19 Replies
Destery Hildenbrand

I don't think you always need a quiz. In our shorter modules we have interactions requiring response from the learner at certain intervals that we use to gauge progress and understanding. A formal quiz with x amount of questions requiring a set score to pass is not always on the docket or needed. 

Christy Tucker

I would probably do a single question or interactivity in something that short. There is some research showing that the act of testing yourself or quizzing yourself improves learning retention. It's called "retrieval practice" or the "testing effect." In microlearning, you have only a single objective, so a single question should be enough to measure it. That single question will also give you greater impact for the content you presented.

See Make It Stick, Chapter 2 for a research summary.

Scott Kaye

Not a big fan of making quizzes if there is no cause.  usually only do so when there is a need to test retained learning.  Sometimes as an alternative I do a demonstration and use one of the freeform slides to have a user repeat the process before continuing.  It's unscored, but the user can't progress unless they demonstrate learning.

Ari Avivi

I always ask two questions.  Who are we doing it for and what is the difference if we don't do it?

For example, if we are transferring knowledge, and the learner will take that knowledge and apply it somewhere that we are already evaluating their application of the knowledge, why waste the time testing the retention of knowledge?

Mark Shepherd

Very interesting and timely question, Claudiane!

In my organization, we usually don't begin designing and building a quiz unless and until there is enough learning content (and an associated requirement, as quizzes use LN and LMS resources) to support it.

In other words, if there isn't at least 1 hour's worth of learning going on in the module at hand, we will typically NOT include a quiz component.

If you have a shorter course (less than an hour), the next best option would be to do as many others suggest: build a simpler single or double-question/answer style interaction that functions almost in the vein of a "mini-quiz", just with intervening content.

Danielle Delgeras

Quizzes are a good way to get people engaged, but I personally don't like having to participate in a quiz for every time I use an e-learning module. So I would say no that it shouldn't be every single one. I try to always design in the way that I would like to learn. This helps me to think of the e-learners first and what they would respond to.

Walt Hamilton

f you want support for this idea, go to Allen Interactions. Ethan Allen really pushes the idea of setting a learning context similar to where the learner will use their knowledge, giving them a challenge and an activity, then giving feedback; exactly what you are proposing.

Sean Delaney

Agree no need for a quiz as a rule of thumb, especially if it's sole purpose is to force the learner through the content. Good content should fix that!

As others have said adding questions as an engagement feature throughout the course works well. It's also important to choose the label, e.g. exam/quiz/assessment correctly as in different organisations I've found they mean slightly different things and can affect the perception of how they are received.  

Mark Shepherd

Hi Sean:

Interesting.  I hadn't considered the possibility of labels for quizzes being that much of a concern or a consideration, but it's a fair point, for sure.

Also interesting is the whole idea of how quizzes and tests may be perceived. 

It's possible some of us (including me) may be over-thinking some of these things, but the truth often for many organizations is that if you don't provide some kind of Knowledge Check and mark learners to some kind of rated standard, then it's questionable whether learners might take the content seriously.

If you are up-front about learning expectations and objectives (including testing) early on in your course content, then what you call it should be fairly straight-forward and clearly understood.

Scott Wiley

I like Walt referring to Allen Interactions. Their course examples are always "performance" based and not just "information" based.

Ever notice how you never see typical quizzing questions in any of AI's courses?

They tend to be set up as a series of performance challenges and commonly have multiple levels of immediate and delayed feedback in the form of consequences - so much more memorable and able to be incorporated in real world contexts.

Also different from typical quizzing questions, guessing your way through tends to be harder than paying attention to the task.

We tend to use a combination of Cathy Moore's "Action Mapping" method with Allen Interaction's "C.C.A.F" method of instructional interactivity design and incorporate "S.A.M." project processes.

Sean Delaney

I did have a client recently have an exam at the end. During initial user testing we found some apprehension regarding the course and the 'Exam' It turned out that the original intention was to just have some questions at the end to make sure people understood the content, however the word exam made people feel it was graded and that there was some consequence or reward associated with it. 

Your right though setting the expectations (with regard what is happening with the scores and who will see them) is a great point.