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!

Jeanette Brooks
Jeanette Brooks
Carrie Derner

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? ... Expand