New e-learning course creators often wonder: When’s the best time to use quizzes in my course? I remember asking a former mentor a similar question. Her response? “Quiz early, quiz often!” Over the years, I’ve realized that her advice is perfect for online courses. While it’s beneficial to test learners’ understanding at the end of a course, there are many other opportunities to make good use of quizzes.

Here are three great ways to use quizzes in your courses:

1. Before the Course

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the best time to give a quiz is before learners dive into the course content. A quiz is a great way to give learners a hint of what’s to come. If the quiz is challenging, it can clue them into knowledge gaps they didn’t know they had and help them focus—because they know they’ll have to work hard to learn the material. It can also pique their interest and curiosity about the content.  

To check out an e-learning example that begins with a quiz, take a look at this course: Rise 360: Food Allergy Awareness.

You can also pair pre- and post-quizzes to compare what learners knew before and after taking a course. Comparing the two results can give learners a view of how much they’ve improved and give you valuable insights into the effectiveness of your e-learning.

A pre-test can also be a way to let learners who can demonstrate they already know the material test out of the course. As long as there aren’t regulatory or legal reasons they have to take the entire course, this approach allows you to confirm they know the information. And learners are sure to appreciate being able to opt out of a course on something they already know. 

To see a project that allows learners to test out of the course, check out this download: Storyline: Course Template with Pre-Check and Final Evaluation.

2. As They Go

Quizzes can also be sprinkled throughout a course to help learners check their own understanding. After you present a chunk of information, give your learners a brief quiz or knowledge check to help them stay engaged. It can be as simple as a single question that hones in on a core concept or multiple questions covering a series of key points. 

Quizzing learners as they go also helps you assess whether they understood what you just taught them while also reinforcing main ideas. If they pass the quiz, allow them to move on. And if they didn’t understand the material, you can route them back to review the material and try again. Alternatively, you can leave that decision up to learners and let them decide if they’re ready to continue or if they want to revisit any topics before proceeding. 

To see a quick way to check for understanding during a course, take a look at this example: Storyline: Dos and Don’ts Knowledge Check.

3. At the End of a Course

Traditionally, course creators use quizzes at the end of a course to summarize key points and comprehensively test learners’ understanding of all course objectives. Final quizzes not only allow learners to see how much they’ve retained from the course, but they’re a great way to build documentation records for training requirements, like in the case of compliance courses. To see a compliance course that uses a final quiz to score learners’ knowledge, check out this example: Rise 360: Workplace Safety 101.


Ultimately, there are many effective ways to quiz your learners, and quizzes can serve numerous purposes. The key is to be intentional. By carefully considering learners’ needs and the course’s purpose, you can design an engaging learning experience that uses quizzes in smart and creative ways. 

To learn even more about creating quizzes, dive into any of these helpful articles: 

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