Learning Modules

About Learning Modules

A Learning Module is an organized collection of content presented together. A Learning Module can support a course goal, a course objective, a subject, a concept, or a theme. Instructors can set a structured path through the content items using a storyboard or a set of dependencies. For example, a Learning Module can present the concept of magnets’ fields before describing how speakers and microphones work. Understanding the first concept is dependent on understanding the second concept. Alternatively, instructors can allow students to explore the content in a Learning Module in any order, and at their own pace. For example, a Learning Module can present a series of images and descriptions of various animals in a genus. Students can view the images and descriptions in any order, as no order is required for understanding the whole.

Content within a Learning Module is added and managed just like in any folder in a Content Area. The Learning Module is a shell to which other content items such as files, folders and tools are added. Learning Modules can be modified like any other item within a Content Area.

The value of creating Learning Modules lies in the ability to integrate related content and activities, providing a rich, interactive learning experience for students. You can include the following in a Learning Module:

  • Content Items
  • Files
  • Folders
  • URLs (external links)
  • Mashups (multimedia)
  • Tests and Surveys
  • Assignments
  • Discussion Board Forums
  • Other Tools

Mapping Your Content into Blackboard Learn

With a storyboard, the course’s organizational flow can be represented visually. The last step in the planning phase is to map the content into the Blackboard Learn environment. In Blackboard Learn, you can use Learning Modules or Content Areas to organize a variety of content. In this workshop, we will focus on creating Learning Modules.

If you have taken the Getting Started workshop, you may remember something about Content Areas. A Content Area allows course content to be organized into folders, files, graphics, assignments, tests, external links, and Blackboard Learn tools. You can create multiple Content Areas for your course and place them on the Course Menu.

Learning Modules are similar to Content Areas. The table below describes some of the key differences between them.

Learning Module Content Area
Location in a course Learning Modules are created inside a Content Area. Content Areas appear on the Course Menu.
Organizing content Content can be viewed in a specified order—sequentially—or in any order—non-sequentially.You can set a Learning Module to open in a new browser window. Content can be viewed in any order.Content Areas themselves appear in the content frame and cannot open in a new window.
Adaptive Release You can apply Adaptive Release conditions to a Learning Module. Students must meet specified criteria before they can gain access. You cannot apply Adaptive Release conditions to an entire Content Area. As long as the Content Area is available on the Course Menu, students will have access.
Table of Contents Each Learning Module has a Table of Contents so students can easily see a list of content. There is no Table of Contents for Content Areas.

Learning Module Example

You can use this Learning Module example as a reference when planning Learning Modules for your course. The example is based on the following scenario:

You are teaching an online course titled From Chaucer to Byron: Four Centuries of British Poets. You have decided to organize the material by subject area and you want students to access the material sequentially.

The simplest strategy is to divide the course into Learning Modules, one for each poet. For each poet’s section, you can include the following:

  • Overview of the week ahead
  • Learning objectives
  • Lecture files
  • One or more links to external web sites
  • One written assignment
  • One graded discussion
  • One test

Creating a Learning Module

First, you will create a new Learning Module in a Content Area. This first step creates an empty shell. Content is added in the next step.

NOTE: In this workshop, the phrase “in Edit Mode” refers to Edit Mode being ON, showing all the instructor’s functions.

QUICK STEPS:  adding a Learning Module

  1. In Edit Mode, on the Course Menu, click an existing Content Area or create a new one.
  2. On the Content Area’s Action Bar, point to Build Content to access the drop-down list.
  3. Select Learning Module.
  4. On the Create Learning Module page, type in a Name. Students access the Learning Module by clicking the name you enter.
  5. Optionally, enter a description in the Text box. Use the Text Editor to format the description, if desired. The description appears below the Learning Module Name.
  6. Select Availability options.
  7. Select View options.
  8. Select Table of Contents options.
  9. Click Submit.

Selecting Options for a Learning Module


  • Permit Users to View the Content Item: Select No to restrict users from seeing the Learning Module. This will make the Learning Module unavailable.
  • Select Date and Time Restrictions: Learning Modules can be set to display on a specific date and time, and to stop displaying on a specific date and time. Display restrictions do not affect content availability, only the appearance of the Learning Module. You may see more or fewer content items in a Learning Module based on the date restrictions you select.


  • Enforce Sequential Viewing of the Learning Module: Select Yes to force students to view the pages in order. If sequential viewing is not enforced, students can view the content in any order.
  • Open in New Window: Select Yes if you want the Learning Module to be viewed in a separate window instead of in the content frame. Opening a Learning Module in a new window allows students to view the course and its contents at the same time as the Learning Module. They will be able to navigate to other areas and keep the Learning Module open in the separate window.
  • Track Number of Views: To turn on Statistics Tracking for the Learning Module, select Yes. Statistics Tracking records the number of times the Learning Module is viewed, when it is viewed, and by whom.


Table of Contents

  • Show Table of Contents from Students: Select Yes to display a Table of Contents to students when they enter the Learning Module.
  • Hierarchy Display: Select the way items in the Learning Module are labeled to denote their relative position in the Table of Contents. Numbers, letters, or Roman Numerals can be selected. If None is selected, the items will not be labeled.

Adding Items to a Learning Module

Now that you have created a Learning Module, it is time to add an item to it. An item can be any of the following:

  • Text you enter
  • An attached file in a variety of formats, including HTML, .jpg, or .gif
  • A series of files that are linked together such as a web site
  • An embedded file such as a Flash animation or YouTube video
  • A combination of options listed above

An item can be any type of formatted text, such as reference materials, directions, a reading list, or lecture notes. Images, external links, tables, bulleted lists, and file attachments can also be added.

QUICK STEPS:  adding items to a Learning Module

  1. In Edit Mode, on the Course Menu, click the Content Area containing the Learning Module.
  2. On the Content Area page, click the Learning Module’s title.
  3. On the Learning Module’s Action Bar, point to Build Content and click Item.
  4. On the Create Item page, enter a Name. The Name will appear in the Table of Contents in the Learning Module.
  5. Enter text in the Text box. Use formatting options to select font face, size, alignment and color. Use the Text Editor to insert images, embed multimedia files and spell check.
  6. Add an attached file by clicking Browse My Computer, or Browse Course Files.
  7. Select the Options for availability, tracking, and date and time restrictions.
  8. Click Submit.

You can enter a name for a file attachment, rather than use the file name. If you do not enter a name, the file name will be used.