A savvy educator, you may consider quizzes a childish way to check your mentees' knowledge; and when it comes to online learning, students can cheat with answers, after all.
Yet, many of your colleagues sees nothing wrong with this method of testing, considering it a vital part of the eLearning process.
And based on various research results, it would appear they are correct.
In Shared Tips for Effective Teaching, the authors mention benefits such as:
- Quizzes create the right attitude to learning.
- Quizzes can be efficient lead-ins for lectures or discussions.
- Quizzes grow curiosity about the answers.
- Quizzes let students raise their grades by reading the material.
Also, according to Apiwan D. Born from the University of Illinois, quizzes help to reduce plagiarism in academia if speaking about frequent knowledge check. Yet, this argument would hardly work for educators of eLearning courses: eLearners are more difficult to control, and they won't find it challenging to complete the quiz with correct answers at hand.
What speaks well for quizzes in eLearning is the argument from the study by Tania Leal from University of Iowa: she suggests that this form of testing drives students motivation and engagement. Once your students see the positive results while learning, they understand that everything is not in vain; so, achievements through quizzes inspire youngsters to keep on studying.
This correlates with the findings by the University of Vermont research saying that frequent testing lower students anxiety as well as boost positive habits for better learning results.
And while you might agree with Jolene A. Kayser opposing daily quizzes because of their challenging nature for educators – she considers it difficult for a teacher to prepare quizzes on a regular basis – this argument works for traditional education process in classrooms rather than eLearning.
Online tutors don't need to create quizzes on a regular basis, as they have an opportunity to give the current ones to new students in a group.
In “Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice,” Roediger et al. detail alternative benefits of quizzes, which, on top of everything else, are: providing better organization of knowledge, allowing for feedback to instructors, identifying gaps in knowledge, and facilitating retrieval of material.
With all that said, the core benefits of quizzes in eLearning are:
- They help students remember information. In the process of training, a student should stop and review what he's learned. It's all about repetition, which plays a significant role in eLearning; and one of the best ways to repeat the material is a quiz. It's not obligatory to grade students, as the purpose is not to assess but give a method to remember materials.
- They motivate. Educators can use quizzes to motivate students to learn. Before starting a course, organize a non-graded quiz covering its major points to see what eLearners know and don't know. It prepares them for what to pay attention. When they realize they missed some questions, they will be motivated to learn the topic when it comes up. Such quizzes should be challenging and tricky, not boring, and their goal is to encourage your students instead of making them feel stupid.
- They assess knowledge. A standard multiple-choice quiz given at the end of the eLearning course could be a variant to assess knowledge. True-false questions are a good alternative to grade students, too.
- They keep your mentees engaged. With the expectation of grading during exams, students understand they must adhere to deadlines and study harder to perform better.
- They develop research skills. When administering online quizzes, educators should consider students will go to the web for answers. It doesn't mean one should create a test with too hard and off-topic questions to make it difficult for learners to find answers online. You can make a quiz that encourages students’ research skills. Ask questions in a way that encourages learners to search for additional information.
How to Create Quizzes
Though it doesn't seem difficult for teachers to ask questions in a quiz, they should do it right to get a clear picture of where their students stand. The reason is, despite their numerous benefits, multiple-choice quizzes can be also emotionally charged, and they can produce anxiety that influences the results of testing.
There are a few guidelines you should follow if want to write efficient questions for quizzes:
- Keep it simple.
- Quiz students both before and after presenting new material.
- Provide timely and constructive feedback.
- Align questions to a course objective.
- Use different types of questions in quizzes.
- Make all questions clear and concise.
- Ask questions to encourage students to think critically and “dig deeper” to come up with a correct answer.
Specific tools to use for quizzes creation will help you create stellar tests for online courses.
By using multiple-choice quizzes in eLearning, you can engage students and assess their knowledge. Consider online tools/resources to create tests and introduce them to mentees but pay attention to questions and answer choices you provide: they should allow you to check students performance to the fullest extent.
As a professional educator, you won't see quiz makers a savior to do all the work for you.But they can be a solid instrument to help you structure work and vary your methods of knowledge evaluation.