The Notorious End of Course Quiz

Hey there guys!

Mans oldest enemy has reared its ugly head once more!

I have been working on a course where quizzing is incorporated throughout with scenarios and memory checks. 

Our stakeholders have decided that the course needs a quiz at the end and I have put forth a final more extended memory check where learners can go through once, if they pass that's great!, if they fail they are shown where they went wrong.

The stakeholders had something else in mind entirely which would involve the learner to either resit the quiz until it is passed (locked-in), resit the quiz once more before shown the answers OR once failed, shown the answers then go in for a second attempt!

My question is how do you guys tackle the SME about the end quiz when it begins to impose on the rest of the course and do you have any effective ways to deliver fail/resit/fail format?

9 Replies
Wendy Farmer

Hey Tim

I've had clients that wanted their user to have a choice : work through the content then have unlimited attempts to get the quiz right (client spec), or skip the module content, go straight to the quiz and get one attempt.  If they failed, they had to go through all the content before they could attempt the quiz again - then they had unlimited attempts.

I agree with users being able to attempt the quiz straight up, I agree with users having to go back and start through the content if they fail, but unlimited attempts to me doesn't teach anything - unlimited attempts to me mean the content isn't really hitting the mark.

Just my two cents worth

Rachel Barnum

A couple of questions - 

Is this a compliance course?

Why do they feel a quiz at the end is more effective than your method?

I think at most I would only have the learners try one more time, and make it  clear to them at the end that they're only going to be trying once more. Something along the lines of "That's okay, we'll consider that round practice. Take a look back through the course if you need to and then try one more time before getting the answers." Depending on the tone of your course :)

There should probably be follow up if they do fail again - their manager or someone working with them on their problem areas, then perhaps restarting the course/quiz.

Tim Clark

Rachel - yes its compliance (how did you guess?) I have challenged the need for an end of course quiz however this is coming from almost all of the stakeholders, so its non-negotiable.

Thanks for your input, we will be going for the "fail - revisit the course - retry" approach as it seems the most sensible. Notifying a manager is something we have on other courses so it might not be a bad idea to include it in this one!

Wendy - I completely agree unlimited attempts doesn't help and can turn into click and hope for the best / it to end. 


Cary Glenn

Final tests are common for compliance courses. From the business point of view it helps protect their butts. If an employee passes the course and then fails to comply with the regulations it becomes a willful act on the part of the employee. The business can then either provide guidance, reprimand them, or fire them depending on the severity. I'm not saying it is right but that is the reality of the situation.

I have been in situations where we have allowed three attempts on the test, after that they were locked out and a manager/supervisor had to go over the trouble spots with them.

Bruce Graham

Unfortunately, this is correct.

It would make much more sense if the (well-designed, real-world scenario based) QUIZ was mandatory up-front, and then the training was mandatory for those that failed, at an industry-standard 80% pass rate of course, because after all, 20% of the time you are allowed not to understand compliance rules - right?  ;)

"Of course it's only failed to clean your hands after the bathroom in 2 out of 10 visits, so 80% of the customers did not get poisoned"

Problem is, that's too much effort and far too revolutionary a concept for most people who sponsor compliance courses, so how do we, the experts in learning, stand a chance.....?

Chris Purvis

Hi there, Tim. I guess the question to the stakeholders would be simple! Are they learning?

Doing a quiz multiple times over and over even when using Pool Questions, do they learn from it?. Or using Adult learning theories, show the answer when right or wrong , do they learn from this? We learn from our mistakes being old or young, we just need to determine the method we use. I use a QA on various users to help me with this outcome within their environment.

So I guess test away and use a report to show stakeholders your outcome. Hope this helps ?


Jim  Bates

I am reading these answers from a little different perspective. I do a fair amount of e-learning fro FAA manadatory training (sometimes just "check the box" training on process changes)  Fact is that regulatory compliance is truly non negotiable so is there learning is almost irrelevant.

I have done two different things. One provide a modularized course structure with some essential questions relative to the module objectives. Continuation to the next module is dependant on success (restrict navigation) , in most cases the senior SMEs were satisfied with this. In the case where the end of course quiz was still demanded I have either opened the navigation and used non graded questions to at least get them on the right track with the objectives , or created the imfamous comprehensive exam at the end using a collection of qustions that are based on the module topics as building blocks. 

Overall , I have found that trying to convince a conservative SME team of the value of a learning approach is a long term process and trying to do it within a single project can be career suicide.  Give them what they want while showing them what is possible.

My 2 cents