Tutorial 101 - Creating Questions & Items

Learn how to create Questions, Features, and Items using the Learnosity Author Site.


In this tutorial, we'll look at the basic content building blocks of the Learnosity platform: Questions, Features, and Items. We'll learn the role of each, and how to author them using the Learnosity Author Site. In the next tutorial, we'll learn how to create a simple assessment using the Items you created.

What are Questions?

Learnosity Questions are very much what the word implies: tasks for a student to complete in the context of an assignment, study review, or quiz. Learnosity currently has over 40 different default Question templates to choose from, with more on the way, ranging from the familiar to the advanced.
You’ve likely seen multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, matching, and open response Questions. Learnosity also offers many more Question types, starting with classification, text highlighting, graphing, and charting, and moving on to types that include powerful math display and solving, and audio recording and playback.

What are Features?

Features are widgets that improve assessment delivery and promote reusability. Features include things like calculators, rulers and protractors, audio and video player, or passages (text that can be formatted, and enriched with images, media files, special characters, math..)

What are Items?

Learnosity stores and delivers Questions and Features in a parent container called an Item. Think of an Item as a capsule that holds not only a Question, but can also include additional support assets, such as images or text passages, or even additional Questions, as when covering multi-part topics.Adding Features to Items is entirely optional. Often, Items hold nothing more than a single Question. The real power of Items, however, comes from their ability to enhance and streamline assessments. For instance, rather than forcing a text passage into a Question stimulus, that text could be placed into a Passage Feature, and set next to the Question(s) using the two-columns Item Layout. This is the example we will cover in this tutorial.

Item Examples

Figure 1 shows an example of an Item in edit mode. In this example, two Questions are provided to test reading comprehension. On the left, a Passage Feature holds the text. On the right, a plain text Question is followed by a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) with drop down menu Question.
Figure 1: An Item in item edit mode
Figure 2 shows the Item in preview mode to give you an idea of what it will look like when delivered to a student.
Figure 2: An Item in Preview mode.
Figure 3 shows another example of an Item, this time including a reusable Feature that supports the Question. The Question Type is “Label image with drag and drop”. The student must drag the appropriate angle to the boxes marked by A and B. To help determine the angle, a protractor Feature has been added to the Item. The student can drag the protractor to the image, rotate the protractor as needed, and measure the angles.
Figure 3: A Label-image-with-drag-and-drop Question with a Protractor Feature.

Creating an Item

Authoring a basic Item requires nothing more than a few clicks in the Learnosity Author Site.  Figure 4 shows the various ways you can search in the Author site.
Figure 4: Browse and search through your Items in the Learnosity Author Site
You can easily browse through your Items, but also filter by reference, content, status, Question/Feature types, and tags. You can also create a new Item by clicking on the ‘Create’ button on the upper right corner of the interface.


The Item Reference is its unique identifier. Each new Item created will be given a default reference based on your organisation, and this can be easily changed through the interface.
Figure 5: Create a new Item


The Item Description, Scoring Type and Difficulty level can be edited in the ‘Details’ tab.
As shown in Figure 6, you can also set the status of the Item to Published, Unpublished, or Archived.

Item Status

As shown in Figure 6, you can also set the status of the Item to Published, Unpublished, or Archived.
By default, all Items created are set to Unpublished, which is helpful for editing and reviewing the Items before making it available for assessment. Once an Item is complete, its status must be set to Published before it can be loaded in an Activity or an assessment.
By setting an Item’s status to Archived, you can remove it from the Item bank UI without permanently discarding it.
Finally, you can restore the Item by searching for Archived Items and changing the status.
Figure 6: Item Details


Our first task is to set up a two-column layout. This will insert two columns with placeholders for Questions or Features into the Item. You can choose from six layouts. You can also choose to separate the columns with a vertical line, or even add a tabbed interface to one or both columns if you want to switch between multiple tabs of content in the Item.
Figure 7: Item Layout
Figure 8: Two-column layout with vertical dividers

Adding a Feature

We’re now going to add a Passage in the left column of our Item. In the ‘Item Edit’ mode, click on the ‘+’ sign. It will lead you to a screen where you can choose from all the Question Types and Features.
Click on the ‘Features’ button on the top left corner to see all the different Features. In this tutorial, we’ll add a Passage to our Item. Creating a Passage Feature will enable you to reuse this passage as many times as you need in a lot of different Items.
Figure 9: Learnosity's Features improve assessment delivery
You can add a ‘Heading’ to your Passage, and format the text, add images, media, math, and special characters.
Figure 10: Creating a Passage Feature
In this example, we add images to the Passage, and you can see how easy it is to insert an image, resize it, and align it in the text.
Figure 11: Easily set Alternative text, alignment, and Image size

