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How to use different question types to create engaging online learning and assessment

September 17, 2021

As more and more training providers have switched to online or blended learning since the start of the global pandemic, there’s been a lot of discussion around how to ensure online learning is engaging, accessible and just as effective as in-person training. 

ASQA recently released their first Insights paper for their strategic review of online learning in the VET sector. One of the key takeaways from the discussion was that in order for the delivery of online learning and assessment to be compliant, it needs to have considered learner interactions, interactivity and engagement. These important factors ensure the online learning is of high quality and that learners are getting the best learning experience possible. 

Student interactions

How the learner interacts with the content, other learners and the trainer is important to consider when developing a course. 


When learners interact with the content, they should be immersed in the learning and not just passively absorbing it. 


To maintain a high standard of learner engagement, the online learning needs to have interactive capabilities. One way of achieving this is through your Learning Management System (LMS), which should be able to provide the ability to author online content, lessons and assessment with interactive question types.

What question types should a good LMS provide? 

Hot Spot

A Hot Spot question is a great way to increase interactivity and engagement with the content. These types of questions can include the option to either mark or label the region. 

Marking the regions lets the learner identify content within a particular image, such as labelling wheels on a bicycle or olives on a cheeseboard. 

Labelling the regions lets the assessment author create a region within a particular image and give the region a name. The learner then sees the name as a label on their end which they then have to place correctly within the region.

Matching lists

The matching lists question type allows you to create a list of either images or definitions, and have the learner correctly choose the term that matches up to the image or definition. This kind of question ensures the learner can differentiate between the knowledge they have previously learnt. 


Ordering is a simple but highly effective tool to evaluate knowledge of different processes or orders that certain actions must be performed in. To create a question with this question type, the assessment author needs to set up the list in the correct order. The learner will then receive a jumbled version which they’ll have to rearrange into the correct order. 

Multiple and Single Choice

The classic question type of multiple and single choice is so popular for a reason. In an LMS, these types of questions are easy to automatically mark, and learners can progress through them relatively quickly. 

Short answer and Multi Short answer

Short answer questions are great for showing the learner’s ability to describe, analyse, synthesis and evaluate the skills and knowledge they have learnt.

With multi-short answer questions, the assessor can create multiple response areas, such as within a table, with optional character limits. 

Fill in the blank
This question type allows learners to show they know specific knowledge, and reduces the chance of any waffling or guessing the answers. 

Content Item

A content item allows for non-assessable content sections to be included in the assessment, and can include images, videos and text.

File upload

If an assessment requires external files to be uploaded, such as an essay written on a Word document, learners are able to upload files within the assessment. 

Mobile accessibility

Mobile learning has become increasingly important, and many learners have high expectations for the capabilities of the technology they learn with. It’s integral that online assessment and question types are also able to be used on mobile devices while maintaining a high level of user experience satisfaction. 

How to take online lessons and assessment to the next level

To further ensure your learners are engaged and your online content is interactive, Learning Plans are a great tool to use. Learning Plans allow online course content and assessment to be ordered and presented in learning modules. This means learners can easily stay on track with the learning through a combination of self-driven and schedule-based progression. 

To learn more about how you can achieve compliant and engaging online learning in the aXcelerate Learning Management System, click here

Did you know?

aXcelerate is Australia’s number 1 cloud-based Student Management System and Learning Management System. Why pay for two systems when aXcelerate can be your all in one SMS and LMS solution? 

From starting out as an RTO, to developing our software and continuing to grow through many changes in the VET sector over the past 32 years, we’ve helped almost 1000 training organisations thrive with aXcelerate’s One System SMS/LMS solution.

Learn how we can help your training organisation here, or chat with us to see how we can work with you to reach your training management goals here

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