More than just a way to prove that learners passed or completed a course, assessments play a key role in measuring the capacity of your learners to grasp your course material and apply what they’ve learned on the job.
By combining different test and quiz options, and at different intervals of the course—not just at the end—learners have a much higher chance of retaining more of the content and utilizing it for the benefit of the organization.
Additionally, not only do assessments provide another opportunity for learners to further their understanding and application of the concepts, but assessments can also provide critical indicators to the learning team about the effectiveness of their instructional design components.
Indeed, assessments are a critical component of instructional design—equally as important as learning activities and outcomes. Because of the interdependency of these three components, instructional designers often point to the alignment triangle to demonstrate the relationship of the three:
Let’s have a look at 4 different eLearning assessment types and why they work.
1. Pre-Assessment: Test Learners at the Beginning
One of the most underused eLearning assessment examples is actually a pre-assessment: quizzing your learners before they are about to begin a learning experience.
While some might consider this counterintuitive—or even a waste of time—a pre-assessment quiz accomplishes a few objectives:
- “Learning mode” is jumpstarted in a fun, engaging, interactive way.
- Learners have a chance to get an idea of what they know or may not know, and to understand how close or how far off they are in the subject matter.
- Because they have an idea upfront of what knowledge they will eventually need to know, learners have a chance to understand just how much effort they will need to put into the course, removing frustration and surprises.
Try including a pre-assessment quiz when building your next eLearning experience—and be sure to gather user feedback. You’d be surprised at how engaged and committed students became, right from the outset.
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2. Goodbye True-False and Multiple-Choice: Matching Is Better
Traditional eLearning assessment examples include true-false and multiple-choice questions. They’re popular because they’re familiar to learners and the L&D team can easily score the assessment and analyze the results.
However, most of these questions generally tend to be worded in an overly simplistic fashion. Additionally, learners can get obtain a correct answer even if they have not fully absorbed the material subject matter of the course. After all, true-false questions have a 50% chance of a correct answer, and multiple-choice has a 25% (for 4 answer choices) and 20% (for 5 answer choices)—so learners could very well end up getting lucky without really trying.
Instead, consider matching exercises. Such assessments are much more interactive because they enable learners to match two sets of data. Matching exercises encourage a student to test their familiarity with the content by measuring their ability to identify a relationship or association between similar concepts.
Further, they’re highly engaging and interactive, as they can be presented in different ways, such as drag and match, drag and drop, and selections from drop-down menus.
3. Choosing Your Own Adventure: Problem-Solving a Case Study
For more complex skill acquisition, and useful for ongoing assessment, the problem-solving case study is the ideal assessment tool for learners to help them bridge the gap between theory and practice.
In this type of assessment, the learner is asked to evaluate an event—whether real or fictional—so that their manager can measure the employee’s insights and strategies.
Since many business scenarios involve providing solutions to complicated situations, often every day, shouldn’t the assessment present the same or similar situations?
To do this, the manager can look to a recent client-facing or organizational issue and present it to the employee with one exception: the ending or result is left out.
Learners can be asked to think of a solution, and then explain why they chose a specific solution and how they could have chosen alternate paths to establish the same ending.
While the results of these problem-solving case studies require time and effort to analyze, managers and teams can gain a better insight into the learner’s practical application of skill acquisition, while providing a highly engaging platform for the employee.
Can assessments really catapult learning outcomes? Find out in this recorded webinar.
4. Assessing Learners as They Play: Gamification Still Works
Another one of the more popular eLearning assessment examples is gamification. In a learning environment, a game provides enjoyment, challenge, and opportunity. In games, anything the learner does has a consequence; therefore, games can become a valuable and experiential tool.
Further, “participants find they were so engrossed in the activity that when it is over, they are satisfied with what they have learned,” notes Dr. Gerald Zandstra in eLearning Industry. “What a surprise.”
Over the years, gamification has made its way into the organization, whether for marketing or training, and can include one or more of the following elements:
- Points, scoring, and leaderboards
- Prizes and rewards
- VR, AR, and simulations
- Progression of difficulty or challenging material
No two gamification experiences are alike, and learning assessments can include one or more of these elements, depending on the profiles—and tolerance—of the learners.
Beyond course completions, the ultimate success of an eLearning course is through an assessment that measures the increased capacity for the learner to absorb, retain, and apply as much of the information and knowledge that was presented in the course.
Considering and building in the assessment early on will make the assessment seem like a natural part of the learning experience, reducing friction and increasing engagement.
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