As human beings, we’re drawn to sources and research that tells us where our values lie, who we are, and what we need to reach our potential. This can range from checking our horoscopes to using the Myer-Briggs Indicator in the workplace. While some results can be based on stereotypes, for example, finding out which character you’d be on Friends (I’m Ross, always Ross), others are much more complex – like your Myer-Briggs’ psychological profile. Either way, these online quizzes do serve a purpose. They get us talking. They give us a reason to openly discuss ourselves, and in terms that are relatable. We retain this information because it’s easier to remember things when they’re linked to strong emotion.
However, if you’re the one creating quizzes in your workplace for a different reason (e.g. for online training that tests knowledge on topics other than oneself), there’s one question you should ask yourself:
Do you really need quizzes in your online training modules?
A. Always – you should always include a quiz for learners!
B. Never! A quiz just isn’t relevant to today’s learning.
C. There are lots of benefits to including a quiz!
The answer? It’s nearly always going to be C. It can’t be A because there’ll always be an exception where a quiz just wouldn’t be relevant to an online training experience. But probably? Yes, if you’re creating content to motivate your learners, close training gaps, foster behavioral change, measure ROI or check their knowledge, quizzes probably belong in your course.
With lots of time at home recently, I’ve been considering all the different ways we describe ourselves. I’ve taken many quizzes to find out that yes, my lifelong love of learning is happily reflected in my Hogwarts’ Ravenclaw House placement. And if I were a Super Mario character, I’d be Luigi. This quiz by Deakin University also confirmed that I was born in the right generation for my outlook (a Millennial who doesn’t like smashed avocado). Go figure!
There’s a reason I can recall these seemingly mundane things. Research has shown that when used correctly, quizzes can help promote knowledge retention, especially in a digital environment. Quizzes have proven themselves to be a very important tool when it comes to online training. Rather than simply telling learners what they need to know, asking them questions can increase knowledge retention. Just make sure you keep them relevant, engaging, and always avoid “all of the above” answer options. (Have fun writing those distractors; we know you’ve got it in you!)
So, if we circle back to why this should resound with learning designers, it’s essentially because quizzes in online training can motivate learners, help them recall existing knowledge and assess new content covered in the training.
Online quizzes motivate
Use quizzes to motivate your learners to pursue their own professional development. Try working a pre-assessment into your course or have them complete this prior to learning. A pre-assessment plays a significant role in learning; one of the best ways to identify knowledge gaps is via a quiz. This isn’t to assess your learners, or to give them a pass rate, it’s an opportunity for them to demonstrate their existing knowledge, to show you what they already know. It’s a way for them to prepare for what’s coming and can help fully engage them. There’s no quicker path to learner fatigue than having them work through content they’ve proven they know inside-out. eLearning has so much more to offer than simply ticking the ‘course complete’ box.
Online quizzes help with retention
We can’t deny that repetition really does help us retain information. Repetition is an important element of learning and repeating content covered in a course is best done via a quiz. Again, this isn’t about assessing learning outcomes, it’s about creating a tool that can help learners remember what you’ve taken them through in your course.
Online quizzes can assess
Of course, at the end of the day we need a way to assess whether the course taught learners what they needed to know. Assessment quizzes are the best way to track and report what was learned. But they don’t have to be same-old multiple choice, “yes we tested you” questions. Create interesting lures, avoid “all of the above” and “none of the above” answers and you’ll do just fine when it comes to learner engagement!