Throughout a site, you will see a section in nearly every settings page called “Restrict Access”. It helps to think of this as a way to control the learning path. Restricting access is not actually about just restricting access, but it is a way to control content delivery in your course.
Inside of a course you can restrict access to any activity or element based on other variables or groups of variables called restriction sets.
Inside the restricted access setting you can add restrictions based on activities that the learner has completed or has not completed. You can restrict access until a specified date or you can restrict access after that date, giving you the ability to hide something students may have missed.
You can restrict access to certain materials based on grades they have received overall. This can lead to some great scaffolding tools where you use complex restriction sets to provide remediation to students who need it until their overall grade is acceptable. And then they can move forward on the common learning paths with others. The learners who achieve the full grade will never see the remediation activity.
You can also have a course set up where all the content will be revealed to people based on elements in their user profile. This may allow you to present custom content where the bulk of the content is the same for all users in your organization but there may be policy differences within sub-departments. This allows you to build two separate options so that users won’t be confused by other department’s unique policies. You can also be creative and have a standard certification for all users and add in special notes for departments (consider adding customized information for each office in yearly safety certification).
If your course is utilizing groups, you can also set up restrictions based on those groups you’ve created during the enrollment process. This allows different groups of people to move through the class as one cohort. By using this feature in combination with activities such as forums or chatrooms, you can make that class a unique experience for every user instead of them seeing the results from previous cohorts for any group or social activities.
The last option you have with the restrict access settings is to create a restriction set. A restriction set allows you to combine activity, completion date, grade, user profile, groups, or multiples of any of those settings to create a more complex restriction. For example, you could have a single restriction of only allowing Group 47 access to a specific topic. You can also add to that a restriction set that would be applicable to anyone that has access to the course. They could include restrictions based on other activities that they’ve completed and the grade they receive overall for the course. This customization allows you to use a course in unique ways. For trainers teaching live sessions that are repeated frequently, they can use this to deliver varying content to different divisions or departments.
The last thing to be aware of inside the restricted access section is the small gray eye icon that toggles visibility. When the eye is open, any learner inside the course will see the restrictions that are applied to an activity so they know what is required to open that activity. This can be very useful when the class is asynchronous so that users can guide themselves easily and understand what tasks they need to perform. You can also toggle the eye closed where are the restrictions will be hidden and you can make the activity hidden when not available so that you can have a hidden scaffolding or learning paths. Where I have found it to be most useful is adding restrictions to the label resource. Doing this will hide a label until certain actions have been performed inside the course, then the label will appear with further instructions, a congratulatory message, or even a warning that they need to improve their scores to complete the course.