Wish new content type: free text

I would like to have a content type with the possibility for the student tot type a longer piece of text (like a free answer). The best would be if it is possible to compare the text (answer) with another piece of text, made by the developer. By example: how to write message that motivates your client? First write your message. Thereafter: compare your text with the message in the course (hidden until the student wrote something). 


new content free text
tomaj's picture

There is no content type that exatcly match what you are asking for. So maybe you can create a feature request on that forum, if you think this is something that would be useful for other people in the community.

Maybe Questionnaire could be used for inputting longer text?

- Tom

Thanks for your suggestions. Questionnaire could give a possibility, but for some reason I cannot use Questionnaire. Nor at this site, nor in moodle. 

thomasmars's picture

I have given you access to create all content on H5P.org. To enable it on your own site you must go into the H5P settings and enable "Enable LRS dependent content types", and make sure you have permissions to create restricted content types.

Thank you for enabling all the content types, it works!

Kiosa Coup's picture

That's interesting. What happens to answers after your user submits one?

BV52's picture

Hi Jolien,

You have been given access to all content type.


BV52's picture

You're welcome Jolien. Enjoy :-)

Kiosa Coup's picture

Steve Jobs used to say that AI stood for Anything Insanely-great - free recall is definitely an important and powerful tool for closing the learning loop.

Perhaps the tool would work around a list of *words/synonyms* and the challenge for the learner would be to recreate a concise text (time or character constrained) leveraging those words. The challenge for the content type would be to recognize the use of any of those words in the free recalled textarea. There might additionally be an option to either show the words that need to get woven into a free recall text or not. And have them disappear (and the points add up) when the user used the word.

The leveled up AI bit would be if the content type could recognize that a learner had in fact entered a grammatically correct sentence that also made conceptual sense.

Not "low hanging fruit", certainly. But I'll bet it would be a hit. Even without the leveled up AI.

otacke's picture

Welcome to the fun world of machine learning and text analytics :-) Maybe. Last time I had a look at "automated essay scoring" it was 2013, and I guess there's been some progress made since then. Might in fact be pretty interesting.

Kiosa Coup's picture

Of course the MOOC I have been test driving would be the MOOC NOT attempting AES.

Peer Review has its uses - but test scoring is not one of them - particularly in the context of MOOCs.

A MOOC I test drove at Coursera has an incarnation @ EdX with an interesting difference (same institutions) - Coursera Deciphering Secrets: Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts and EdX Deciphering Secrets: Medieval Manuscripts Toledo 12th-15th centuries. Smart Move?

Been there, done that.

There is, however, an upcoming course (August 14, 2017) on Ancient and Medieval Europe (my favorite subject (I guess that's cheating, huh?)) offered by Arizona State. I can hardly wait!

That'll give me enough time to digest Balfour's 2013 survey, easily. Thanks!

Kiosa Coup's picture

No automated essay scoring in sight, unfortunately - but an interesting attempt to create Long Term Memory, using Sensory Memory (or Multiple Choice) and a product called Cerago. They have a very elaborate feedback system promising you that you are, in fact, making LTM and tirelessly nudging you to keep working at it. If you don't quite have your dates down, I'd definitely recommend anyone run it through its paces, if you're interested in tracking what people are doing with spaced repetition on the global edTech market. The professor in question has done a nice job of selecting 3x5 chunks of history associated with a date for each of 7 weeks, starting with ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and going up through Europe's High Middle Ages. I particularly liked 1066, 1077, 1088, 1095 and 1099. But that's the only set that stuck with me. So you might not want to invest as much time as I did figuring out that it wasn't working and thinking about why.

otacke's picture

I wouldn't call it automated essay scoring, but maybe you missed H5P Essay?

Kiosa Coup's picture

This looks amazing. I'd love to try it. Did you forget to link here here?

You can download the content type here. . .

Do I need anything other than my standard h5p install?

Kiosa Coup's picture

Got it. (noob here).


otacke's picture

Remember: It's still the beta version. H5P Essay will be released officially if it passes the beta test. Some things might still change.

Content that you create now will probably still work then, but that will depend on the beta testers' feedback and the need to change some things.

Kiosa Coup's picture

A study for a study (you've probably seen this one already, but others might not have). What Roediger & Karpicke (2006) found was that people who engaged in free recall testing remembered more after a week (56%) than people who studied by simply rereading remembered after just two days (54%).

The knowledge that a teacher or TA would be looking at whatever text entered (via tech already achieved in Questionnaire question type) would probably be enough to get an honest effort out of test takers. So really, when looked at that way, the fruit seems like it might be hanging pretty low -- maybe even 2017 low.