Adding a Question

Choose the Question Type

Learnosity Authoring offers a lot of different Question Types. From simple Multiple Choice to Audio recorder, through Math, Graphing, Chemistry...
In this tutorial, we’ll create a simple Standard Multiple Choice Question to explore the basics of creating a Question.
Figure 12: Learnosity's Question Types

Compose and Format the Question

The Compose question area is enhanced with a Rich Text Editor to allow you to format the question, add special characters, and add media (audio, video, images...)
Figure 13: Compose questions with Rich Formatting, including Math, Resources, Audio, Images, and more

Define answers options

We will now define the multiple choice options. In this field you can easily add text and format it, or add image, media, special characters and even math. By default, you’ll see four options to fill. You can choose to add or remove options, using the bin icon or the +Add button.
Figure 14: Authoring a simple MCQ Question using Learnosity Author Site

Set correct answer(s)

We then set the correct answer. You can specify if the correct answer is only one of the options or more, and decide if the students will always see the options in the order you authored them or if you want the options to be shuffled when shown to the student. Here you will also choose how many point(s) the student gets for a correct answer.
Figure 15: We define the correct answer, which enables auto scoring


Below you will find ‘More Options’. Here you can customise the Scoring of the Question. You can choose to make the Question ‘Unscored’, apply Penalty point(s), or a minimum score for attempting to answer, even if the student gets a wrong answer. Here we decide to give the students the possibility to check their answer twice. We enable the ‘Check answer’ button, and give the student two attempts.
Figure 16: Learnosity Authoring tools five you full control on Scoring and allows you to give the students multiple attempts to find the correct answer.
You're all set ! You can now save the Question, and change the Item's Status to "Published" before saving your Item!

Taking it Further


You can easily add any Tag you created to an Item from the “Tags” tab. There are two main reasons why you will want to Tag your Items in Learnosity; the first is to be able to search for a group of Items with a particular Tag or Tags, and the second is to be able to report on student performance on a set of Items.
Figure 17: Add Tags to your items to easily find, classify, and order your Items according to your programs and organisation

Action Builder

For advanced customization, the ‘Actions’ tab gives you access to the Action Builder.
This tool enables you to customize the behaviour of the Item, like for example autoplaying audio and video, disabling navigation, or disabling interaction with the Question for a given time.
You can find a detailed article here: Author Guide: Understanding The Action Builder.
Figure 18: Customise the behaviour of your Item with the Action Builder

Dynamic Data

The ‘Dynamic Data’ tab will be useful when you want to Author a Question with Dynamic Data. This will allow you to enter a set of data to be used dynamically in one or more Questions of the Item.
When ready to explore Dynamic Data, you can refer to the Author Guide to learn how to Set Up A Data Table And Inserting Dynamic Content Into A Question.
Figure 19: Dynamic Content is a form of smart content which allows many variations of the same Question

Add Math and Media

Through the Rich Text Editor Toolbar, you can easily add images, Simple Features (as protractor, ruler, line reader, calculator, audio, or video), special characters, tables, or math elements.
Figure 20: Easily add Math to your content

Layout and Selection

Learnosity Authoring tool also gives you control over the display of your Question. In our MCQ example, you can change the style to a block instead of a radio button, display the radio button under the option, or even change the font size.
Figure 21: Customise your Question Display with Layout and Selection
Figure 22: A classic MCQ Question customised with Block style and Huge Font Size

Extras and Custom Metadata

The ‘Extras’ section will allow you to add extra information such as Acknowledgements, but also extra fields to enhance your assessments like Distractor Rationales, or Sample answers. You can also add your own Custom Metadata.
For more information, you can refer to the details article about Understanding the Extras Section of the Question Editor.
Figure 23: Add Extras information to customise the learners' experience

What you've learned

In this tutorial, you have covered the fundamental differences between Questions, Features, and Items. You learned that Items can function simply as a Question’s parent container, but can also include additional Features, such as text passages. You also learned how to create Questions and Items, including custom layouts, rich text formatting, and support for Features such as text passages.

Additional Resources

Where to Next?

If you’d like to learn more about creating content, take a look at the additional resources above. If you want to use the Item you created here in an assessment, read the Creating an Assessment with the Items API tutorial.
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