4 quiz types for your e-learning and when you use them
„Now it’s your turn. With the following questions you can test your knowledge.“ – That’s how many learning objective tests begin at the end of an e-learning. The test checks whether learners have grasped the contents of the course. To make the learning objectives test effective, it’s crucial to define the learning objectives carefully as well as to choose appropriate quiz types. This article will give you an overview on the most common quiz types for your e-learning. Furthermore, you will learn when you should use which type of question.
Quiz types for e-learning: These are common
Depending on the answer form there are different quiz types which have one thing in common: The answers are given. The reason for this is that an easy evaluation has to be ensured which is realised by automatised test methods. Therefore, you can only test certain levels of learning objectives within the learning objectives test. However, using the most common types of quiz questions you have numerous possibilities to check the knowledge of learners within an e-learning. Moreover, you can vary the degree of difficulty by making simple adjustments.
You should know these quiz types:
- Yes-no questions (True/False questions)
Learners get a question that can be clearly answered with „Yes“ or „No“ (or „Correct“ / „Wrong“)
- Single choice & Multiple choice
For single choice questions, learners have to choose the single correct answer from several predefined options. For multiple choice questions, by contrast, more than one answer may be correct.
- Hot spot questions
For hot spot questions, learners are asked to identify one or more elements for example in an illustration.
- Drag & drop
With drag & drop questions, learners have to correctly assign predefined elements to each other.
Each type of quiz question has its advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for different levels of learning objectives. In this article you will be familiarised with the above-mentioned types of quiz questions. The selected examples are based on exercises taken from an e-learning on information security. To illustrate the diversity of each type of quiz question, I adapted some examples and developed them further.
Yes-no questions – the simplest type of quiz question
Yes-no questions are well suited whenever you want to test learning objectives at the level „Remember“.
This quiz type has some obvious advantages: It is very easy to develop and to evaluate yes-no questions. On the other hand, the two disadvantages of this question type quickly become apparent: 1. It is very likely that learners will guess the correct answer. The probability is 50%. 2. You can’t test the actual level of knowledge of the participants.
However, to tackle the problem you can increase the complexity of this type of quiz question. Here are a few tips and tricks that you should know.
- Tip 1:
Use context-related questions. In doing so, you do not only check pure factual knowledge, but also test the understanding of correlations. In order to answer the question, learners have to deal with the material. The guess probability, however, is still 50%.
- Tip 2:
Ask several yes-no questions at once and evaluate them collectively. This alternative is well-suited if you want to check factual knowledge. By evaluating the questions collectively, you will enlarge the tested field of knowledge. Furthermore, by using more questions you reduce the guess probability.
- Tip 3:
Combine tip 1 and 2. Embed several questions into a particular context and evaluate them collectively. In doing so, you can check the understanding of correlations and at the same time reduce the guess probability.
Single choice & Multiple choice – the classic of quiz types
Similar to yes-no questions also single choice as well as multiple choice questions are well-suited to test knowledge. However, single choice and multiple choice questions are more challenging as there are several possible answers. These are predefined and thus you cannot test a free reproduction in this way. So, you don’t know whether learners really know the answer actively or whether they are only able to choose it from a list of possible options.
Single choice means that only one of several options is correct. Consequently, the possibility to choose the correct solution by simply guessing is high.
Also, for single choice questions there are some possible variations:
- Tip 1: Provide more answer options. In doing so, you will increase the level of difficulty.
- Tip 2: Enlarge the tested area of knowledge by evaluating several single choice questions collectively.
- Tip 3: Embed the questions into realistic context so that learners have to deal profoundly with the contents. At the same time you will recognize whether they have understood the correlations. In addition to pure knowledge testing, you also check understanding, transfer and application of the communicated subject matter. Since this kind of question has a close practical relevance, the learners get motivated and can transfer their knowledge to situations in their daily work routine. To give you an example: You can also formulate the question in figure 2 as single choice:
Multiple choice means that more than one of the given answers may be correct. Thus, it becomes significantly less likely that participants choose the correct solutions randomly. Furthermore, the learners get challenged as they don’t know how many of the answers are correct.
