15 Mar

When we think about the assessment process associated with eLearning, then the standard 10 multiple choice questions with four options springs to the front of our thoughts. It is what we are used to, isn't it?

Then next thing that pops into my mind is the poorly worded 4 options, where 1 answer is obvious, 1 answer is somewhat related and the other two answers are totally ridiculous, it's almost like an insult to the learner. Throw in the clue that it is probably the option with the longest word count and the whole time spent "assessing" is just a waste of time. A box ticking exercise to try and convince management the process is valid. Fail.

I guess that I am trying to get to a point here, and it is that multiple choice questions have a place, but how they are used and structured only indicates the passion of the author. Lame and pointless questions are a sign of laziness. The other point is that while the structure of the multiple choice may remain constant, changing up the requirements to get a correct response can vary. This may include identifying 2 correct answers from the responses provided, or even what order should a task occur.

Overall, your aim when authoring an assessment is to test understanding and knowledge. If this understanding can be demonstrated in the workplace, or a simulated workplace, all the better. If the aim is to confirm the attainment of a skill, this can only be assessed through observation. Imagine, trying to assess the competence of a surgeon or a pilot, using a 10 question multiple choice questionnaire. I hope I stay healthy and do not need to fly anywhere.

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