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10 tips for writing a good learning test

Sonia Melilli
 Sonia Melilli
 Best Practices
19/02/2020 : Within an eLearning course, a good learning test allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the course and helps students retain the information learned, reinforcing it. Let's find out the 10 basic steps to write an effective test.
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Better learning tests translate into better knowledge conservation

As part of eLearning training, the learning tests allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of the course and help students retain the information they have learned, reinforcing it. A good learning test favors the student's self-evaluation and encourages his / her commitment.

Let's see together the essential points to consider formulating effective questions.

1. Strengthen the course objectives

Consider the objectives of the course and center your questions around them. For example, if the test concerns the painting of a building, then the questions should concern the preparation of the building for painting, selecting the right type of paint, painting techniques and actions to avoid.

2. Plan your test in advance

Align your test with the course objectives: divide the course objectives into subgroups and prepare about 3-5 questions for each subgroup, covering the main points of each.

3. Write clear and concise questions

Write questions clearly and concisely and avoid using technical terms, unless strictly necessary for educational purposes.
Remember: you must make sure that the student only needs to read the question once or twice to identify the correct answer. If it takes longer to understand the question than to find the correct answer, it will mean that you have not done a good job.

For further information on the elements that make a question well formulated, read also: Building a good learning test in 7 steps

4. Expect only one correct answer

If you have multiple choice questions, don't allow more than one correct answer. Also make sure that there is no ambiguity in the formulation of the incorrect answer that leaves it open to debate about its correctness.

5. Make sure the wrong answers are plausible

If you're asking about the atomic weight of boron and your answers are "15", "weightless", "10" and "your fridge", then you're not really testing whether your students know the answer.

Entering silly answers insults the intelligence of your students and does not reward those who have really studied. The advantage of wrong and plausible answers is to make sure students can distinguish the nuance in the difference between the answers.

6. Avoid true / false questions

Everyone knows that true / false questions are the simplest. Not only does the formulation of these questions tend to be overly simplistic, but the probability of "guessing" the correct answer is 50%, which greatly favors students who have not studied the course materials.

Are you sure this is the right method to evaluate your students' learning level? I think you'll agree that it would be better to prefer types of questions that favor reasoning and not randomness.

7. Avoid absolute answers

When writing your questions, avoid using absolute language, such as "always", "never", "all" or "none". These types of answers have no exceptions, as they are 100% right or 100% wrong and don't allow your students to distinguish between nuanced answers.

8. Use different types of questions

When preparing a learning test, you can make use of different types of questions: multiple choice questions, completion questions, true / false, etc.
The type of question used will depend on the topic, but inserting different types of questions in the same test allows you to maintain high levels of attention and involvement of the students.

One of the great advantages of online learning is the ability to incorporate multiple question formats. This means that you can use the images in a mix-and-match quiz or accept audio or video answers to certain test questions.

Dynamic tests that employ multiple types of media are more likely to increase retention than learned compared to traditional text-based varieties.

9. Offer immediate feedback

Providing students with immediate feedback on their responses helps them consolidate what they have learned and provides them with additional study guidance.

By providing feedback for each incorrect answer, the student will be able to understand why the answer given is incorrect and this will allow him to reinforce learning.
Likewise, you can positively reinforce correct answers by explaining to students why their answer is correct and at the same time providing additional information.

10. Allow multiple attempts to answer the test

The goal of each eLearning course is for students to master the concepts they have learned. That said, it makes sense to allow them to repeat the test in case of incorrect answers. They will almost certainly get a higher score, but they will also have learned this information in more depth.

Article taken from Learndash

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