A common method to reinforce learning and check the learners’ understanding on any particular subject is by using assessments. In the system of assessments, using MCQs is one type of testing the knowledge of the learners. MCQs are questions in which the learner answers a formatted question by selecting the best possible answer from the options given.
Now let’s see four reasons why multiple choice questions are killing your eLearning courses and how to overcome the negative effects.
Wrongly motivating learners to guess is one of the reasons for the ineffectiveness of MCQs. The habit of guessing among learners increases when the learners do not know the correct answer. Oftentimes, the guesses lead to the right answer because the options are so weakly framed and the right answer is so obviously seen. This can be avoided by framing effective distractors.
Frame Effective Distractors:
Framing effective distractors enables learners to deeply analyze all options and then select the correct one instead of just guessing the correct answer. This is important for increasing the thinking and understanding level of learners. By considering the points mentioned below for framing distractors, one can prevent learners from guessing the answers:
- Should be of the same length to maintain parallelism throughout the course
- Should have similar content as that of the correct option
- Should be arranged randomly in such a way that answers are not among the first two options
- Should avoid options like ‘none of the above’ and ‘all of the above’
Not assessing deeper learning: Normal multiple choice questions may not allow the possibility testing deeper learning. Options like ‘none of the above’ and ‘all of the above’ in MCQs will let the answers easily out to the learners. Thus, learners will not intensely think and probe what they have learnt.
Making learners only to recall rather thinking and analyzing: Most of the MCQs only make learners to recall, that is, it tests the learner’s memory but not his comprehension about the subject. The objective of assessments is to reinforce learning.
The best way to avoid reasons 2 and 3 is by using scenarios.
A scenario-style question puts the question as a challenge and thus enables a learner to think deeply, analyze all options, and assess what they have learnt. By this scenario-based MCQ, eLearning becomes engaging and effective. Scenarios can be used to improve the reality of issues in courses. Taking the help of the SME, you can develop a scenario of a real-world situation, create a problem and ask your learners to solve. Scenarios convert facts into real context and explain where a learner made a mistake.
Here is a screenshot of a scenario:
Simple MCQs poor in engaging the learners:
It happens many a times that learners just sees the question, clicks the answer and submits. Simple click-and-go type of assessments in eLearning will not be effective in maintaining the learners’ engagement.
Reason 4 can be overcome by using interactive and engaging drag and drop interactivities.
Use Drag and Drop Interactivities:
Using drag and drop makes your eLearning course engaging and interactive for the learners. MCQs are designed in such a way that the learner has to drag the options and drop in the space provided. Instead of just selecting various options and clicking on submit, MCQs can be made interesting by drag and drop.
Screenshots of drag and drop interactivities are shown below.
Hope I have changed the perspective of negativity about MCQs to a positive one. Now, don’t you feel that MCQs can also be made interesting?