Re-read training content, attend a live lecture, or take a quiz? Which one of these would you choose as a learning strategy? If you picked one of the first two options, you’d do okay. If you really wanted to maximize learning, though, you might be surprised to know that an online quiz is your best bet.
But while you might not be convinced, we’re just getting started. So, here come the most important reasons for making quizzes a core element of online learning assessment in your courses.
Why is assessment important in online learning?
Tests and assignments are age-old assessment techniques still commonly used today. We’ve experienced them, you’ve experienced them, and just reading the word “test” is probably conjuring up memories of ticking clocks and looming deadlines. But if assessments are so stressful, why do we keep including them in training?
The obvious answer is that we need them. Assessments help us figure out which competencies employees already have, which they still need, and how training can be improved to achieve better results. But given the power of eLearning technologies, could there be a better way of assessing the online learner?
There sure is, and it’s called the eLearning quiz!
The key benefits of quizzes in online training
So, what are exactly the key benefits of using quizzes in your training? Here’s why you should include them in your courses:
Quizzing is learning’s best friend
Researchers have discovered that the very act of being quizzed actually helps people learn better. Quizzes are an effective retrieval practice, meaning they help learners retain new knowledge for longer. So, when quizzes are used as a regular assessment method in education, learners achieve higher grades in end-of-course exams.
So, how does it work?
Well, because quizzes ask learners to pull concepts out of their brains, instead of just putting concepts in, employees are involved in their own learning process. They can gauge their own level of understanding, and receive immediate feedback. Plus, after attempting each question, they don’t just get the correct answer, but the justification for it, too.
This means that, when incorporated into online learning assessment, quizzes become less of a test and more of a learning strategy. How ex-quiz-ite is that?
A more motivating approach to online learning assessment
Why do assessments always feel so daunting? Could it be the time constraints? Or maybe it’s simply knowing that every mistake carries a penalty? Either way, stress has been found to have a negative impact on learning performance. For example, low stress levels during learning lead to better retention of information.
But quizzes are a type of eLearning assessment that tends to be more of a training tool than a training outcome. In other words, quiz results measure progress, not completion. And this takes the stress factor right out of the equation.
So, if quizzes lead to improved learning and knowledge retention, without the stress, it’s easy to see why this type of assessment would also motivate learners. Because learners can practice, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes without any pressure or risk. Why shouldn’t they want to give this kind of learning a go?
How to effectively assess online learning with quizzes
You know your course needs them. Now you want to know how to use them. Here are the best practices in online assessment and evaluation that will get you the top results from quizzes.
Include a quiz before the course begins, and again at the end
How do you know your users have learned something? Is ‘feeling smarter’ enough? Not for most people. You see, employees want evidence that what they know today is better than what they knew before training began. Because seeing this change is what makes learning rewarding.
So, before each module, give employees the chance to quiz themselves on the core concepts they’re about to cover. Then, in the end, allow employees to take another quiz that assesses the same knowledge. They’ll thank you when they see how far they’ve come.
Give immediate and detailed feedback
One of the great benefits of quizzes is that they’re an automated form of online learning assessment. In other words, you only need to invest in writing feedback once, and your LMS will do the rest. So, if you only have to do it once, do it well!
Make sure that every response option has a detailed justification for why it is correct or incorrect. This way, even if learners simply swing a pencil over the screen to choose an option (it happens), they’ll still learn from the feedback they get.
Use different types of quizzes
Quizzes are often used as a synonym for multiple choice question (MCQ) tests. But that box is too small for a learning tool that’s flush with possibilities. You see, quizzes can and should come in all shapes and sizes to keep learners engaged.
For example, use drag-and-drop questions to ask learners to categorize items. Or ask learners to match words to demonstrate their knowledge of associations. A true or false question format is also popular as a test of understanding and information retention.
And when you do use MCQs, shuffle between questions that have one correct answer, and those with multiple correct answers. Finally, use quiz questions within videos to keep the attention of easily distracted learners, and engage them in active learning. Just make sure that you use a powerful LMS that supports video and is mobile compatible.
Ask questions the right way
There might be many different types of test questions for quizzes. But whichever you use, make sure that every question and answer is clear, concise and free of ambiguities. Let’s use an example.
Imagine the quiz question “Why are quizzes considered convenient retrieval practices in online learning assessment?”. It’s unclear whether the question is asking why quizzes are convenient as retrieval practices go, or why they are considered retrieval practices at all.
Over to you
Quizzes are quick, convenient, and packed with learning benefits for your employees. Now all you need to do is implement them in your online courses using the best practices above. Ready, set, quiz!