devMost online courses will end with a quiz in order to assess whether or not the learner understands the material.

However, it’s important to note that assessment strategies should vary depending on what it is you are trying to measure.

Despite their similarities, elearning can have very different desired end results for the people who take them.

Three of the major areas include:

  1. Memorization and recall
  2. Conceptual understanding
  3. Process application

Sometimes an online course’s goal is to encourage a combination of all three, in fact this is usually the case.  Measuring each of these requires various strategies. In other words, quizzing is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Below are some assessment strategies you can pursue depending on the main purpose of the course content.

Memorization and Recall

  • Multiple choice questions
  • Fill in the blank questions
  • Matching questions
  • Timed recall
  • Note taking
  • Recitation

Conceptual Understanding

  • Open-ended questions
  • Standard math problems
  • Discussions (with prompts)

Process Application

  • Equations and word problems
  • Repeat an experiment
  • Recreate known work
  • Discussion (with prompts)

The area that most people have familiarity with is memorization and recall. It’s important to remember though that this is just the first step.

Applying new information is a better indicator of course effectiveness since it demonstrates the learner has internalized the content in order to influence behavior. It is often what organizations care about most when assessing the ROI impact of any training initiative.

Some of these strategies cannot exist in a pure online context. When possible, you should investigate ways to use a blended learning approach for course content. By using blended learning you gain the natural benefits of both elearning and live instruction.


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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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