There are many possible types of assessments in e-learning courses. Complex ones include interactive, branched assessments; the simplest is the multiple-choice question. Here are a few ideas for creating in-course assessments.
1. Mix types
Many people perceive e-learning assessments as not adding real value because there are too many courses that contain only “straightforward” MCQs. Using only recall questions (that is, MCQs that test the learner at only the recall level) does make things boring. Recall questions on a course should be mixed with other types of MCQs, or with other assessment types.
2. Link to learning objectives
Assuming your course has well-defined learning objectives, it’s a good idea to link each question with a particular learning objective. There’s a good reason for this. From http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/assessment/basics/alignment.html:
“If assessments are misaligned with learning objectives or instructional strategies, it can undermine both student motivation and learning. Consider … Your objective is for students to learn to apply analytical skills, but your assessment measures only factual recall. Consequently, students hone their analytical skills and are frustrated that the exam does not measure what they learned.”
Also, indicating what learning objective a question links with has the indirect effect of reinforcing the learning objective.
3. Occasionally use a “pause for thought”
In places, instead of an actual assessment question, try including a question with no answer provided — just to make your learner sit back and think. In terms of recall and self-assessment, “blank questions” can serve just as well as actual ones — provided they’re used sparingly.
4. Use feedback effectively
Too many courses use “stock feedback” –the same feedback for all questions, which only indicates whether the learner got the answer correct or not. It’s more difficult, but extremely useful, to provide remedial feedback. It could indicate what area of the course the learner needs to review, or a comment about the learner’s answer choice, and so on. For more, see http://www.learningsutras.com/elearning-remedial-feedback
5. Frame some indirect questions
In an assessment set, including a good number of questions that go beyond testing recall. From a page of information, if you can frame six recall questions, you might well be able to frame three questions that tie the concepts together. Or, you could frame more complex questions that would require the learner to analyze what has been presented. For more on creating good MCQs, visit http://focalworks.in/articles/creating-mcqs-part-i-ask-right-question