Imagine you are about to catch a flight and were given the opportunity to choose between a trained pilot, versus an untrained one, to man the aeroplane. Which one would you go for?
The choice is obvious, isn’t it? Even if an untrained pilot means no up-front training costs, you know how disastrous flying with one could become.
And yet, when it comes to employee training, most businesses either turn a blind eye to its importance or, do not invest enough into it. An argument that some of these businesses offer is the fact that they hire fully trained employees. Now, it’s true that no one hires unqualified employees. But at the same time, it’s true that employees can be rendered under-qualified due to evolving technology, or because they don’t have the practical work experience.
Yes, training does come at a cost, requiring an investment of time and money. But, not investing in employee training also comes at a cost. Ranging from low production values to lost time and money due to mistakes, there are many reasons why skipping employee training could hurt your business.
But is you employee training effective?
A fruitful employee training program is a continuous work in progress, and the training curriculum wouldn’t be successful without implementing evaluation systems to test the training’s effectiveness. Testing and evaluation lead to better decision-making and recommendations for improving the overall training structure. Therefore, a meaningful and actionable evaluation program needs to be a part of every employee training program.
And while there are many testing and evaluation systems that help you assess the impact and effectiveness of your training, this article will look at one of the most popular of these methods – quizzes.
Using quizzes for effective employee training
There is no point in investing time and money in the training and onboarding of your employees if they don’t recall any of it. Retaining knowledge is important, both for the success of the program, as well as for the benefit of the employees. But it can be a challenge.
Most organizations depend on a learning management system (LMS) as the foundation for online learning tracks, but if left unchecked, can lead to a lack of creativity and interactivity. By incorporating quizzes in your training program, you can add a dash of spontaneity to the program, taking it to a whole new level. When you
create a quiz and couple them with learning materials, it helps stimulate knowledge retention of employees.
Quizzes can also help guide and motivate employees to start focusing on learning concepts that they don’t fully understand. Successfully completing quizzes with high scores provides them with the self-confidence needed to perform their job even more effectively. They also encourage employees to recall knowledge accumulated during the course to retain it for the future. And while it’s the employees that seemingly benefit the most from taking quizzes, there is another side to it – the instructors in charge of training can assess what the employees have learnt, and areas that they need to focus more on.
But first, you need to change the way create a quiz and use them
If you ask most instructors and quiz takers about their experience with a quiz that they might have taken in the past, chances are you will get responses along the lines of “boring”, “not so useful”, to perhaps even “unpleasant”. That’s not to say that the quizzes themselves are boring or unpleasant. Rather, it’s about the way these quizzes are used.
Here are some reasons why your quizzes may be ineffective:
Lack of variety – It’s commonplace to find quizzes that have little to no variety when it comes to the types of questions included in the quiz. This can make the evaluation seem dry and difficult to focus on.
Lack of self-expression – If a quiz has is multiple choice with true or false questions, it leaves no room for employees to express themselves. This can make the quizzes seem uninteresting, or “not so useful”.
Lack of collaboration – If there is no room for collaboration and learning with others, a quiz might lose its value. After all, collaboration and collective learning are the two most important traits of any organization.
Lack of resources – Quizzes incorrectly make the mistake of assuming that you do not have access to resources to help you find the answers you need, in a working situation.
Lack of guidance – Quiz takers are often disheartened as they can be penalized for incorrect answers and are offered no support for correcting the mistake.
Lack of scenarios – Workplace processes and the challenges that come with it are never just black and white. They are far more complex, and quizzes don’t allow any room for assessment of learning in differing scenarios can make learning boring. Tips to maximize employee training with quizzes
1. Start with a quiz before the training
This might seem a bit counter-intuitive but incorporating a quiz at the beginning of a training program is a great way to check for knowledge is already there. This can help prevent repeating things and make the training more interesting. These quizzes can then be used as a benchmark, helping you plan your next steps, and focus on evaluating the effectiveness and ROI of the program.
2. Include incentives
By adding an incentive (in the form of rewards for employees who perform better on a quiz), or including some sort of gamification into your quizzes, you can provide a more competitive experience for the employees. One way of going about it might be to create a points-based leaderboard system for the participants, thus raising the stakes. Including incentives is also a great way to boost employee engagement and raising motivation levels.
3. Leverage automation
With a bit of advance work, you should be able to anticipate the possible outcomes for any results. Consider the following scenario:
Someone who received a low score should be automatically redirected to relevant landing pages, video seminars, white papers, etc. More successful employees, on the other hand, get to unlock the next level of the training program.
4. Add personalization
This works great for keeping your employees motivated. Think about it – just how often is the answer to a tough question a simple as yes, or no? By allowing your employees room for personal thoughts and ideas, you will have more chances of eliciting detailed insights from your employees and gauging the capacities of your team.
Try to use real-world examples by incorporating branching scenarios and even including self-directed feedback to get personal results. This way, you will also be able to provide a personalized experience for your respondents.
5. Add diversity
A very common quiz question type is the multiple choice, but it’s not the only option. To craft the most effective quizzes for your online training, try to incorporate different types of questions in them. Having a wide variety of question will help keep employees engaged and provide them with a more challenging assessment of their learning. Try using sequence questions to see if employees fully understand critical company processes while adding diversity to the quizzes.
Be sure to incorporate enough logic to make the questions challenging, but don’t go overboard. Also, do not give them too many minute steps to arrange. On the other hand, if you want to keep it simple, try mixing “multiple choice questions” with “fill in the blanks”, “match the answers” and “hotspot” questions.
6. Be relevant
Coming up with relevant questions to include in a quiz can be difficult. For effective online training, the best way to go about doing it is to start by having defined learning objectives. Creating these objectives will give you a good reference point for crafting questions that will engage and challenge employees. It also helps ensure that the quiz covers all the key concepts from the training.
7. Consider group challenges
A very important, and mandatory, skills for your employees is to have the ability to collaborate and with others. Therefore, it goes without saying, that this is a feature that you would like to have in your online training programs. While the concept of a group test may not be widely used in academics, it can be valuable in a work setting. Consider creating tests where employees get to work together to solve them. These tests could then lead up to a group presentation or a written paper that they need to submit. Allowing people to collaborate with others will increase their engagement with the content, broaden their perspective, and greatly reduce test anxiety.
Redefine employee training with intelligent quizzes
Letting employees attempt well-designed quizzes as part of their online training can make a huge difference to their learning and the ability to retain information. The important thing to bear in mind though is to make the quiz an integral part of the learning process itself, and not just an add-on. When you approach creating quizzes in this fashion, they will become helpful learning aides as opposed to being a tedious and lacklustre chore for your employees to take on.
So, do you use online quizzes in your employee training programs? If so, what has been your experience with them? Let us know in the comments below.
Author: Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing for the consumer market in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. Having a knack for writing and an editorial mindset, she is an expert researcher at ProProfs: a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools such as Quiz Maker.