Will There Ever Be an Efficient Way to Create Questions?

Any lesson or course cannot be complete without reinforcement and evaluation through questions. Assessment and knowledge check questions are integral to a successful learning experience. And yet, there is no denying that creating simple level-1 questions for knowledge checks and assessments is an unwieldy task. It puts a huge drag on the valuable time of educators, instructional designers and subject-matter experts. Question creation seems to be one of those eternal problems to which you can never find a satisfactory solution.

Outsourcing doesn’t always help

A lot of course creators and curriculum leads prefer outsourcing the tedious task of question creation, to save time and effort. For sure, it saves some efforts in the design process. But this is hardly a sustainable solution. Here’s why.

Outsourcing doesn’t always helpExternal consultants often lack the knowledge and expertise that your in-house experts possess. Naturally, the quality of the outsourced questions tends to be a bit suspect. This means that the efforts you managed to save in the design phase usually have to be put into the review cycle instead. This has two consequences: the cost implications of this two-pass process are significant, and delays are inevitable with dual dependencies on external consultants and in-house experts.

Can technology provide a way out?

Some believe that technology can come to our rescue for simplifying the question creation process. There seems to be some chatter about using automatic question generators as a solution to this common learning bottleneck. Here’s how it would work: We would use Artificial Intelligence to process a large amount of content, and basically let a software create questions for us on a single click.

Can technology provide a way outWith Natural Language Processing (NLP), machines can understand language at a morphosyntactic level—what that means is, it can tell parts of speech such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so forth. NLP even makes it possible to determine some meaningful relationships between independent words. So, with NLP you can tell which noun an adjective refers. But, question generation is more than just a function of grammar and syntax. To create good questions, you need to look at words in their context and understand their semantic significance—examining words in isolation will not work. This is where the current technology falls short, and this is where automatic question generators need a helping hand.

How about a confluence of artificial intelligence and human intelligence?

Clearly, the current technology isn’t a satisfactory solution to the question-creation conundrum. A purely AI platform, without any human intervention, will fail to deliver. A human-only solution isn’t sustainable either, as the time investment is unreasonably high. Both alternatives miss the mark when it comes to the fine balance between the time-and-efforts and the quality of questions.

How about a confluence of artificial intelligence and human intelligenceBut neither of these two solutions—an AI platform or human involvement—is without its advantages. Artificial Intelligence promises efficiency, while human intelligence preserves the context and the instructional value of the questions. What if there was a way to bring together the best of both alternatives to create a third, more robust solution?

Using AI would bring down the time it takes to create a set of questions from hours to, quite literally, a few seconds. The questions may not be perfect, but that’s where the human intervention comes in. This AI platform would need to be backed by a human element—an educator or an instructional designer, someone who understands the intricacies and nuances of question creation. This human in the loop can review and curate AI-generated questions to craft the best possible questions on the content.

Sounds promising, right? Well, that’s exactly what Quillionz is. It is the world’s first AI-powered question generator that enables you to create quality assessment questions for your courses in a fraction of the time it takes you today.  Here’s how it works: You upload your content to the Quillionz platform. Once you do, Quillionz’ powerful algorithms automatically create ideas based on your content, which you can then curate and publish. Quillionz finds the perfect synergy between human expertise and technology to make your question-creation process faster and more efficient. Click here for a free sign-up with Quillionz and delve into this new approach to question-creation.

The Beauty and Significance of Wh Questions

Being the mother of a young child, my day starts with questions that are shot my way the moment my kid wakes up. “Why should I go to school?”, “What have you packed for lunch today?”, “When will you come to pick me up?”, “Who is going to play with me?”, and many more, in no particular order.

Does that give you a sense of where I am heading? Well, stop and take a moment to think about the number of questions you answer or ask every day. Be it your personal or professional life, conveying and understanding a message becomes such a cumbersome task without questions. Questions can open doors to the right knowledge. They are absolutely irreplaceable.

When working on questions, we often begin with what and then progress to who, where, when, and why. These questions are commonly known as Wh questions. These also include some more types like whom, which, whose, and how – essentially any questions starting with WH.

When a teacher or a parent asks a Wh question like “What are you doing?”, “Who did this?” or “Where is this?” the student or child is expected to give a logical and complex response than just a yes or no. This helps enhance their communication and reasoning abilities.

Wh questions are highly beneficial in the context of education and infact, at any place where questions need to be asked. Using Wh questions in learning and assessment material could significantly improve the verbal and logical reasoning abilities of your learners. For young kids, it even helps enhance vocabulary. Wh questions help learners to collect relevant knowledge and demonstrate what they already know. Learners take time to contemplate what they know before they respond. They could help be helpful in multiple scenarios, since there is a specific usage for each type of Wh question, like,

  • What is used to ask about things or objects
  • Who and Whom are used to ask about people
  • Where is used to ask about places
  • When is used to ask about time
  • Why is used to ask about causes
  • Which is used to ask about choices
  • Whose is used to ask about possession
  • How is used to ask about process

For question creators, it is a humongous task to constantly create appropriate Wh questions for learner assessments, quizzes, or informal knowledge checks. What if there is a tool that could help you create Wh questions at the click of a button from your content! Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

Enter Quillionz Pro, world’s first AI-powered tool that can create Wh questions from your content in a few seconds. Not only does Quillionz Pro let you generate Wh questions, it also allows exporting these questions into multiple formats for further use. Quillionz Pro is ideal if you need to generate high-quality AI and machine learning questions.

