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

OK, so here's the dilemma. I have a course that consists of two topics: we'll call them Subject A and Subject B. Each section is about the same length. Each section also has a five-question knowledge check. My question is: where should I put those knowledge checks?

Does it make more sense to put both five-question knowledge checks at the end of the course (which is approximately 15-20 minutes in length)? Or should I split them up and put Knowledge Check A right after Subject A?

Interested to know what makes more sense from an instructional standpoint.

Thanks!

12 Replies
Zara Ogden

SOAPBOX WARNING

Adult learning should be interactive and engaging. Not just a lecture. However, eLearning can create limitations. With some creative thinking we can still make our sessions learner centered.Always ask...

1. What is the point of the learning?

  • knowledge
  • skill
  • attitude

2. Are the knowledge check question reinforcing learning or challenging the learner to think?

3. Are they there to mark a check box of completion?

4. Can the question be positioned first?

My position when possible is to ask first and let the learner try. The response is where the "theory" comes out and information is clarified and directed. This is then followed by practice. I use the Experiential Design Model (Experience, Reflection, Generalization, Application).

Here is a really quick simple example:

ASK

Q: How many letters are in the alphabet?

a) 26

b) 25

c) 27

d) 24

R: Woo Hoo! There are 26 letters and they are ...

Inform

Theory:

The significance of the English alphabet dates back to...blah blah

Practice

Q: Recall the 26 letters of the alphabet by placing them in order.

Rita Sedani

I personally prefer to integrate the questions within the course so as not to have a formal knowledge check section. It's much more engaging that way. In additinon, I also like to disguise my knowledge check questions as interactive scenarios where I just so happen to be testing knowledge at the same time.

With that said, if an SME is forcing my hand to do a standard information-->knowledge check type course, I'd do information A, then knowledge check A, then information B, knowledge check B.

Good luck!

Bruce Graham

Personally - I prefer to check these things via 1:1s, team meetings, sales conferences, and workshops. Had someone today who wanted "a quiz", and we ended up looking at stats off the CRM system at point of course launch, and every 3 months to look at the trends in technical call solution times.

For me, that sort of thing is what tests knowledge/the effectiveness of a course better than a "knowledge check".

Mike Taylor

I think it depends on your definition of a knowledge check how you intend to use it. I like that you've created the questions as interactive scenarios. A good scenario is a great way to let your learners apply what they're learning. Those types of knowledge checks can be effective even if you don't plan to grade/track them. I really think the opportunity to practice and apply the concepts along with good feedback about why they were right or wrong goes a long way to help them retain what they've learned. It also gives them a better awareness of how well they think they know it.

I like the idea of using a tabs type interaction for scenarios that allow them to explore more than one answer to compare the nuances, etc of the situation. That way you can do more than just give correct/incorrect feedback and move on.

Of course there may be times when your client or stakeholder insists on a end of quiz knowledge check as confirmation people stayed awake for the course. If challenge them to apply and do versus simply recite information it will still be ok.. And not everyone can always check resulting performance like Bruce.

I love Bruce's concept of taking a holistic, big picture view and tying the content back to real goals/metrics of the organization. That is sort of like the ultimate check that the knowledge is being transferred to the actual task at hand.

The good thing is we have a lot of options for building knowledge checks! 8-)

Andrew Winner

Thanks Mike; Thanks Bruce. I think I opened a can of worms here! Yes, it's always good to remember the purpose of a course -- the change behavior in the org. for the long-term. It sounds like Bruce's organization is a finely-tuned machine and has a lot of data points to access.


In terms of the limited scope of my original question (and thinking), I'll definitely take a look at expanding the options for knowledge checks. I've been doing a good job of interspersing these check-ins over the duration of the course, rather than stacking them at the end. But as Mike mentions, there are certainly a lot of methods to check comprehension/adoption, both during and after the learning event.

Bruce Graham

Andrew Winner said:

Thanks Mike; Thanks Bruce. I think I opened a can of worms here! Yes, it's always good to remember the purpose of a course -- the change behavior in the org. for the long-term. It sounds like Bruce's organization is a finely-tuned machine and has a lot of data points to access.


Just to explain, I do not have "an organisation", I am a freelancer.

Very often, I am working with HR to some extent, and they are the ones (YEY!), that also plan and organise 1:1s and so on.

If they do not have them in place to measure the "knowledge transfer", get them to do so.

I have never yet come across an organisation that cannot do this, if they want to.

Most of the time, if you want to tale and implement this sort of thing, it can be done - you just have to make it happen.

Perhaps I just have a "no fear"/"make your own success" approach, however, some sort attempt to tie training into performance is ALWAYS possible in my experience.

Building a course for 60,000 people across Europe at the moment with a colleague, an the HR lady now keeps saying to me "...we HAVE to check they understand in the course, because the next thing they will do is to be out there on the shopfloor DOING it..." That is the point where you introduce the concept of mentoring, checks, see what reports etc. can be used etc. and build it into a holistic offering.

There's a technique in close-up card magic called "The Pass". It's notoriously difficult to do. My mentor taught me "Just do it" before I knew it was hard. And it wasn't. I was out there doing it while the perfectionists were taking 3-4 years to get it perfected, and discussing the finer nuances of it Was I hacking it...? Probably. But I got the effect I wanted.

The same is true with checking performance in the workplace - it may not work and/or be agreed by the client, but IMHO there is NOTHING that stops it being possible, in some way, or some format.

Sylvia Wright

I am working on a course and plan to put a knowledge check scenario as an option at the beginning of the course to accommodate those who come to the site who may be already skilled and they can just go through the scenario and confirm their skills or find the shortages during the process and be redirected back to the step by step process at the point of need.

Bruce Graham

Sylvia Wright said:

I am working on a course and plan to put a knowledge check scenario as an option at the beginning of the course to accommodate those who come to the site who may be already skilled and they can just go through the scenario and confirm their skills or find the shortages during the process and be redirected back to the step by step process at the point of need.


Wonderful technique.

Completely correct for this situation.

Rita Sedani

Sylvia Wright said:

I am working on a course and plan to put a knowledge check scenario as an option at the beginning of the course to accommodate those who come to the site who may be already skilled and they can just go through the scenario and confirm their skills or find the shortages during the process and be redirected back to the step by step process at the point of need.


I love using this method, Sylvia! Somtimes the only issue is convincing an SME that this is an appropriate route to use.