When is it better to give immediate feedback on quiz questions, vs waiting until the end?

One of the great features of Articulate Storyline and Quizmaker are all the options around how you can present quiz questions. For example, you can allow someone to answer a question over and over again until they get it right (even giving them specific feedback for each wrong response they chose). Or you can go the traditional route and not give any feedback on any questions until the very end. Or you can do something in between, maybe only letting them miss a question once or twice before moving on.

So for a long time I've wondered - what is the right combination of these features for a given purpose? For example, if you have a final quiz a learner has to pass to complete a course (at the end of the module), is it better to hold off on giving the feedback until they finish the quiz? Reason being: if you instead let them have unlimited tries, the learner may simply keep pounding at each answer mindlessly until they get all of the answers correctly, and for a final quiz, you really want to test their knowledge. Or are you denying your learners the opportunity of having misconceptions cleared up immediately by witholding feedback until the end of the quiz?

Maybe you save your "unlimited tries" questions for pop quiz questions interspersed within the content that don't have any bearing on the final score? Sometimes my clients are very insistent on how they want this handled, and sometimes they completely leave it up to my judgement. But either way, down deep I don't really have a strong theory other than intuition for why to do it one way or the other. So... how do you decide?

2 Replies
Luke Heathershaw

Hi Will,

It's a great question and one method we use in most of our courses is we have the standard module content/end of module assessment...but feedback is not given at all for the questions. At the end, the learner is presented with a total of how many questions they got incorrect and they are then directed back to the slides that the incorrectly answered questions relate to.

This way, the learner knows that what they answered was incorrect, and they're given a chance to really look through why they got it wrong and what the correct answer is for themselves.

It takes a bit of planning during the storyboarding stage, but we find it works well and it helps to cement the subject knowledge.

If you want to 'assess' throughout the course, then I've found that whichever route I go down ultimately depends on whether the learner has already been given, or should have, prior knowledge.

So for example, if the content is entirely new to the learner then I'd probably personally go with showing the correct answer after the first failed attempt. Otherwise it could get frustrating for them if there are many possible outcomes.

If the learner does have prior knowledge, so if the course is a 'refresher', or the information has been given on prior slides for example, then i'd be more inclined to let them keep getting it wrong (but providing feedback as to why it's wrong) until they get it right.

I'd also be interested to hear how other people approach this.


Bob S

Hi Will,

Great question and thanks for posting. So a gross over-simplification we use to start the determination is as follows....  

If the primary purpose of the quiz is to verify learning, feedback at end (if at all).  If instead the primary purpose of the quiz is to cement knowledge, feedback immediately.

Yes there are gray areas and overlaps. But that simplification is where we start the discussion.

Hope that helps!