You spend hours designing the perfect courses, administering these courses, and studying the feedback. To your surprise, learner retention was low over time and engagement scores were the same. What went wrong? Enter educational quizzes.
You may say adding more assessments throughout training is a deterrent. But it’s not. Before we examine the best ways to create effective educational quizzes, let’s discuss why to use them in the first place.
What are the benefits of educational quizzes?
There are several pros to using quizzes to break up your training courses. Here are a few reasons they work well within corporate learning.
The entire point of corporate training is to learn and commit new skills to memory. So by using educational quizzes, you can actually improve employee memory. When you stop at certain points in a training module and insert a quiz, you can reiterate key points. This repetition helps drive key points to memory.
Sure you can track who has taken which training course, but it’s hard to assess if the employee has learned what was taught. One way to do this is through quizzes. By inserting educational quizzes throughout a training module, you can compare the scores against other employees. If there is a particular low-scoring quiz within a training module, it may mean the information is not explained well enough or the subject matter is a bit too complex. Either way, it’s a chance for you to tweak the content and make it better.
Whether you have a longer training session or an employee with a shorter attention span, the human reaction to training is to “zone out” at times. A good way to counteract this is by creating quizzes throughout. If an employee has to stop and complete a short quiz before moving on, it forces them to pay attention to the training and recall what was just learned.
Helps the learning process
When an employee learns something in more than one way it helps to understand the concept more thoroughly. So for example say your lesson is a mixture of video snippets and text. Inserting a quiz after each section is then a third way the employee is seeing the same material. So quizzes can help the success of the learning process.
Acts as a study guide
Just like a study guide helps you prepare for a final exam, effective educational quizzes can do the same. When you study for a test and quiz yourself along the way, you are allowed to make mistakes. It’s practice. So when you insert quizzes throughout training it’s a chance to correct misunderstandings without the fear of failure.
Best practices for educational quizzes in corporate learning
Now that you know some of the reasons why adding educational quizzes is a good practice, how do you use assessments in training? There are some best practices that will help you incorporate them into any training session. Not only will it give the benefits we just mentioned, but will cement long-term learning. Here are 10 tips to maximize educational quizzes.
1. Use a pre-test
Start with a pre-test before you dive into the course material. This will give you and the employee a better idea of what they already know and what they don’t. Plus, if the employees don’t know several of the answers, it’s an instant motivator for why they need the training course. And as a result, they see the value in the training.
2. Don’t use grades
These educational quizzes or assessments should not be scored. Rather, wrong answers should be pointed out and correct answers are given as a way to teach.
3. Vary quiz types
There are several types of quizzes with a few that lend themselves well to corporate training.
- Sequencing One is sequencing. This is when you give several steps in a process and the employee has to put the steps into the correct order. Sequencing is great for rolling out new procedures like a new customer service protocol for example.
- Labeling Another quiz type is labeling. This is where you have an employee put a label on each picture. This quiz type could be used for a new product rollout where the employee needs to understand each part of a given product.
- Short answer Although you don’t want a quiz with several short answer questions, it’s good to include one or two along a training module. These are more open-ended questions eliciting a response like to recall a definition or what action to take in a given situation. They give a good indication of how well an employee can problem solve with new skills in hand.
- Fill-in-the-blanks This quiz type is similar to a short answer, but an employee would need to fill in one word or a phrase rather than writing out the answer. This line of questioning is great for learning new rules to be implemented.
- Matching When you want an employee to understand new terminology and definitions, matching is an effective educational quiz method. It’s also an engaging way to keep a learner’s interest during training since you can use imagery within the assessment.
Whatever method you use, mixing it up a bit works well with keeping a learner’s attention during training.
4. Give feedback
As we said before, quizzes act as a study guide. So just like you would review the right answer in a study guide after giving an incorrect answer, you should do the same within your assessments. So for example, if an employee chooses answer C and it’s wrong, adding a pop-up that explains why this answer is incorrect and which one is correct is beneficial.
5. Minimize true or false questions
True or false questions are usually fairly easy to guess. So try and use these questions sparingly within your educational quizzes.
6. Multiple choice test questions
Since the majority of effective educational quizzes use multiple choice questions, let’s talk about what works best for this style of questions.