Please note: Let the learners know whether they have to choose one or more answers. Otherwise you only cause unnecessary confusion.
Hot spot exercises – a quiz type for diagnostic and identification exercises
Hot spot exercises resemble spot-the-difference puzzles. They are well-suited for diagnostic and identification exercises in authentic surroundings: Learners are asked to localise something by selecting a certain area on the screen. It’s not immediately obvious which areas are worth considering. You have some possibilities to vary the level of difficulty:
- Option 1:
Using this option, it is only possible to select certain elements on the screen. When the participants move the mouse over the picture, they get to know the elements in question. When hovering, these elements get highlighted. This means that the range of possible answers is limited.
- Option 2:
A more challenging alternative is if clickable elements are not highlighted during hovering. In other words: Learners can click anywhere in the picture. Using this option means that the range of possible answers is wide and therefore the probability of guessing is low.
No matter which option you choose, hot spot exercises request learners to deal with the picture and the related learning content. Thus, you can test the learning objectives „Understand“ and „Apply“ in particular. But also exercises testing transfer are possible: Think of a visualisation in which learners have to identify a specific component of a motor. Additionally, you can give them the same task with a different motor which the learners don’t know.
Drag & Drop – the variable all-rounder among the quiz types
The quiz type drag & drop is a true multi-talent: Whenever you want to bring answers in the right order, assign elements or fill clozes, you should rely on it! With this type you can implement many different questions. In the following you will get to know some selected examples of use.
Order exercises are a good choice whenever you want to check whether learners have internalised chronological sequences. List the necessary steps and ask participants to bring them in the correct order.
In doing so, you can query knowledge and develop questions that request transfer thinking or check whether learners can apply the acquired knowledge.
A variant of order exercises are scrambled sentences where learners have to put text fragments into the correct order.
Matching exercises are well suited to check the understanding of correlations or the differences between terms or elements. Furthermore, you can use matching exercises to test whether learners have comprehended structures.
Beyond that, matching exercises are a good choice when elements have to be sorted into categories:
Compared to multiple choice questions, matching exercises have a decisive advantage: The range of possible answers is larger. Thus, the guess probability is significantly lower. Due to the fact that possible answers are predefined, using matching exercises you won’t find out whether learners only recognise the correct solution or whether they are able to retrieve it actively.
Clozes are a good choice whenever you want learners to retrieve information in context. In order to find the correct solution, they have to deal with the content. Therefore, clozes are well-suited to test not only the learning objective level „Remember“, but also the level „Apply“.
The quiz type cloze comes along with a large range of possible answers. Consequently, it is comparatively unlikely that learners find the correct solution by guessing.
Quiz types in e-learning: Possibilities and limitations
The presented quiz types open you numerous options for the learning objectives test of your e-learning. Take advantage of the complete bandwidth! This ensures variety and maintains the concentration of the learners. In particular, it’s the embedding of questions into realistic scenarios which motivates them to deal with the contents thoroughly, as they recognize the benefit for their daily work. Each quiz type offers options to vary the focus as well as the difficulty of the exercises. This allows you to comprehensively check whether learners have achieved the learning objectives for the levels „Remember“, „Understand“ and „Apply“ by completing the e-learning course.
However, if you want learners to develop their own ideas or concepts or if they are supposed to explain something in their own words, you won’t succeed with the quiz types available for e-learning. For this kind of exercises, you need so-called open questions which have to be checked and corrected manually. Therefore, you will find open question rarely in e-learning courses. However, if you don’t want to do without them, think of this compromise: Provide learners with pre-formulated solutions so that they can independently compare them with their own answers.
Which quiz types do you use? Do you have a favourite? We look forward to receiving your messages on this topic. Of course, we are also happy to answer any questions you may have or provide further and individual advice. Please feel free to contact us.