8 Best Practice Tips to Create Impactful eLearning Exams
Designing training courses takes time, energy, and money to do. At the end of it, you want to ensure your hard work was all worth it, that your learners are gaining the knowledge they need, and that they aren’t falling victim to the forgetting curve.
The best way to do this is through eLearning assessments and exams. Simple to tag on to a course in your LMS, it’s a quick and effective way to test your learners and measure the success of your training. Just like all the other parts of your training, exams and assessments need consideration. Not only do they need to effectively prove learning has occurred, but they also need to be engaging so that your learner completes and passes with flying colors.
After speaking with our customers, we’ve collated a list of best practice advice on exams and assessments. Eight tips in total, they will help you test your learners in an effective and motivating way.
1. Consider the type of training you’re providing
Not all methods of testing are created equally. If we take into account your learners, the course subject, the content being provided, etc, it’s obvious that not every testing is style is going to work. For example, when providing compliance training for employees, there will likely be a strict learning standard that your learners have to meet in order to gain a certificate.
Simplicity is key for this as you need your learners to recall the basic facts and you want a clear record that they’ve passed the course. So, a standard multiple-choice or fill in the blank exam will work best. These can also be timed and have multiple attempts to suit your needs.
On the other side of the spectrum, customer training can be a little more flexible. Often self-directed or optional, the objective here should be to create an assessment that engages your customer to complete the product training on offer. Here, we can be more creative, using video or images within the assessments to keep them motivated and engaged.
2. Consider your learning objectives
Learning objectives are the intended measurable outcome that your learners will achieve once they’ve finished a course. They help create clarity for you and your learners and enable you to build more focused courses. Bloom’s taxonomy is our preferred method for setting learning objectives.
As learning objectives highlight what you want your learners to accomplish, they are a must-use reference tool when planning exams and assessments. If we use the above customer training example again, the learning objective for the course could be:
A customer should be able to demonstrate how to manage their users within our software.
To meet this objective you could use images throughout the assessment. These images should show the steps your customers need to complete to add new users within your product. You could then ask questions based on these images, such as which button do you press or what action comes next? This will show whether they understand how to add users correctly or not.
This assessment method works as your customers are actively demonstrating that they are meeting the learning objective.
3. Test after each chapter
Long courses with one big exam at the end can be overwhelming for learners. Trying to remember substantial amounts of information is a complex task.
That’s why we prefer a “micro-exam” tactic. After every module or “chapter” of the course, your learner is tested. A much more learner-friendly method, it’s an effective way to reinforce the content and ensure that it’s truly understood.
If you still need to give one final exam at the end of their course, this approach gears your learners for success and gives them confidence that they will be able to pass this final hurdle.
4. Combine different exam types
The same question types delivered in the same way gets repetitive and after a while fails to engage a learner.
Luckily, most LMSs have a wide range of exam and assessment types for you to avail of that will create a more captivating experience for your learners. From audio, video and image-based quizzes to multiple choice to true or false and more, experimenting with different question types is a powerful way to engage your learner.
5. Utilize video in assignments
Videos in exams and assignments can be used in a couple of different ways. You can show a video to your learner during an exam, or you can take advantage of one of our favorite ways to use video – learner video assessments.
Easy to do, you create an assignment in a module within your LMS, then you outline the question and the requirements of the assignment for the learner, in this case, you want them to upload a video response containing their answer.
Your learner then just has to record their video and upload it into your LMS to submit it. It will then go straight to the instructor or course admin for review.
6. Set randomization rules for question pools
When creating an exam, you upload a question pool, consisting of however many questions are relevant to the course. For certain exams, you may want or need to ask only 10 questions, but there are 30 in your question pool.
Within your LMS, you can randomize this so that learners are getting different questions. It helps prevent repetition too. But, if you have a mix of difficult and easy questions, how do you ensure the exam is balanced and fair for your learner?
One nifty trick with question randomization is to set a rule that your learner must answer a specific number of difficult and easy questions. For example, with our pool of 30 questions, we can set it so that 2 of the 10 questions being asked have to be difficult. It’s an effective way to know that your learners are being asked a fair mix of questions.
7. Guide learners with feedback
If a learner gets a question wrong, it’s often not helpful to immediately tell them the correct answer. We prefer guiding the learner to where they can find it.
In LearnUpon, we have a handy feedback feature that enables you to do this. When a learner gets an answer wrong, they’re guided back to the section of the course that contains the right answer. This makes it easy for them to find it for themselves, and importantly, helps the information stick.
8. Report, review, experiment, test
As with any other part of your online learning, course exams shouldn’t be a build it, let it run, and never edit it again. Some fine-tuning is required to ensure your organization’s exams and assignments are achieving the best results.
Your LMS reports are your best friend here. They provide you with data on who’s passed, who’s failed, and critically, what common patterns are emerging. You’ll be able to identify the areas learners are struggling to understand and then tweak your content and exams to improve the results. Post exam surveys are also an advantageous tool as you can hear directly from the horse’s mouth about their experience with your exams. Based on learner feedback you can then edit your exams to enhance their quality.
Finally, testing and experimentation are key. As we mentioned above, different learners and different content need different assessment styles. Therefore, it’s important to find the style that works best. Mix up how you test your learners and you’ll quickly discover how to get the best results.
Do you use any of these methods to test your learners? Or do you have some best practice methods of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below.