Test-enhanced learning: taking memory tests improves long-term retention.

hi otacke,

h5p essay looks brilliant.. would like to suggest tools to help students organize their thoughts first.. in k-12 alot of the writing that happens students are required to brainstorm a really powerful tool to do this is a mindmap or any type of graphic organizer .. i had a question type developed a while back you can look here https://www.drupal.org/sandbox/farrisimin/2806787 this is good for students to organize their thoughts .. another way create any graphic organizer is quite simple add a graphic organizer image as a background image and then have an insert tool for text where the teacher assigns parts of the image for the students to insert text.. and quick example would be the hamburger essage after completing the graphihc organizer the student can then complete his or her essay.. hope you find this worthy of developing.. different organizer with a simple google search https://www.google.ca/search?q=graphic+organizer&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa...


best regards


otacke's picture

Thanks for the praise.

A content type for creating mind maps (and storing the progress) surely would be interesting (for some use cases using the IFrame embedder with specialized tools such as MindMeister might already do the trick). If only time grew on trees ;-) Why not create a standalone feature request post that was a little more prominent? Maybe someone could pick that up your idea.

this will for sure make writng more fun and engaging as the students will find time to research.. it is also highly likely you can make the essay part auto populate for the students as they fill in the graphic organizer saving them time ... for practice or turn off as an option.. where they must retype it instead of autopopulate the essay..

Kiosa Coup's picture

Moodle has an option in their free text widget to use wildcards. The implementation is a bit wonky (literally thousands of people show up for their course, every year, and only a few attempt the final project, and a small percentage of those attempt to use the free text widget). Is there a way to use commas and periods to ask, for instance, for a student to mention 1066 and the Norman Conquest in a paragraph requesting that a student recall 5 events that characterized the eleventh century? They wouldn't be picking them out of the wild blue yonder, it would have been mentioned in the "lecture", however that would manifest itself.

1. Norman Conquest, 1066

2. Road to Canossa/Humiliation at Canossa, 1077

3. First University Bologna, 1088


The student would then be able to mention the keywords in any order, but they would need to mention them in the same sentence. And not confuse the Road to Canossa with 1088, for instance.

Kiosa Coup's picture

What we'd really love to do is use the same content we are using in the question sets (that we're developing in MS Office), and include the essay type in the question set to systematically bump up the challenge. So the keywords/keyword phrases/alternative correct answers would be delimited in the same way they are for the drag text and fill in the blank text types, with *asterisks*.

Then if there was some way to evaluate a string as anything in *asterisks* that ends with a period. That seems like it would make a long story quite a bit shorter. And the UX would totally glow. It might be too complicated, but we thought it was worth asking anyway. Particularly given the potential and the huge leaps and bounds h5p has been clearing in the last 6 months. You guys are really breaking the sound barrier.

I have been looking for something similar, but even simpler. I just want usere to enter an answer in a text area, after saving they get a feedback (no summative grading)... but this answer is saved for users, so if they comeback to the post, they can se their saved answer.

otacke's picture

Hi marbaque!

You can do this with H5P.Essay. You can deactivate summative feedback, and on your own server, the text can also be saved for editing it later.


Hi otacke, thank you.

it works! just for the record, you need to activate the option in the settings to save the user's answers.

otacke's picture


Sorry that I didn't mention the "save content state" option. It's necessary for every content type to store anything.



At a particular point, I would like to add multiple free text questions, like in statements.   But we are allowed only one question.   If I space the questions out, then the video would have advanced and many of the words in the audio would be "chopped up".If I space individual questions using microseconds, sometimes the question gets missed out, even though I have set pauses and made questions mandatory.  Can there be a block of a few free-text questions?

BV52's picture

Hi Simon,

2 things you can do:

  1. Set the Free text activity to pause the video so that it won't advance.
  2. Create a separate feature request. In order for your feature request to attract as much interest as possible make sure it follows the below guidelines:

    1. It is clear from every perspective how the feature will work. We recommend describing the feature with one or more user stories, for instance “As an author, I want it to be possible to pick between different effects for the check answer animation so that the learner will see a variety of effects and also I can adapt the effects to my target audience(I’ll be using pink unicorns which works really well for both my target audience which are 4 year old girls and venture capitalists)”

    2. If the feature can be illustrated with images or videos it always helps

    3. Make it clear what content types this is relevant for, and or if this is a new content type

    Make sure you post the feature in the Feature Request forum.


I can neither access Questionnaire on Drupal nor here at H5P any suggestions would be helpful.


BV52's picture

Hi PJ,

To provide a best possible experience for new users and to ensure that people use H5P.org only for trying out H5P (we've had more traffic than our server can handle lately, ref also the warnings when you create content, embed content and view the content) there are limited content types that are available.

In Drupal please make sure that "Enable LRS dependent content types" is enabled in the H5P settings.