Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Activity 3: Investigating texts using Quiz

Aim: Using quiz to investigate texts

Moodle modules: Quiz

Extra programs: None

Ease of setup: ***

As noted elsewhere, Quiz can be a useful module for practicing different language skills. This is primarily because we can build in helpful feedback and because we can allow students to spend as much time as they want practicing.

There are various ways that Quiz can help students listen. Here are some examples:

  • Listening and matching: students listen for gist information and match answers to general questions about the text.
  • Ordering task for arranging events in a sequence.
  • Multiple-choice for information transfer, identifying speakers' attitudes, and identifying numbers.
  • Gap-fill tasks: Students listen to a song, poem, or other text, and fill in the missing words. It's worth thinking carefully about what sorts of words you want to blank out. Do you want to focus on grammar words (prepositions, pronouns, and conjunctions, etc.), words that are difficult to spell, or keywords (words that convey the main meaning of the text)?

To exemplify each of these examples, we'll make one quiz with four different question types. You could choose to have quizzes with any number of different question types. We'll take as our listening text a story which we recorded ourselves. We could record it in a recording program like Audacity. The story is about a rather special trip to the zoo.

Here is a possible transcript abridged from

One day an out of work mime artist is visiting the zoo and attempts to earn some money as a street performer monkey. As soon as he starts to draw a crowd, a zoo keeper grabs him and drags him into his office. The zoo keeper explains to the mime artist that the zoo's most popular attraction, a gorilla, has died suddenly and the keeper fears that attendance at the zoo will fall off.

He offers the mime artist a job to dress up as the gorilla until they can get another one. The mime artist accepts.

So the next morning the mime artist puts on the gorilla suit and enters the cage before the crowd comes. He discovers that it's a great job. He can sleep all he wants, play and make fun of people and he draws bigger crowds than he ever did as a mime. However, eventually the crowds tire of him and he tires of just swinging on trees. He begins to notice that the people are paying more attention to the lion in the cage next to his. Not wanting to lose the attention of his audience, he climbs to the top of his cage, crawls across a partition, and dangles from the top to the lion's cage. Of course, this makes the lion furious, but the crowd loves it.

At the end of the day the zoo keeper comes and gives the mime artist a raise for being such a good attraction. Well, this goes on for some time, the mime keeps taunting the lion, the crowds grow larger, and his salary keeps going up. Then one terrible day when he is dangling over the furious lion he slips and falls. The mime artist is terrified.

The lion gathers itself and prepares to pounce. The mime artist is so scared that he begins to run round and round the cage with the lion close behind. Finally, the mime artist starts screaming and yelling, "Help me, help me!", but the lion is quick and pounces. The mime artist soon finds himself flat on his back looking up at the angry lion and the lion says, "Shut up you idiot! Do you want to get us both fired?"

The questions start with general gist questions (matching). Then comes an ordering question, which requires slightly more attention to detail. The last two are multiple-choice and gap-fill questions, which get students to focus on detailed aspects of the listening text.

Here's how to do it

The following sections refer you to the activities and point out any major differences.

Setting up the quiz

Listening and matching question

Use NanoGong to create sound clips which replace pictures and texts.

Here are some examples of the matching questions you could set up. These are general questions which help students get the gist of the story.



How many animals are there in the story?.


Where does this take place?

The zoo

Where does the zoo keeper find the mime artist?

On the street

How many animals are there in the cages?


This is what your matching question might look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Here are a few more matching questions you could consider:

  • Match recordings to pictures. Students could hear a description of an image (painting, photo) and identify the description. The easiest way to do this would be to take some photos of similar scenes.
  • Match individual words to sounds. Students hear the recording and decide which words they are hearing.



A. "I hear you're coming"


B."It's over here"




Ordering question

In this variation students listen to a story and then order events in sequence.

We need to make sure that the sequence is not guessable without hearing the story. Here are the stages from our story that you could include in the question:

  1. The zookeeper grabs the mime artist.
  2. The zookeeper offers the mime artist a job.
  3. The gorilla lies on top of the neighboring cage.
  4. The lion tries to attack the gorilla.
  5. The lion tells the gorilla off.

This is what the ordering question would look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Multiple-choice question

Multiple-choice questions are a good way of getting students to investigate texts in more detail.

Here are some possible questions we could include in this activity.

Question 1

According to the story, why does the mime artist accept a job as a gorilla?

Answer 1

His work on the street isn't going well.

Answer 2

The zookeeper has an urgent need for a gorilla.

Answer 3

He always wanted to work as a gorilla in a zoo.

Answer 4

The last gorilla quit the job.


Question 2

Why did the gorilla climb on top of his cage?

Answer 1

He was tired of staying at the bottom of the cage.

Answer 2

He wanted to lose the attention of his audience.

Answer 3

He wanted to watch the lion.

Answer 4

He wanted to entertain the audience.


Question 3

Why was the lion angry?

Answer 1

He thought the gorilla was going to stop pretending to be a gorilla.

Answer 2

He wanted to attack the gorilla.

Answer 3

He had run round and round the cage too much.

Answer 4

He didn't like having the gorilla in his cage.


Here's a preview of the first question:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Other ideas

  1. Students identify the attitude of the speaker by his/her intonation: sarcastic, happy, worried, etc.
  2. Students listen to different accents and decide which country the speaker comes from.
  3. Students evaluate the story or think of ideas related to it. For example, what other things could the lion and gorilla do to please the crowd?

Gap-fill question

In this question we can gap particularly useful words and provide helpful hints for students who have problems getting them right. The following screenshot gaps verbs, for example.

