once (eg, Q&A, Vote), so when you get to the end of the activity, you really are "Finished". However, now that we have LAMS V2, my view is that ideally this kind of feature should be an optional setting (in advanced) for all relevant tools, and then if you choose to only allow students to do the task once, then I think the activity tool code should then know to add a warning message within the relevant page text to say something like "NB: You cannot change your answer once you complete this activity".

In other words, for V2 we would assume tools allow you to come back and change them unless an author selects a "no change" option in Advanced, and then the activity tool itself will add a message to this effect into the page text.
(NB: This is a suggestion for the future, not a guaranteed current feature!).


This discussion touches a deeper conceptual issue with group-based workflows where individuals return to tasks multiple times over a sequence (eg, ongoing debate in an early discussion forum even after doing later activities). While we support this in LAMS, it is challenging to know the best way to handle this conceptual problem, and this has come up in some of our recent RAMS discussions - if a sequence involves a sequence of tasks and regular "looping back" to an early ongoing discussion forum, how do you know when people *realy have finished* the discussion. I don't see any easy answer to this so far. For some further discussion of this, see a presentation on RAMS from Scott Wilson at
especially slides 9 and 10.

Posted by James Dalziel

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