8 Things You Should NEVER Do When Developing Pre-Course Online Pop Quizzes

8 Things You Should NEVER Do When Developing Pre-Course Online Pop Quizzes
Summary: Pre-assessments help online learners spot areas for improvement while there’s still time to make a change. In this article, I explore 8 things that you should never do when developing pre-course online pop quizzes.

What To Avoid When Developing Pre-Course Online Pop Quizzes

Pop quizzes shine the spotlight on strengths and personal areas for improvement. This way, they give online learners the opportunity to shift their focus during the eLearning course to fill the gaps and get the most from their eLearning experience. But crafting the perfect pop quiz isn’t as simple as plugging random questions into an eLearning template and hoping that it uncovers sticking points. In fact, it takes in-depth audience research, consistency, and follow-up eLearning feedback to develop effective diagnostic tools. Here are 8 things you should never do when creating and implementing pre-course online pop quizzes.

8 Pre-Course Pop Quiz Development Mistakes

1. Turning Pop Quizzes Into Comprehensive Assessments

Pop quizzes are meant to be quick but frequent. It starts with the pre-course quiz that briefly gauges how much they know, and what they need to bridge gaps. They don’t know about the quiz in advance, so many might see it as an unexpected hurdle to the eLearning course itself. Therefore, you have to make it brief so that they can evaluate gaps and then remedy them immediately by actively participating in the eLearning course.

2. Always Rely On Quantitative eLearning Assessment Methods

When most people think of pop quizzes, written exams come to mind, possibly filling in the little circles on those beloved scantron sheets. However, it doesn’t always have to be quantitative. In fact, eLearning simulations, branching scenarios, and serious games are highly effective qualitative eLearning assessment methods. They give you the power to test the online learners’ breadth of knowledge as well as their ability to apply it, rather than simply gauging their capacity to remember concepts and ideas.

3. Not Having Clear Evaluation Criteria In Place

It’s just a pop quiz, so you don’t really need to have formalized criteria or an official rubric, right? The truth is that you still need to have a way to align the pop quiz with your learning objectives and evaluate online learner progress/performance. Online learners must also be aware of how they’ll be graded and why. For example, you’re trying to determine how much/how well they know the health and safety compliance policies before the eLearning course. This also allows you to use the pop quiz as a primer. Give online learners a taste of what’s to come, so they can start delving into their pre-existing knowledge banks.

4. Testing Above Or Below The Online Learners’ Level

You can’t naturally assume that online learners are already knowledgeable about a topic, or that they don’t know the basics. To develop effective pre-course online pop quizzes, you need to do your homework. Gauge their existing knowledge base so that you can create questions that test their level of mastery and proficiency. Then customize your eLearning content or personalize their learning paths based on your findings.

5. Leaving Out Real-World Applicability

Online learners may already know the information in a theoretical context. In other words, they’ve memorized all the key takeaways or at least those that are enough to help them pass the final exam. However, that doesn’t indicate whether they know how to apply all that information to achieve the goals and desired outcomes. Thus, you need to integrate real-world applicability into your pop quiz line-up. For example, formulate your questions around realistic examples or case studies, or use eLearning simulations to see if they can use their skills and knowledge in practical settings.

6. Not Providing Any eLearning Feedback

Many eLearning professionals make the mistake of using online pop quizzes as intros to the topic. They are a great way to summarize topics you’ve covered in the past to refresh their memory and prepare online learners for what lies ahead. However, you still need to provide them with eLearning feedback, so they know what to focus on moving forward. For instance, tell them which questions they answered incorrectly or which aspects of their performance are lacking (in the case of qualitative pop quizzes).

You can even pair it with personalized recommendations they can peruse alongside the eLearning course content. Such as microlearning tutorials or demos that enrich the eLearning experience and broaden their understanding. Lastly, don’t resort to blanket eLearning feedback. Ensure it’s targeted for each individual so that they’re able to devote their full attention to personal gaps during the eLearning course.

7. Using Inconsistent Question/Response Formats

It’s best to stick with one format when creating traditional online pop quizzes rather than trying to mix things for the sake of variety. For example, if the first question has four responses and follows a specific format, the rest of the questions should follow suit. The goal is to test how well the online learners understand the information, not how well they adjust to different testing methods. This also allows them to focus on the information instead of having to acclimate to the new format every time.

8. Incorporate Technical Jargon Or Ambiguous Distractors

Ambiguity or the equivalent of ‘red herrings’ are common mistakes to avoid when developing online pop quizzes as for instance, including unclear distractors in hopes of misleading the online learner. However, that doesn’t accurately gauge their understanding of the topic. It’s simply a way of tricking them into making a mistake. Technical jargon is yet another faux pas. Otherwise, you’re testing them on their vocabulary mastery. Keep the language simple and easy to understand for every member of the audience.


Pre-course online pop quizzes help online learners better understand their level of knowledge and skill proficiency. It’s not merely about identifying what they’re doing wrong or what they need to work on. It is more about allowing them to reflect on cognitions and behaviors that are holding them back so that they can benefit from the upcoming eLearning course. Avoid these 8 common mistakes to develop pre-course online pop quizzes that open their minds without making them feel judged or isolated from their peers.

Moreover, keep in mind that it’s easier to remember things when they are linked to strong emotion even when we talk about the corporate environment. The feelings produced through pop quiz experiences help the corporate learner’s memory absorb information more effectively. If you are interested to integrate pop quizzes in your online training and engage your corporate learners, search our exclusive LMS directory. It features the top systems with tests engine functionality.