Definable Arrange Question Object

MINI LESSONS ›› Quiz Related Topics ››



Suppose you want to be sure that a student or an employee knows the proper order of the components of an assembly. This assembly can be something physical, such as a gear assembly, or it can be less tangible, such as arranging the Periodic Table of Elements or the colors of the spectrum in the correct order. You can have the learner practice on physical components, which can be impractical, or you can have them practice on a virtual assembly.

The Definable Arrange Question object in the ToolBook catalog can be an excellent tool for virtual assembly practice and testing.

This lesson will show the basics by using the Colored Blocks example in the Catalog (Definable Arrange 2 object), and will also discuss how to set up a custom Definable Arrange object.


To begin, drag the Definable Arrange 2 object from the Questions category of the Catalog to your page for the Colored Blocks example, or drag the Definable Arrange 1 object if you want to create a customized assembly.

An object is needed in which the parts will be randomly placed upon entering the page. The Definable Arrange 2 object uses a field named "tray", which is visible with a border and fill color. If you are using the Definable Arrange 1 Question, draw a rectangle on the page large enough to hold the largest non-anchor part of your assembly and give it a name. This container field can be visible, colored, bordered, borderless or even not visible.

To assign the container field, go to the Extended Properties of the Definable Arrange Objects button, and select the field name from the Object in which the parts will be randomized drop-down list of the General tab.


For a custom assembly, you would need to find or create images (PNG, JPG, GIF, etc.) of each part of the assembly.

  1. Use the Insert | Graphic menu option to import an image of each part.
  2. Give each a unique name; i.e. "front wheel", "small cam", etc., and place all the parts in their correct positions on the page.
  3. The pattern that is created in Author mode is the pattern the learner will have to recreate from the various parts in Reader mode.

Alternately, instead of using images, you can also create graphical representations of each part of the assembly by customizing Draw Objects from the Catalog. If you are using Draw Objects, similar to the Colored Blocks example, give them unique names and place them in their correct positions on the page. The parts from the Colored Blocks example are named "yellow block", "red block", "green block" and "blue block".



To designate parts of the assembly to be included in the question, and to assign one part as an anchor around which the other parts will be built,

Another alternative is to check the Choose anchor randomly box, and a part will be selected at random as the anchor. In the Colored Blocks example, the "blue block" is designated as the anchor piece. It is not necessary to use an anchor if the assembly makes sense without one.



There are other available options on the Answers tab.

  1. Use Positioning tolerance for correct placement to set precision: this determines how far off the base position a part can be, in pixels, and still be counted as correct. A lower number requires the learner to place the parts more exactly.
  2. Using Snap objects to closest defined position will reposition the part into place, correct or incorrect, when it is within the allowed tolerance of some part's position.
  3. Reject incorrectly placed objects returns a part to its starting position in the container field if it is not the correct part for the attempted position or if it is the correct part, but was not placed within the allowed tolerance.


A Submit/Score button and options to display feedback and score can be added to the page, whether for practice or testing. Some form of feedback should be provided to allow the learner to know if the pattern was duplicated successfully, especially in practice. The Reject incorrectly placed objects option is an immediate form of feedback for the learner, since this option doesn't allow incorrect placement. The Colored Blocks example includes no options for feedback or scoring, but they can be added to the page from the Scoring and Tracking category of the Catalog.



Switch from Author to Reader mode and make sure the parts on the page have been scrambled in the container field. Build your assembly and check that the results are as you want them before passing them on to the learner.


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