Design principle 4:

Process one learning element per question

Limit each question to one piece of information that people need to remember. Especially for adaptive learning, short and relevant questions are the most effective. Check below to find out how it’s done!


Make sure each question covers just one learning element. A learning element is one piece of information that people need to remember. Make your question about this one particular learning element and save other important material for the next question. Dual questions – when you basically ask two questions at once – are an absolute no-go!

So:What is the definition of A?’ and ‘What is the definition of B?

Instead try:What is the difference between A and B?

With dual questions, the system cannot assess what knowledge someone has mastered and what they haven’t mastered yet. It also makes it harder for drillers to remember the right information. You will find two examples below.


Besides the fact that you would otherwise be making things unnecessarily difficult for learners, limiting your question to one learning element also serves another purpose. The Drillster application works in an adaptive way, tailoring each drill to the individual learner. Not only the drills, but the separate questions in those drills are shown to the drillers at different intervals. It all depends on the individual’s speed and proficiency level. Questions that someone gets wrong a lot are repeated more often as they cover material they have not mastered properly yet. This is also why it is important that you limit each question to one single learning element. It allows the algorithm to do its thing and determine the learner’s proficiency level on each separate element.


Imagine you have a question that covers two learning elements and the learner gets the answer wrong. Drillster then has no way of knowing if the learner has mastered neither element or has perhaps already mastered one of them. Drillster will then repeat the whole question, regardless of whether the driller may already know part of it. This is unnecessary and, most of all, frustrating for the learner. A question with one single learning element is measured more specifically, enabling the application to be more effective.


Do you want another reason? With dual questions, you will also have to provide feedback on both learning elements (see design principle 6). Instead, focus on one learning element to keep things manageable. Don’t overcomplicate things for the learners, or for yourself either.




This is a good question in which one learning element is included. The information to be remembered is fully displayed in the answer: ’30 chest compressions’.

This is an example of a dual question. Here two different learning elements are questioned. Try to avoid this.

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