Assessments should be a part of any eLearning course, and an online corporate training course is no different. As an instructional designer, one can create assessment questions that just test whether the trainee understands the facts at a basic level. Or the instructional designer can use assessment questions as a way to help the trainee develop a deeper understanding of the material.
Using true/false questions, multiple choice questions, or fill-in-the-blank questions as the medium, the instructional designer can create questions with this secondary purpose in mind.
True/false questions are easy to implement in almost any LMS or Learning Management System and can be a useful part of online corporate training. The binary nature of these assessment questions might make one think that they are not very helpful at deepening a trainee’s understanding of a process. However, if the question is written from a conceptual reference point, then an instructional designer can help the trainee challenge previously held ideas. This challenging of ideas might lead to a new understanding on the part of the trainee.
True/False questions such as “All A are B” or “If something is A, then it’s also B” force the trainee to think about how two things relate, which might uncover a truth that they didn’t realize before. As one example, let’s look at the following True/False question:
“Any type of workplace flirting can be considered Sexual Harassment.”
As worded this way, the employee undergoing Sexual Harassment Training is forced to think about what it might mean to flirt, in all of its nuances. He or she would then need to also know the definition of Sexual Harassment. The trainee would have to relate the two concepts, which would lead him or her to a response. And, in going through this process, making a connection between the two concepts (flirting and Sexual Harassment in this case) might lead the trainee to some important realizations.
Multiple Choice Questions
Multiple choice questions provide another type of question that is easy to implement in an online training environment. A well-written question won’t just have unrelated a,b,c, and d response choices. Rather, the response choices should be created in a way that forces a trainee to question his or her ideas and understanding of the concepts.
Let’s consider one example of a question that might come out of a management training course:
Now, the correct answer might depend on what type of corporate culture a company is interested in promoting, but a) and c) would definitely require the trainee to think about the subtle differences between what it means to respect and what it means to admire someone else.
In an online training environment, fill-in-the-blank questions are another good type of question. Fill-in-the-blank questions don’t give the trainee the actual solution, so the main benefit is that the learner must actively recall something without any priming. However, depending on the LMS, these might be more difficult to create.
The challenge from the perspective of the instructional designer is that he or she must understand the constraints of the LMS. The problem is that the trainee can “know” the right answer but enter it in a way that the LMS doesn’t recognize as being correct. Incorrect spelling, capitalization, or punctuation are 3 possible issues that might be encountered by the online training software. Is it really an issue that someone types “roi” instead of “ROI”? Maybe, and maybe not…
With this in mind, fill-in-the-blank questions might work best with an LMS that treats them more like multiple choice questions. For example, a set of possible answers could be created from a drop-down that appears when the trainee clicks on a “blank” within a sentence. And, though this is not an ideal solution, since the trainees aren’t forced to actively pull the answer out of their memory, it would be one way to deal with the issue.
In designing an online training course, assessment questions can be used as a way to enhance the trainee’s understanding of the course material. Some of the traditional methods of writing questions, such as true false, multiple choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions can all serve the purpose of supporting the training.