“Where's the best place to add a knowledge check?”

Andrew Winner asked this great question in the forums this week, which got me thinking about some of the different ways course designers can create and use knowledge checks. To me, knowledge checks are all about feedback, and, as Tom said in a recent post, “Good online courses provide feedback throughout the course. The trick is making sure that it is meaningful and effective feedback.”

There are a lot of strategies for employing knowledge checks, including the traditional end-of-course quiz,  scenarios integrated into the course content, and others. Personally, I think we should use informal, non-graded knowledge checks more frequently to evaluate learners' grasp of the content. If you’re looking for inspiration to get your ideas going, here are four easy ways to build knowledge checks.

From the context of Andrew's question above, it sounds as though he plans to use interactive scenarios in his knowledge checks. These are a great way to have learners apply what they've learned since you can challenge them to make realistic choices and then show them the consequences of those choices.

What about you? Where do you like to put your knowledge checks? During the course or after? Have you ever tried putting them before the content just to see what learners already know? There is some evidence that suggests learners can benefit from taking a knowledge check BEFORE learning the content.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Formal or informal? Graded or not? Early and often, only at the end, or some other combination? What is your approach to knowledge checks and why? Jump in and add your two cents' worth to this discussion.

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Tim Slade
Andrew Winner
Jacinta Penn

I like to scatter interactions throughout the course if I can, so there are constant knowledge checks. Otherwise they are trying to remember after learning a whole lot of other stuff too. Usually non-scored and then I might have a scored quiz at the end. And as Andrew said, since we always put in custom feedback now (I didn't when I first started), they are still learning, even if they get it wrong. If I have a course with too much info that has to be taught, i might even put bits of it in the feedback that are relevant to the question asked. I tend to call these interactions rather than knowledge checks, because really I'm just trying to get them to interact with the information, so they aren't just passively absorbing the whole way until the quiz and so it sinks into the right parts of ... Expand