Keep asking questions

How we design prompts and questions for students

Andrew Lowery

2/20/20221 min read

Rollama is powered by many thousands of questions across our 100+ game pages. Writing these prompts to challenge students to think hard about their language has been a time-consuming process.

We written with 5-15 year olds in mind throughout the process, which has its own difficulties. We've mostly kept multi-syllabic words to Levels 2 and 3, and throughout we have strived to avoid esoteric and localised language.

We want each page to serve the language purpose without creating its own opaque style or logic. Questions should be easy to read but challenging to answer.

We wrote so many questions so that children cannot memorise every answer, which will hopefully generate more thinking about the language point under focus.

We have intentionally kept the content words generic and universal - animals, food, classroom objects, school interactions, simple home objects - nothing which is too specialised or alienating for children. There is enough for language learners to absorb without mixing multidisciplinary demands at the time of most fragile attention and effort.

'Trick questions' are easy to write but not desirable; we want learners to feel the system is on their side and helping them to embed the skills at face value. For instance there/their/they're questions are best served by keeping the three options in the same place - there is no additional learning benefit to muddling the answer and forcing the student to search for the button, when the main purpose is to think about those confusing words in context.

Each page has roughly 100 questions - if you feel like more are necessary, please get in touch. We're happy to include some user-generated content in the future too!