Why Hotspot Questions are Hot (and 10 Examples of Ways to Use Them) Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:23 PM

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I really like hotspot questions in Quizmaker ‘09, because they open up all sorts of unique ways to involve and engage learners.


Here’s how they work: you present learners with an image, and in order to answer a quiz question, learners need to mark a place on that image. There are no visible clues unless you build them into the image itself — the learner has to know which part of the picture to select, without relying on suggested answers or other guidance. 


I love this, because that’s how stuff works in real life! A machine operator needs to know which controls to use on the control panel. A dental student needs to recognize tooth decay on an x-ray. A copy editor needs to be able to find a typo in a block of text.


Since learners constantly need to absorb and apply visual data to make decisions on the job, why not use hotspot questions to provide them with the same experience?

The other neat thing about hotspot questions is that they require learners to slow down and do some serious processing and discernment — often to a greater degree than if they were answering a more conventional question, such as a typical multiple-choice or true/false. And that act of processing and discerning is where the  real magic happens! It not only helps us to better assess whether learners truly know their stuff, it also helps the learners to actively practice and reinforce what they’ve learned.


In case you haven’t experimented with hotspot questions yet, below is a quick run-through of how to set one up. It’s super easy. You just type your question, choose an image, and then tell Quizmaker where the hotspot is:




10 Examples for You to Check Out

If you’re looking for some ideas for ways to use hotspot questions, here's a demo of 10 sample questions to get your wheels turning. You can click the quiz below to see the published quiz. You can also download the Quizmaker file here if you’d like to deconstruct or adapt some of the ideas for your own quizzes.

View the demo  |  Download the source file


Even More Cool Examples

For even more cool ways of using hotspots, check out these additional links:

  • This blog post by Dave Moxon.combines hotspot questions with video for a creative approach to assessments.
  • Here’s another neat hotspot example — in this Quizmaker quiz from Tutor2u, learners use cash-flow data to answer a whole series of hotspot questions.
  • And if you’re looking for a way to allow users to select one of several hotspots on an image, you might also like this creative solution from Articulate user Tracy Parish.

How Are You Using Hotspot Questions?

Have you found some other interesting ways to leverage hotspot questions in Quizmaker ‘09? Feel free to share your ideas by adding a comment to this blog post — or, better yet, share your screenshots or links by posting in the Building Better Courses forum!



15 comments so far

Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 4:24 PM

It would also be helpful to be able to apply multiple hot spots to an image; for  example if there were multiple errors that you wanted to user to identify and you didn't want to ask multiple questions to get them to identify all of them.

Jeanette Brooks

3,630 posts

Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 at 5:01 AM

Hi Michael - yes, definitely agree that would make a nice enhancement! Feature requests are welcome here: www.articulate.com/.../feature ... but in the meantime, here's an approach that might work for you: community.articulate.com/.../creating-a-multiple-hotspot-question-in-quizmaker.aspx

Priti Pathak

25 posts

Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2011 at 8:51 PM

Great tutorial , n thanks for sharing this Mam . I will definitely try this but yes if multiple use of hot spots in single image , will help in geography map routes and also point out the figure.

Posted Tuesday, May 03, 2011 at 11:53 PM

Great job. Thank you for these interesting examples.

Bridget Brown

54 posts

Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 4:00 PM

DITTO what Michael said!  I have a situation where I really need people to identify 3 things in one picture in a graded Quiz and I can't do it.  Unless there is something I don't know???

Jeanette Brooks

3,630 posts

Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 at 4:52 AM

Hi Bridget! Currently in Quizmaker '09 there isn't a feature to add multiple hotspots to a single image... however, did you already see this idea? > community.articulate.com/.../creating-a-multiple-hotspot-question-in-quizmaker.aspx  If that doesn't work you might be able to adapt this approach that Tracy shares: http://www.screenr.com/oun

Bridget Brown

54 posts

Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 at 5:44 AM

Thanks, Jeanette!  I will take your suggestion, but please consider this an enhancement request.  I do Information Security Awareness, and our people need to be able to recognize phishing emails - in which there are several clues - and they have to know where to look.  Therefore multiple hotspots that I can grade is key.  

Debbie Payne

1 posts

Posted Friday, October 21, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Im so glad I found this thread. As a new user the multiple hotspots are critical for a learning resource Im creating for a client.  I hope there is an upgrade enhancement or something for this soon.

Deborah Seidman

22 posts

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

This is exactly what I am looking for in order to create the quiz I want but my key interest is in being able to capture how much time it takes for the user to find the hot spot. How would I be able to do that?

Jeanette Brooks

3,630 posts

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Hi Deborah - That's a great question. Although Quizmaker does calculate how long it takes learners to submit each answer, it's really not intended to be its own tracking mechanism - the best way of reporting & analyzing that kind of data is to use a SCORM- or AICC-compliant Learning Management System (LMS). If you are using an LMS, you'll want to dig around in its reporting features to see if it allows you to report on the amount of time users spent on each question.

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 2:31 AM


I see that one can add a zoom button in the image of a hotspot question. But funnily enough I don't see that zoom button in the published version of the quiz or when I preview it. Am I missing something? Or am I doing something wrong? Can anyone help me out with this?

Jeanette Brooks

3,630 posts

Posted Thursday, February 02, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Hi Dhurjati, the zoom feature isn't available on hotspot images, because there isn't a way for the learner to zoom the image, click a hotspot, and then "unzoom" it back to its regular size. Check out this thread for an idea that another Quizmaker user shared as an alternative: community.articulate.com/.../5961.aspx

Becky Koltonski

18 posts

Posted Friday, October 25, 2013 at 6:41 AM

This looks like awesome content! Do you know where I can find great hotspot examples in Storyline?

Carrie Derner

13 posts

Posted Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. I'm doing essentially the same thing in storyline. However, I have set up some custom scoring variables. On a drag and drop I can say, "adjust variable by adding 5 when the user clicks submit IF the state of object is selected."

My goal is for the score variable to add five when a user clicks submit and they have the hotspot marked correctly. I am running into trouble because the actual hot spot doesn't have states and doesn't actually show up as an object when I look for it in the conditions panel. I thought I would be smart and place a clear oval underneath with a non-visible selected state, but regardless of whether the oval was on top of or under the hotspot, it didn't work.

Any thoughts on whether this is worth pursuing or if I should change the format? I have several drag and drops in this particular course, so I was shooting for something new.