I have both created and seen many elearning courses across a diverse set of topics.
To say one course is the same as another really wouldn’t be accurate. However, there are certainly commonalities between elearning courses that come up time-and-time again.
Some of these characteristics are good. They speak to the skills of the instructional designer.
Others, well, are not so good.
People are creatures of habit, and unfortunately not all of our habits are good ones. For instructional designers this means that some of our development techniques may not be the most effective.
I should note that no one does this intentionally. Every instructional designer I’ve known wants to do well by their courses and the learners.
The bad habits that arise are usually because we fall into a certain pattern despite changes in the industry.
One of the biggest opportunity areas for most instructional designers lies within course quiz creation.
Specifically: the types of questions asked and their difficulty.
Breaking Bad Habits
I’ll be first to raise my hand and say that I have been guilty of this quiz mistake myself.
I can recall one project where our team spent so much time creating the course content that we saved the quiz creation until the end. The idea was that this way we would be creating the questions from finalized content.
This makes sense (in theory).
The reality is the project was slightly behind schedule and we had to complete the quizzes quickly to remain within budget. So, all our quizzes were multiple-choice questions and not as intellectually challenging as perhaps they should have been.
Now, I know for a fact that I’m not alone with this blunder. Instructional designers everywhere have all been there before.
But that’s not an excuse.
I encourage all of you to do two things when it comes to creating your quizzes. First, use various question formats. Multiple-choice only is played out. It’s boring for the learner and often encourages “guess and check”.
Next, make your questions harder. Simple as that.
Seriously though, this is a big one.
I have seen so many elearning courses with excellent content covering complex subjects. The quiz on the other hand includes painfully obvious true-or-false questions.
Let’s not be lazy with quizzes anymore. Give them the proper time for development. Create many questions and only choose the best for your question-bank.
Besides, the better your quizzes the more accurately you can measure course effectiveness.