Looking for Best Final Course Assessment Feedback Practices

Aug 25, 2015

Hi All,

I'm hoping to get a sense of what other Instructional Designers (IDs) and organizations are doing when it comes to eLearning course assessment feedback.  

The eLearning courses that my team has been developing provide feedback (Correct / Incorrect and a brief blurb about the concept covered) after every "Check Your Understanding" question in a course, but NOT for final assessment questions. 

We went back and forth on this premise a few years ago and, for a variety of reasons, came to the decision that in our courses we'd have learners answer each assessment question and then be immediately brought to the next question (sans feedback).  After the last question of the assessment, we provide a total score and let learners know if they've passed or not.  If they pass, they can move forward to the final page(s) of the course.  If not, they are given the opportunity to retake the assessment as many times as needed until they do. 

We've been noticing a trend in course evaluation feedback lately that folks would at least like to know whether they are getting each assessment question right or wrong as they answer them. 

It certainly seems logical and we're prepared to make that change, but before we do, we just want to know what other IDs and organizations are doing re this. 

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.


5 Replies
Nicole Legault

Hey Corey! Very interesting question - thanks so much for posting it here in the forums!

In terms of instructional design, I think it's a best practice to provide feedback as soon as possible in most cases. In fact it's the very first tip in an article I wrote about how to provide meaningful and effective feedback.

The longer you wait to provide feedback about a specific question the less impact I think it will have and I think it will be harder to make the connection between their answer and the feedback because they'll have to through the process of thinking "What was that question again? What did I answer for that?"  

Would love to hear what other members of the community have to say about this as well. Thanks again for bringing it up!

David Price

We have had similar feedback on end of course assessments that we have done, where the user would like to know which questions they got right and wrong.

What we do now is allow the user to progress through the quiz and give them the passing score at the end.  We then give them to opportunity to review the quiz to see what they got right and wrong, and the option to retry the quiz.  Currently we allow unlimited attempts but we have been toying with the idea of restricting this to 3.  If a user can not complete a knowledge check after 3 attempts there must be something wrong, either with the content or some other factor.

If a user can not pass after 3 attempts then it would indicate that further coaching may be required, but if a high number of users cant pass then it will lead us to re-evaluate the course content.

We have on some courses provided feedback on the actual question slide to indicate if they got the question right or wrong but we went with the option of not doing this.  I suppose there are pros and cons to each scenario, where if you provide feedback right away the user has the time to think about the question and the possible correct answer before re-trying.  On the down side of this it could take them a lot longer to complete the course.  I suppose it depends on what your requirements are.

Mark Anderson

I agree that it mostly depends upon the type of course. If the goal is to improve a skill, it is best to show the feedback as soon as practical. Some compliance courses where the goal is to be sure the learner has internalized the material before taking the assessment. I like to keep in mind that the assessment is also a measure of how good the instruction is in the course. If a learner gets multiple attempts and immediate feedback about incorrect answers, it may mean they can eventually guess their way to passing without really learning as much as expected. I like to consider each course and make sure the assessments track the objectives and purposes of the course as closely as possible. 

Corey Klein

Thank you so much for providing those insights, Nicole. You're right - - -
immediate feedback is essential! Based on our current state, I think the
main takeaway for me will be for us to do just that.

I'll continue to see how others weigh in on this topic and we'll be making
our final decision on how to best proceed shortly. Again, thanks for
sharing your experience and let's keep in touch.

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