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Quiz Variations, Question Shuffling, and Answer Shuffling Explained

Weblearning 9.5 has added a lot of new functionality to enhance and customize your quizzes and courses.  In Weblearning 9.5 you now have three different methods you can utilize to present unique quizzes to each and every one of your students.  This can be particularly useful if your in a testing enviroment where students are completing their course work side-by-side. Instead of those students seeing the same quizzes in the same order (making cheating or cooperation much easier), you can configure your quizzes to display questions in a shuffled order, display the answers to those questions in a shuffled order, or even display a different set of random question altogether for the same quiz.

The first method we’re going to discuss is Question Shuffling and how to use it. Question shuffling allows you to present your questions in a different random order each time the quiz is started. If using the question shuffling method alone, your students are still going to get the same set of questions each time they take the quiz, however they will appear in a different random order each time the quiz is taken.


The first step in setting up your quizzes to shuffle questions is to head over to the Quizzes & Modules tab inside of your Weblearning Course Admin. Find the quiz where you would like to shuffle questions for and then click the Properties button to the right of that quiz.


This will bring up the Quiz Properties screen for that quiz, under the General Settings subtab. Scroll down until you see the box that says Shuffle Questions (about 3/4 down).  To the right of where it reads Shuffle Questions is a dropdown box – to set your quiz to shuffle the questions, select Yes – shuffle each time from the dropdown. Once you’ve made that change, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Submit Changes button to save your changes.

You can also configure your quizzes to shuffle the questions in your default publishing settings. By doing this, every quiz you publish/republish from that point forward will shuffle the questions each time the quiz is taken.

To do this, we’re going to click on the Quizzes & Modules tab again, but this time we’re going to go over to the Settings subtab.


Once on the Settings subtab, click the link that reads Setup Publishing Defaults for All Modules. This area allows you set up the default settings that are used each time you publish/republish a new or existing quiz.  Click on the Functional Settings subtab to shuffle questions in all your quizzes from here on out.


The third option down underneath the Functional Settings subtab is the Shuffle Questions option. Select Yes from the dropdown box located to the right, then click the Submit Changes button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

The next thing we’re going to talk about is Shuffling the Answers to your Quiz questions. Answer shuffling can be applied to Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, True/False, and Yes/No style questions.  It cannot be applied to Fill-in-the-Blank, Essay, Matching, or Pick List style questions. Unlike question shuffling, Answer Shuffling can only be applied on a question by question basis instead of in one setting across a quiz.

To get started with Answer Shuffling, click on the Questions & Slides tab and Add a NEW Question from one of the compatible question types listed above.


Once you’ve selected the question type you’d like to work with, the Question Editor will come up where you can enter your question, answers, set the question category, etc.  The area of the question editor we’re interested in falls directly underneath where you enter the choices/responses for your question. Check the box to left of where it reads Check this box to shuffle the answer order each time. Once you’ve completed creating your question (entering the question text, the choices, selecting to shuffle the answer, and assigning a category) click the Add Question button at the bottom of the editor window to save your question.


The same idea can be used to add Answer Shuffling to your existing questions by bringing up the questions in the Question Editor and then checking the box below the choices/responses. Remember adding answer shuffling is the same as editing on your questions, so in order for those changes to take effect in the quizzes that your end user will see, any quizzes that contain those questions need to be republished.

The last thing we’re going to discuss is a brand new feature in Weblearing 9.5 which gives you the ability to create quizzes that pull from the same set of questions, but do not use the same exact questions every time the quiz is taken. The feature we’re talking about is Quiz Variations.  You can set a quiz to use quiz variations each time you publish and new quiz or republishing one of your existing quizzes.  For this example I’m going to show you how to configure a quiz to use variations by creating a new quiz.

The first step is to go to the Quizzes & Modules tab. From there, click the topmost link below the subtabs that reads Create a New Graded Quiz.


This will bring up the Publish a Quiz Screen, where you can enter the title for your quiz, select the categories and number of questions from those categories you would like to use, set a time limit for your quiz, and enabled Quiz Variations for your quiz.

What quiz variations essentially does is tell the quiz that each time it’s started to repeat the same set of question selection rules over again. So if you initially configure to quiz to use 10 random questions from Category A, 10 random questions from Category B, and 10 random questions from category C – each time a student takes that quiz the quiz will pull 10 random questions from each of those categories.  It’s important to note that for quiz variations to properly function, there should be more questions in the category than the number you are pulling. Otherwise, each time the quiz pulls the question it’s going to end up pulling ALL the questions from the category, which defeats the purpose of using variations.


In the example above, I’ve set my quiz to use 15 random questions from all my question categories. Since I have nearly 200 questions available, each time the quiz is started 15 random out of those 200 available will be selected and displayed to the user. I’ve also made sure to check the box to the left of Deliver a random quiz variation to each user to turn on the quiz variation feature. Once I’ve finished creating my quiz and configuring it to function the way I would like it, I’ll click the Publish Quiz button at the bottom of the screen to create my new quiz.

Each of the aforementioned features can be used alone or in conjunction with one-another. Using Quiz Variations, Question Shuffling, and Answer Shuffling together gives me the most power, allowing me to create quizzes that use different sets of questions, displayed in random order, with the answers themselves displayed in random order – making it less likely that two students can recieve the same exact quiz.

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