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How to Create Amazing Assessment Questions in Your Online Courses

By Alicia Beharry
Published on October 27, 2021

If you are an instructional or creative designer who develops online training courses for various industries, you need to be sure the way you are conveying this information to your learners is effective and they are successfully grasping the learning material. Whether your eLearner is taking a course at school or home, enrolled in on the job training or taking an online course to up-skill, there needs to be a way to confirm your learner has fully grasped the online learning material. To help determine their level of knowledge and comprehension, you will need to develop test questions. These questions will help provide you with a more reliable assessment of your online learning program. Think about what you want the takeaways to be from the eLearning lesson or what skills your learner should possess once they have completed the online course. 

There are two basic types of test questions. They are categorized as objective and subjective. Objective questions are answered by learners selecting from several choices or by providing a key term or phrase. Objective questions offer multiple choice answers, matching, fill in the blank, and true/false. This format of questions works well to test a learner’s ability to recall dates, events, facts or other very specific information. 

Subjective questions on the other hand, are essay-like questions which require a long or short well-thought out response. This type of question allows learners to organize and express their thoughts and ideas. It will additionally give you a clear understanding of how well their knowledge on the online course material is. Before you can evaluate your online learning outcome, you will need to first write test questions that are effective. Here are some useful tips to help you get started.

True/False questions are clear statements, followed by two choices-True and False.

  • Focus on only one idea in each statement to avoid it being over complicated.
  • Each statement should be worded well so the learner can determine which is completely true or false.
  • Avoid words such as “usually” and “frequently.”
  • Use terms and language that your learners are familiar with.
  • Avoid negative statements, as they will cause confusion and second guessing.

Multiple Choice consists of a question or partial statement where the learner is given a few answer choices and must select one. Select All That Apply questions are handled in the same manner, the only difference is it means more than one answer choice is always correct. 

  • Answer choices should all be kept roughly the same length.
  • Make each answer choice believable and not outlandish.
  • Use vocabulary that is clear and concise in your questions.
  • Each set of answer choices should be structured grammatically parallel (each answer starts with a verb, noun or preposition). 

Matching questions are questions that are set up in two columns with specific information such events, dates or a sentence in one column; and in the other column dates, short answers or terms are listed. The learner then has to make a match between the two columns with the corresponding answers. 

  • Keep the text in both columns as short as possible.
  • Give straightforward instructions, such as: “Match the events with the dates they occur” or “Match the following key terms with their definitions.” Additionally, let learners know if some of the responses can be used more than once. 
  • Don’t mix a person, date, concept or number in the same column. Instead, group similar terms together. 

Essay questions are composed of statements that let learners know what they will be required to write about in their responses.

  • Indicate all specific points you would like learners to cover in their response.
  • Make the expectation clear in the instructions.
  • Utilize verbs in your questions, such as “compare” or “analyze.” It will help guide students towards the process you want them to use and will help you evaluate higher level thinking.

Fill in the Blank questions are statements with a word or words missing and replaced with a “blank.” Learners will then write the answer in the blank space based on what they think is the correct answer, or you can offer words or phrases from a word bank to help them out. This question format can also be presented as a multiple choice question where they “fill in the blank” with the correct answer choice. 

  • Avoid using obvious or major clues. You do not want to give away the answers, you want to determine what knowledge your learner has retained from your online course.
  • The “blank” should be positioned closer to the end of the statement rather than at the very beginning.
  • Do not overuse blank spaces in a statement, as this can get confusing and the true meaning of the statement can become lost. 
  • Use “a(n)” instead of “a” or “an” to avoid giving any obvious hints as to whether the right response starts with a consonant or a vowel. 

With the help of SkyPrep you can create effective learning content and determine how well learners are achieving online course objectives. Request a call and a product specialist will be with you shortly.

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