Insert the audio recording in the HTML instruction box using the Moodle Flash player or the NanoGong player.

Here's what the verb gap-fill would look like

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Activity 4: Prediction activity using Lesson

Aim: Help students predict a recorded text

Moodle modules: Lesson

Extra programs: None

Ease of setup: ***

It's often challenging for students to follow conversations between native speakers. One way of helping them attune themselves to natural conversation is to get them to predict what people will say.

For this activity, record a conversation. Write out a transcript. Use the Lesson module to provide multiple-choice questions on what comes next.

Here's how to do it

In the Page contents box, replace text with recordings using the Moodle player or NanoGong. Moodle player is more appropriate if you are using pre-existing recordings. NanoGong might be more convenient if you are making the recordings yourself.



Page contents

Record the following text here, using Nanogong or the Moodle Flash player.

Jane: Hey Roger. How are things going?

Roger: Not so bad. I got it working.

Jane: What did you get working? Oh, you mean the car. Great stuff. Can we go for a drive?

Roger: I'm tied up, but how about tomorrow?

Then write the following: Listen to the recording then try to guess what Jane says next. In each case one sentence is more probable than the others.

Answer 1

WriteThat would be brilliant.

Response 1

Here we can right a commentary. For example, Yes, she's already shown that she's enthusiastic.

Jump 1

Choose Next page. That means that if the student chooses Answer 1, he/she will be taken to the next page, because he/she got Answer 1 right.

Score 1

Write 1. The student gets 1 point.

Answer 2

WriteShall I untie you?

Response 2

Write She might say this as a joke, but it's unlikely. Try again.

Jump 2

Choose This page.

Score 2

Write 0. The student gets 0 points, because the answer is wrong.

Answer 3

Write I'm leaving the country tomorrow.

Response 3

Write I'm leaving the country tomorrow.

Jump 3

Choose This page. That means that the student will jump back to this page-in other words, do it again.

Score 3

Write 0.

When you write the responses, don't forget to click on Use Editor, so that you can insert a recording into the answer.

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

You'll need to complete the dialog yourself and add several more pages for students.

This is what page 1 of the lesson could look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Activity 5: Reviewing recordings using Choice

Aim: Using polls to vote on a recording

Moodle modules: Choice

Extra programs: None

Ease of setup: *

Students may find it fun and motivating to vote on recordings that they have listened to. Voting is also a natural outcome of Activity 1 in which students discuss which recording to listen to and then vote on their favorite one.

If possible, make the recording available on the same page as the poll. There are various ways of doing this:

  • If it's a website, embed the website in the instructions
  • Use the Moodle audio player
  • Use the add-on audio recorder NanoGong
  • Embed video from YouTube or other similar sites

Here are some ideas for presenting recordings that students can vote on. There's a longer list of possible sources in the introduction to Activity 1.

  • Students listen to a selection of adverts and decide which one they think is best
  • Students listen to two versions of a song and vote on the best one
  • Students hear several versions of a sentence and decide which one is the clearest

Let's set up a choice based on two adverts which students will listen to. They will vote on which one is the funniest. In each case, the adverts will be embedded in the introduction to make it easier for students to watch them. We could alternatively provide a link to the website or direct students to the Mediacenter.

Here's how to do it

If a setting isn't mentioned below, then it's optional.



Choice name

Write an appropriate title for the activity. Let's call this choose an


Choice text

Write a simple task for students to follow. I've written Which of the following two adverts is the funniest? Watch the adverts and then vote below. After the text, embed the two videos. The ones in the

screenshot below are from YouTube.

Choice 1

Under Choice 1, write Advert 1.

Choice 2

Under Choice 2, write Advert 2.

If you need to add more choices, click on Add more choices at the

bottom of the page.

Display mode

If we have a lot of students, we can go for horizontal. If we have few, then vertical would be appropriate. Let's go for a vertical.

Publish results

Show results to students after they answer. They will probably want to see the results straightaway.

This is what the final choice activity could look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Activity 6: Reviewing recordings using Questionnaire

Aim: Get students to think about recordings through an evaluation questionnaire

Moodle modules: Questionnaire add-on

Extra programs: None

Ease of setup: ***

Questionnaires can be used to get students to evaluate recordings in the same way as written texts. Consider the list of sources in Activity 1 as a starting point. You could also use questionnaires to find out what sorts of recordings or movies your class would like to watch. Imagine we've selected the news from for a given date. We can place the URL for the news item in the question text.

Here's how to do it

Here's what the set-up page for the first question text could look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

As before, we can choose from a wide range of questions. Each time we can make a recording available either by inserting a Moodle audio player, a NanoGong recording, or a URL to a recording on a website.

Here's what the finished above question would look like:

Listening Activities in Moodle 1.9: Part 2

Activity 7: Developing students' critical faculties through online discussion about recordings they've listened to

Aim: Stimulate online discussion about recordings that students have listened to

Moodle modules: Forum

Extra programs: Mediacenter

Ease of setup: *

The Forum is an excellent module for discussions about recordings that students have listened to. You might find the list of texts in the introduction to this article useful as a starting point for choosing texts. You could also consider including texts in the Mediacenter. One helpful feature of that module is that you can create direct links to the copyright recordings on other websites from the Mediacenter directory. Ideas you might like to consider:

  1. Students listen to the same text and compare ideas.
  2. Students listen to different texts on the same subjects and compare ideas on the content. This works well with news websites.
  3. Students listen to an online talk/lecture and discuss what the key ideas are.


This article focussed at the different ways you can present recordings and gave examples of different task types.

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