It’s difficult to know how to get to where you want to be if you don’t know where you already are. That’s the idea at the heart of pre-tests in e-learning.

As its name implies, a pre-test is an assessment that learners take before engaging with your course material. The benefits of pre-testing include getting the learner excited about the material and setting a benchmark against which to measure a learner’s improvement as a result of your course. 

There are two general approaches to pre-tests in e-learning, each with their own benefits: 

  • In-course pre-test to determine which content learners see. This approach includes a pre-test at the start of your course to inform the path the learner will follow through your content. As David Anderson once wrote in an E-Learning Challenge, “Pre-tests taken at the beginning of the course can be used to tailor content by allowing learners to skip over material they already know.” With this approach, the learner can prove what they know, and won’t waste time reviewing familiar information. 
  • Stand-alone pre-test to inform course design and focus. On the other hand, you can offer a pre-test before you’ve even built your course. As Trina Rimmer proffers in Why and How I Created This Pre-Test in Rise 360, “By sharing a short, stand-alone pre-test with your learning audience, you can assess their current understanding of the material to identify critical gaps in their knowledge or skills.” Hence, you can narrow your course’s focus and customize it for your audience using the information you glean from the pre-test results.

We’ve collected five examples of pre-tests that illustrate these two equally worthwhile approaches.

Check out our examples hub for more course examples. For more on pre-tests, read this guide to why they’re important and how to build them in Rise 360 and check out the great examples created in our pre-test-themed E-Learning Challenge. Want to give any of these ideas a try for yourself? Snag a free 30-day trial of Articulate 360 to check out all the cool new features in Storyline 360 and Rise 360—including the new Rise 360 scenario block.


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