10 Best Practices For Writing Multiple Choice Questions In eLearning
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How To Write Multiple Choice Questions In eLearning

Multiple choice questions are easy to grade and provide a general overview of online learners' progress. Though they may not gauge how well online learners know the topic, they can tell you how much they know. As such, you're able to provide them with targeted eLearning activities and resources to meet their specific needs. For example, offer them a list of microlearning tools to bridge a skill gap. Here are 10 best practices for creating effective multiple choice questions to assess online learner progress.

1. Create Question Templates

Multiple choice questions usually follow a specific format. There is the question or stem and the responses. As such, you can create templates to save time and ensure that each question sticks to the format. Ideally, your multiple choice questions should be in the form of an inquiry, instead of a fill-in-the-blank sentence. For example, "What are the primary benefits of our newest product?" is a clear and concise question. Online learners are able to process this format more effectively so that they can provide their answer.

2. Keep It Real.

All of your multiple choice responses should be reasonable and realistic. Otherwise, online learners are likely to guess the correct answer, even if they don't know the subject matter, which defeats the purpose of your eLearning assessment. It's also wise to limit the number of "distractors" so that online learners aren't forced to choose from a lengthy list; three to four is the ideal number.

3. Include Clear Instructions

Provide your online learners with specific instructions at the beginning of the exam and before each set of questions. This refreshes their memory and prevents any confusion. You should also mention how online learners must select their best answer. For example, those who are less tech-savvy may not know how to work the eLearning navigation icons or how to use the interface. When in doubt, offer them a brief online tutorial that highlights every step of the test-taking process.

4. Avoid Complicated Vocabulary

Online learners shouldn't have to look up any of the words in your eLearning assessment. This distracts them the task at hand, which is focusing on the correct answer. Complicated terminology is also challenging for online learners with special needs. For instance, individuals who speak English as a second language. For this reason, you should avoid technical jargon and complicated vocabulary. The exception to the rule is multiple choice questions that involve definitions and language mastery. As an example, asking online learners to choose the proper usage of a technical term.

5. Randomize The Correct Responses

One of the most common multiple choice mistakes is creating a pattern. For example, A is the correct response for all even numbered questions. You should randomize the correct answer to avoid lucky guesses. Alternatively, create a complex pattern that online learners are unable to decipher. For instance, the eLearning assessment contains 30 multiple choice questions. Divide it into blocks of 10 and then create a repeating pattern that online learners won't be able to detect.

6. Scan Your Multiple Choice Exam For Answer Clues

You don't want to go to the trouble of creating a multiple choice exam, only to give the answers away. Which is why it's important to review your multiple choice exam to ensure that the correct response isn't found elsewhere. For example, in another set of questions. Of course, there are occasions when the answer is supplied in the eLearning exam. For instance, a reading passage that contains the facts and stats.

7. Craft Your Multiple Choice Questions During The eLearning Course Design Process

Writing multiple choice questions can be a time consuming process. However, you can gradually work on your assessment as you develop your eLearning course. After you create each eLearning module or activity, refer to your objectives and key takeaways. Create a rough draft of your eLearning questions and add them to your running list. Once you've designed the entire eLearning course you can pick-and-choose the best questions and create your final eLearning assessment.

8. Avoid Redundancies

There are a number of reasons why you should proofread your multiple choice questions before you upload them into your eLearning course. One of the most notable benefits is spotting redundancies. For instance, repeating questions or responses throughout the eLearning assessment. You should also verify that your answers don't paraphrase the question. The stem must clearly state the problem or circumstances. Mention any and all facts or ideas that online learners need to know to answer the question.

9. Ensure That Multiple Choice Is The Best Approach

Multiple choice isn't always the best solution. There are times when qualitative assessments are the ideal approach, such as eLearning scenarios that test experiential knowledge. Likewise, true-false and fill-in-the-blank questions may be a more suitable option. So, before you write your multiple choice stems and responses, make sure that this method aligns with your learning objectives.

10. Don't Resort To Deceit

The point of multiple choice questions in eLearning is to determine online learners' progress and eLearning course effectiveness. Including tricky questions to deceive online learners doesn't achieve this objective. It only frustrates and confuses them. Even those who know the answers may be caught off guard. As such, you aren't able to gauge their understanding. That said, you can simply substitute words in your responses and invite online learners to choose the most appropriate answer. Online learners still need to know the topic to omit the distractors and choose correctly.

You can follow these 10 best practices to accurately gauge online learner knowledge and gather valuable data through multiple choice questions. You may also consider an automated system that can do the grading for you and offer online learners follow-up resources.

Are you able to measure whether your corporate eLearning program worth the investment and that your employees are really getting the information they need? Read the article 7 Tips To Create Effective eLearning Assessments To Measure Online Training to discover some useful tips for creating eLearning assessments to measure the effectiveness of your online training program.

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