5 Phenomenal Tools for Smarter Teaching

5 Phenomenal Tools for Smarter TeachingTechnology is empowering. You can take a peek at the whole world sitting in the corner of a room, using that small mobile in your hand. With such immense power, technology is undoubtedly aiding instructors and students to achieve all that they can through education. While there are millions of technology-driven tools to enhance education, I am going to take about 5 of my favorite ones that make a great fit for anyone’s teaching arsenal. Have a look.

Freckle

With an aim to reach every student at their level, Freckle empowers teachers to differentiate instruction across Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science. Over 400,000 teachers use Freckle for independent practice, for small groups, centers, and more. Students automatically work on lessons that are suited to them – neither too difficult nor too easy. Students are always engaged and challenged as per their capabilities. And as a teacher, you know exactly how they’re doing with the help of Freckle’s easy reports.

Get started with Freckle for free here.

Quillionz

Questions are imperative to learning and teachers rely on questions every single day. Quillionz, an AI-powered question-generator, understands this need and provides an easy and quick way to create questions. Quillionz helps you create machine language questions from your teaching content, in a matter of seconds. It works with any textual content – a chapter in the textbook, an article off the internet, or even a video transcript. Perhaps, it’s the way to create questions we could only dream about.

Sign up with Quillionz for free here.

Quizlet

Quizlet can be used anyone to study and learn content created by other users or to create their own custom study sets. Quizlet helps teachers engage students with interactive study material, learning activities, and games. They could also create their own classroom sets with custom terms, images, and audio; collaborate with other teachers; play Quizlet Live game to engage students; and track progress to support stronger outcomes. The company also offers Quizlet Learn, a smart resource powered by the Learning Assistant Platform. It uses machine learning to process data from millions of study sessions to show students the most relevant study material.

Get started with Quizlet here.

Knowji

Popular amongst language learners, Knowji is known to make learning and remembering vocabulary fun, fast, and highly effective. Through cartoon illustrations, audio pronunciations, definitions, and example sentences coupled with a powerful spaced repetition algorithm, Knowji ensures that learners remember everything they’ve learned. Knowji tracks down words that students don’t know and remember, and suggests when it’s time to practice them again. Knowji is available both on the App Store and Google Play.

Gradescope

Gradescope, now acquired by Turnitin, is an AI-assisted grading platform that enables instructors to grade paper-based exams, online homework, and programming projects on one platform. It makes the whole grading-process really easy so that instructors can focus more on what matters more – teaching. The instructors can also obtain insights about student learning in any area of study, including economics, business, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Get Started with Gradescope here.

Have you used any of the above tools, or do you use any other aid to make your classroom better? Reach out through comments below.

8 Best Practices for Creating Effective Multiple Choice Questions

I think I was about 7 years old when I encountered a multiple choice test for the first time in life. It was a general knowledge exam. And man, I just loved it! It was much easier and quicker to recall and spot the right answer from a list of choices than writing a descriptive answer.  In-fact, most students prefer multiple choice questions for the same reason. They are a popular method of assessment with educators too, primarily because of their scoring ease and reliability, and their ability to test various levels of learning outcomes. However, in order to get the most out of multiple choice questions, they need to be constructed well, without any ambiguity.

There are some best practices that you can follow to ensure you are creating good multiple choice questions; but before that, let’s quickly talk about the anatomy of a multiple choice question.

Anatomy of Multiple Choice Questions

Any multiple choice question consists of a problem statement (the question itself), which is known as the stem, and a list of possible answer options, known as foils. The correct foil is called the key. And the incorrect ones are known as distractors.  When stem and foils come together, they form an item.

Now that you are familiar with the anatomy, let’s look at some basic guidelines that form the base of good multiple choice tests.

  1. Clearly define the stem

The stem must be clearly defined and should include the main idea. Students should understand what the problem is without having to read the foils and even if they don’t know the right answer.

  1. Use a single-dimensional stem

A good stem is single-dimensional i.e. it tests the learner only on one concept. If the intention is to quiz learners on multiple concepts, do that through multiple items.

  1. Avoid using negative verbiage in the stem

Avoid the use of negative words like ‘not’ or ‘except’ in the stem unless a learning outcome specifically requires them. If at all you use them, ensure these are highlighted by bolding, CAPITALZING, or underlining to avoid any confusion.

  1. Use homogeneous foils

All foils should ideally be similar in length and parallel in form to avoid attracting responses to a particular foil because it stands-out.

  1. Use mutually-exclusive foils

The foils should be mutually-exclusive and not overlapping with each other. They should not be formed with an idea to trick the students but rather, assist in unbiased testing of their knowledge.

  1. Avoid linking the stem to the key

Avoid linking the stem to the answer by using intentional clues like the use of ‘a’ and ‘an’ in the stem. For instance, if a stem ends with ‘an’; students will figure out that the correct answer begins with a vowel.

  1. Use plausible distractors

Distractors should be plausible in order to serve their purpose. Unreasonable and give-away distractors just spoil the test’s validity. Common student errors are the best source when it comes to forming distractors.

  1. Avoid using ‘all of the above’ and ‘none of the above’ as foils

Students just need to recognize two correct options to get the answer correct if you use ‘all of the above’ as a foil. For ‘none of the above’, you will never be able to figure out if the student knew the correct answer.

Multiple choice questions, although highly effective to test factual recall and even higher-order thinking at times, are very time consuming to construct. Writing these could be a daunting task for many educators.  If you are frequently tasked with creating them, you might find a great aid in Quillionz. It is an AI-powered question generation tool which can produce hundreds of question ideas and ample distractor options, from a content set in a matter of few seconds. So, if you are tasked with creating a multiple-choice test, try out Quillionz for free here.