Use the same number of responses per question. A good number is about four or five choices. Not only with this keep the questions consistent but having too few answers will make your quizzes too easy to answer.
Since you are speaking to a wide range of ages and experience levels, you’ll want your questions and answers clearly written. Use simple yet conversational language everyone can understand. And steer clear of humor or slang.
Most multiple choice questions follow a format. So you can create templates in a learning management system to simplify this process. You first create the stem or the question. Then you create the answers or the responses. These questions should be short and elicit a response. In other words, avoid questions that simply ask for a one-word answer. The point is to learn a new concept and force the employee to think.
Although multiple choice questions are the easiest to assess knowledge learned, not everyone is great at this line of questioning. Think about your more abstract learners like your content writers who may think more grey versus black and white. So avoid all of the above, none of the above, or choose more than one answer. This line of questioning could add confusion for some learners. And this takes away from the learning process.
7. Allow room for mistakes
Another way to make effective educational quizzes is to allow room for errors. In other words, if an employee selects a wrong answer, give them at least one more try to select the correct answer. This process allows learners to think through the questions and process new information better. Plus, it demonstrates mastery of learning. If you are not familiar, mastery learning is mastering one concept before moving to the next.
8. Use branching scenarios
One way to make learning more personal is using branching scenarios. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, branching scenarios are a lot like those books where you choose your own adventure. So using this same concept in creating effective educational quizzes you let the learner choose an answer. Based on their decision, they are met with the consequences of that choice. So you create different paths based on the learner’s answers. That way if a learner understands all the answers, they move quickly on to the next section. However, if they choose several wrong answers, they are met with more information to help them better understand the concepts before moving on.
9. Incorporate group quizzes
While learning is usually a solo function, there is a huge benefit to learning from co-workers. Peer-to-peer learning is a great way to bounce ideas off of each other, collaborate on answers, and refine answers to new concepts. Using this same concept, you can create effective educational quizzes. For example, in a classroom setting, ask a group to answer a few questions after a training session together. Employees can work together to solve the answers. And when there is disagreement, there can be a healthy debate as to why one answer is correct over another.
10. Tie material to real-life
Sometimes there is a disconnect between learning and the learner. A course for example may be assigned and an employee doesn’t see the value in the material. One way to counteract this is by creating effective educational quizzes that tie questions to real-life scenarios. For example, asking a question to a customer service team member about how to react to an irate customer over a new product. Giving this employee a question that directly ties to their job shows how the material at hand benefits their job directly. In other words, it shows the importance of training.
What tools are available to create effective educational quizzes?
Once you have the best practices for effective educational quizzes, you may wonder how you create these? We have a list of a few helpful tools for creating these assessments.
The first one is a learning management system like Continu. By partnering with an LMS provider, you’ll have access to templates to successfully create these quizzes. Other features include assigning these building these quizzes into already built-in training modules and assessing scores to see how well employees are learning new skills. And for changing or refining built-in quizzes, these can easily be altered with an LMS partner.
If you are looking for a more basic quiz builder, you can use Google Forms. Although it doesn’t contain as many features as an LMS, it offers quiz creation. Although you must ask closed-end questions, you will be able to collect the results easily.
If you are quizzing your employees on the type of training they would like to receive or how their training session went once it was over, you could use something like PollDaddy. With this company, you can create unlimited surveys with an infinite number of respondents.
SurveyMonkey offers a few features to create effective educational quizzes. These include automatically scoring answers instantly, displaying the answers, and finalizing the scores at the end. Plus, you can see who has yet to take the quiz and compare results for further analytics. And for more advanced options, paying an additional fee will get you features like custom messaging and emailing results.
This company offers several quiz formats like multiple choice, open response, live word clouds, clickable images, and more. Plus, if you have employees in different parts of the world, it can be written in several languages. And to add imagery to your quizzes, you can insert photos and even emojis.
Drive key points home with assessing
Quizzes as we’ve discussed are a great way to test learning along the way and also reinforce new concepts. There are several ways to test from multiple choice to more open-ended questions. The key is to follow the best practices we laid out. That way your quizzes will add to the overall learning experience and you’ll gain insight into how well each employee is understanding important topics.