8 tips on how to create good e-learning quiz questions

A man is solving a quiz on a laptop

A good Learning Management System (LMS) offers a wide range of possibilities to create courses for employees. It allows companies to use various formats and consequently create extremely interactive and engaging training materials. However, it is important not only to maintain a high level of employee commitment, but also to properly monitor educational progress. What should a knowledge test look like? What rules should be kept in mind? How to create the right quiz questions?

This article will explain the following:

  • What are the most important advantages of quizzes?
  • How to create e-learning quizzes?
  • What to remember when planning employee knowledge testing?

Key benefits of online training quizzes

The purpose of any training course is to provide its participants with some knowledge. Regardless of whether it is a compulsory periodic course (e.g. Occupational Health and Safety) or an onboarding course, it is worth testing the knowledge acquired by the students. Quizzes perform precisely this job. They aren’t time-consuming for the participants, and additionally, they provide insight into what material has been acquired and which points should be reviewed before retaking the test.

Online training quizzes also have many advantages from a business point of view. They do not distract employees from their daily duties for too long, they quickly verify the acquired knowledge, and they provide managers with a lot of valuable information. Due to the use of LMSs, they allow management to monitor the success rate in real-time and to identify questions or issues which pose the greatest difficulties for the students. With such knowledge, it is possible to constantly improve training materials and consistently increase the team’s competencies.

Using open-ended questions provides the opportunity to have a dialogue with the participants. They may reveal, among others, the problems they see in their positions, in their departments, or in the whole organization. They can also share ideas for improving existing processes or the company’s offer. It all depends on the subject of the training course and the questions asked to the participants.

How to use quizzes?

A modern Learning Management System (LMS) offers extensive possibilities not only to create custom e-learning courses, but also to test the acquired knowledge. Quiz questions can be single-choice, multiple-choice, or true/false questions. They can be placed at the end of the training course, which is the most common form, but also at the end of individual modules or stages.

Available quiz time should be limited in order to motivate participants and, at the same time, force them to focus on the trained knowledge or skills. A time limit also helps avoid the risk of students “clicking-through” the training course and immediately taking the test with the help of generally available online help. Putting quiz questions in a random order is also a good idea.

8 tips to create good e-learning quiz questions

Not only the content of the training course itself but also follow-up questions have a large impact on the test and course success rate. Well formulated questions increase student engagement and draw attention to key information. How to create good quiz questions?

#1 Remember your business goal!

When creating the questions for a quiz, start by verifying the purpose of the training course. It will probably be “arming” employees with particular competencies, providing them with specific knowledge, or refreshing the information they already have. When creating test questions, the focus should be on the most important issues and key information. Asking for unnecessary details, numbers, or definitions misses the point.

#2 Adapt the vocabulary and difficulty of the questions to the audience

When creating a quiz addressed to a narrow group of participants with similar competencies and knowledge in a given topic, it is possible to use technical vocabulary that will not be difficult for them to decipher. In other cases, it is a good idea to focus on maximum simplicity and avoid technical jargon, slang, cultural references, or vocabulary. This is especially important in the case of large organizations and companies employing foreigners.

#3 Stick to your chosen grammatical structure

With regard to simplicity, it is also worth making sure that questions are created according to the same grammatical structure. Inconsistent phrasing, mixing tenses, or introducing other grammatical inconsistencies leads to unnecessary confusion and distracts from the main content.

#4 Avoid overly long questions and complex answers

The same rule applies to the length of questions and answers. The key to success is to focus on what matters most. If there is no need to outline the context, questions and answers should be as short as possible. An e-learning quiz is not a reading comprehension test, but a form of checking the knowledge acquired during the training course. Ask for key issues, the most important facts, and definitions that the learner should understand well.

#5 Avoid contradicting the questions you ask

Negative sentences and questions should also be avoided when formulating quiz questions, eg. “Which of the following answers is not true?” It is worth sticking to this rule especially when preparing tests with little time to solve. Correct understanding of questions including negation requires an extra moment from the student. Negative structures also increase the risk of misreading a hurry. However, if negative questions are to be used, the negation should be clearly indicated, e.g. by using a bold font or underlining it.

#6 Keep true/false questions to a minimum

True/false questions are questions that should not be used too often. The probability of answering them correctly, even in the case of a complete lack of knowledge, is very high. Consequently, they can significantly distort the perceived competencies of the course participants. Such questions should not appear in quizzes too often.

#7 Ask questions with one correct answer

The purpose of testing knowledge is, on the one hand, to verify the level of newly acquired material, and on the other, to consolidate the knowledge. With that in mind, it is useful to use single-choice questions, but also to avoid using the typical following test answer: “All of the above answers are correct.” Why? Such an answer can also give a distorted view of the true level of knowledge acquired during the training course. A participant who knows that answers A and B are correct, but is not convinced about answer C, might give the correct answer despite not fully understanding the issue.

#8 Make sure the questions are within the scope of the training

When designing the quiz, one should make sure that all the answers can be found in the training content. Students should under no circumstances find themselves in a situation that would require them to answer a question beyond the scope of the material discussed in the training course. Why? Because it will have a very negative impact on the reception of the course, as well as on the level of involvement in the following courses. Such a question doesn’t bring anything to the table – most participants will be forced to guess, and this will only unnecessarily reduce the passing rate and distort the actual results.

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