Every LMS platform should have an area for tests and quizzes as it’s often an essential part of the learning experience for many students taking a training course on the company intranet.
Quizzes and tests, when used with a LMS, should help the student to achieve good scores, even if they have failed a unit before. By ensuring that tests and quizzes generate answers that are random, learning is enhanced by the fact that the student doesn’t have the means to ‘learn’ or memorise how the questions appear.
Of course, in order to do this, it’s necessary to have a decent pool of questions available for each unit or module, in order to stimulate the mind and allow the student to think things through logically.
Designing Quizzes and Tests
The key to effective tests in an e-learning environment is in the preparation and design. From the point of view of the instructor, the time needed to grade individual tests is lessened if it’s constructed well in the first instance. This means that multiple choice questions are ideal, especially if the answers to the questions are randomised, as this allows for feedback to be given without the intervention of the manager/instructor.
For example, if a student chooses ‘A’ and gets the question wrong, an automatic response can be set up on the LMS that gives the learner some guidance on where they’ve gone wrong without giving the actual answer. This allows them to think it through, carry out some further research and learn more about a certain topic.
Likewise, if the correct answer is given, then when the result comes back to the learner, additional, supplemental information can then reinforce what they have learned.
Following the test, the learner will have a grade when they have finished that can generate a report for the manager which allows them to then give individual feedback on where the student is going wrong. This is also handy for testing the effectiveness of the LMS as the manager can then see which questions have generated the most problems for all of the students.
This can be presented in a graphical, easy-to-see manner, so that the instructor can see at a glance what’s going on and for whom. In this way the manager can also track the progress of each individual learner to see where their strengths lie and how they can be better helped to achieve a better score.
Engaging the Student
As with social media and the intranet, to get the most out of an e-learning platform in the workplace, it’s necessary to ensure that it’s engaging. This encourages the employee to want to learn and can be achieved in a variety of ways.
- With the use of self-assessment so that an instant result tells the student where they have gone wrong (or right)
- A points system or scoreboard to show how they compare with their peers
- Deadlines imposed (such as a timed test or a set date for when this has to be complete)
- Performance reviews set by managers to motivate the student to learn relevant materials before the review comes up
Getting the Balance Right
Tests and quizzes that are too easy are likely to be a waste of time and money. The student must be challenged and they should be able to research the subject matter in order to prepare. This can be done through company wikis, if they are available, or through the internet or the LMS itself.
It’s also a good idea to think about different learning styles, as we all learn in different ways. There are basically four different types of learner:
- Read and write
Most of these speak for themselves; visual learners do so by what they see, whilst auditory by what they hear. Read and write learners are those that learn by taking notes, for example, whilst kinaesthetic do well with multiple choice and short answer questions, but may struggle with essays.
For an overview of each type of learner, take a look at the infographics below by Online College or take an online test here to find out what kind of learner you are. Knowing this can help with the questions that are constructed by allowing for all types of learner. Again, it’s about getting a good balance more than anything. Alternatively, it allows you to set up different learning environments based on what kind of learner the student is, although this would of course mean they would have to take a test first to determine how they learn the best.