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Common Mistakes in the Development of E-learning Assessments

Written By Manisha Reddy K

Common Mistakes in the Development of E-learning Assessments

While designing eLearning assessments, we instructional designers tend to make crazy mistakes, and I’m While sure we will laugh at ourselves when we get to know them.

I’m going to share a few common mistakes and simple tips to avoid them.

True/ False:

Common Mistakes Tips
We tend to follow a pattern such as T F T F T F, which makes it easy for the learners to win the game. Hence, don’t set a pattern and don’t give any hint to the learners.
We end up making all TRUE statements. We need to make the test challenging for the learners and so frame even FALSE statements. However, remember that adding the word ‘not’ to make a statement FALSE isn’t correct.
We frame sentences such that they are partially TRUE and partially FALSE. This ends up confusing the learners. Give statements that are either absolutely TRUE or absolutely FALSE.

 

Multiple Choice Questions(MCQs):

Common Mistakes Tips
A common mistake is that the correct option is usually longer than the distracters. Ensure all options are more or less of the same length and should follow parallelism.
We end up giving irrelevant distracters which are out of the topic; this makes it very easy for the learners to pick the correct option. Distracters must be plausible and from the same domain, so that the learners should be able to identify the correct answer ONLY when they have knowledge about the entire topic.
We don’t give consistent number of options for all questions. All questions need to have the same number of options. For single select questions, it’s ideal to give 4 options. For multiple select questions, we need to give options based on the number of correct options.
We tend to concentrate more on the questions and ignore the instructions. Give clear instructions to learners on what is expected from them. For instance, we need to clearly specify how many options they need to select and what they need to do after selecting the options.

 

Fill in the Blanks:

Common Mistakes Tips
We tend to give more than one blank. This becomes a problem as there are NO options to choose from and the learners need to type all answers. Limit the question to ONE blank. And, to avoid spelling issues, it’s better to opt for symbols or numbers in the blanks instead of complex words.
We tend to assess the learners on lengthy words though they aren’t the KEY words of the sentence. Identify the KEY word in the sentence and leave it blank. This way you are actually re-enforcing the learning.
We start the sentence with a blank, which isn’t a good approach. Frame the sentence such that the blank comes in the middle or at the end of the sentence.

 

Match the Options:

Common Mistakes Tips
Often, the instructions are confusing and learners don’t understand whether they need to CLICK or DRAG to match. They even don’t know how to undo their selections or retake the questions. Give clear instructions as to what the learner needs to do to match the options. Also, give a RESET button, so that the learner can match the options again.
We tend to make the learner’s life miserable by giving the TERMS on the LEFT and DEFINITIONS on the RIGHT. They read a TERM and by the time they read all the DEFINITIONS they forget the TERM. It’s a best practice to give the DEFINITIONS on the LEFT. This allows the learner to read and understand a definitionand then choose its respective TERM on the RIGHT quickly. It makes the learner’s life easy.
We tend to give hints to learners. We should avoid hints such as giving the term itself in the description or implying that the description needs to be plural.
We often try to assess learners on different topics using one question. Use a common approach in each question, such as DEFINITIONS and TERMS or BENEFITS and FEATURES, etc.
We end up giving an exhaustive list of options in one question, which results in cognitive load for learners. Limit the options to 5 in each question. If the number of options is 4 or less, it becomes easy for the learner to guess. On the other hand, using 6 options or more increases the cognitive load.

 

I tried to cover all question types and the common mistakes that we make in each. I have also given a few tips to avoid these mistakes. Hope they’ll help you improve your assessments! Please do share your thoughts

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