How To Create Engaging Quizzes for Your Online Course
Do you want students to complete your online course and watch all the lessons till the end? Do you want them to stay engaged with your content? Do you want them to gain solid insights from your course instead of randomly going through the content?
If yes, you must include engaging quiz questions and tests in every course module.
Quizzes help students gauge their understanding of your course and incentivize them to take your content more seriously.
And more importantly, they show you how much your students are learning.
In this detailed article, I’ll show you the different quiz types you can use in your course and share proven tips to create engaging quizzes that make your course more valuable for the students.
Let’s dive in.
An online course quiz is an assessment tool that helps teachers make their courses more engaging and measure their students’ understanding of a topic.
It consists of brief and targeted questions about the most critical aspects of your topic. And its goal is to ensure that your students not only understand the topic but can also implement it in various real-life scenarios.
Course creators typically use quizzes between lessons and modules to help students summarize their learnings and be better prepared for the next lessons.
Here’s an example of an online course quiz.
Many online course creators also use quizzes as qualification criteria for advanced lessons and modules. So, a student has to achieve a certain quiz score to access more course content.
But that’s just one of the various ways creators use quizzes to create an enhanced learning experience for their students.
So, why should you include quizzes in an online course? How do they make your course better or more valuable? Let’s quickly discuss some of their main benefits.
Quizzes play a vital role in getting your students in the learning mode and making them pay more attention to your content. An extensive research study published in Life Sciences Education (LSE) journal found that adding quizzes to a learning track significantly enhanced student learning and engagement. It increases student participation and encourages students to closely follow the course content.
When you invest your valuable time and resources in creating an online course, you want your students to watch it till the end and gain as much value from it as possible. Unfortunately, that rarely happens because 85% of students never complete an online course.
But adding quizzes to your course lessons and modules makes them more interesting and keeps them engaged longer, resulting in higher completion rates.
However, you must find the right quiz frequency and mix to ensure students don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ll discuss how to do this later in the article.
Adding quizzes to your course allows you to measure its impact and get a real picture of how much your students are learning. In addition, you can use quiz scores to validate your course and ensure its difficulty level aligns with your student’s skills.
For example, if you notice low quiz scores across your student base, it might indicate that your content is too advanced or not clear enough. On the contrary, 100% quiz results might indicate your content is too simple.
You can use quizzes to encourage healthy competition among your students and motivate them to achieve higher grades. For example, you could hold monthly quizzes for your live workshops and rank the best students. To avoid shaming, you could publicly publish the top three results and communicate the remaining through direct messages so that students know where they stand and try harder next time.
You can use quizzes in several ways to make your online courses more interesting and engaging. There’s no fixed template or formula to determine quiz frequency.
But generally, here are a few ways course creators use quizzes.
Most online courses consist of short lessons grouped in separate modules addressing a specific sub-topic of your course.
To ensure that your students understand everything you teach, you can use quizzes after every lesson or the more advanced lessons in a module.
For example, if you teach a course about SEO that has a module about on-page optimization, you could include quizzes for lessons like title and meta optimization, content formatting, image optimization, etc.
Lesson-specific quizzes help students test their knowledge and fully understand the core concepts at every stage of the course.
But it also means a higher frequency of quizzes which might be overwhelming for your students. So, the best approach is to use quizzes for the most crucial lessons only.
Module-specific quizzes cover all the lessons in a module and are more comprehensive. That’s why they’re the most popular choice for online course creators.
Module-specific quizzes help you gauge a student’s understanding of a broad set of topics without overwhelming frequent questioning.
However, they’re longer than lesson-specific quizzes because they cover more content.
Goal or scenario-based quizzes test a student’s understanding through hypothetical scenarios. They’re not lesson or module specific. Instead, you can use them when you believe your students should be able to solve specific scenarios with the information you’ve taught.
Qualification quizzes are designed to test a student’s expertise in a topic to award them a certification or qualification score.
These are mandatory quizzes with a minimum passing score requirement. You can use them before awarding a course certification, as a requirement for unlocking bonus lessons in your course, or any other way you see fit.
Competition quizzes test your students and rank them based on their scores. They encourage competition and motivate students to outperform each other. You can use them for live workshops, group coaching calls, etc.
Modern online course platforms allow you to create different online quizzes, including highly interactive and gamified quizzes. Of course, you don’t need to use all of them together but knowing your options helps you choose the most appropriate quiz types for your audience.
Let’s quickly discuss each type.
Multiple-choice questions consist of several answers, out of which only one is correct. It is the most commonly used quiz type in online courses because it’s easy to create, answer, and grade.
These questions are similar to multiple-choice but slightly trickier since they have multiple correct responses.
These questions do not provide students with answer choices. Instead, the respondent should answer with one or two words max. However, some short-answer questions allow up to a few sentences so that the students can provide context to their responses.
Teachers use these questions to inquire about the names, identities, or definitions discussed in their course.
Open-ended questions require long-form answers (usually within a word count limit). Instructors use them for scenario-based questions that require long explanations. They’re also ideal for essays or writing assessment tests.
True/False questions are multiple-choice questions where the respondent has to confirm or deny a possibility. However, they differ from regular MCQs since they only provide two options.
Fill-in-the-blank quizzes require the respondents to complete a statement with the correct answer. You can ask the students to answer from their minds or give them multiple choices.
These interactive quizzes require the respondents to logically match different objects or items. You can make them more interesting by including multiple closely related options.
Sequencing quizzes require the students to arrange the answer in a specific order. You can use them to gauge a student’s understanding of processes or the importance of different factors. For example, you could ask students to sort a list of events in chronological order.
These are highly interactive quizzes where the respondent needs to place different drag & drop objects based on the teacher’s criteria. For example, a quiz could ask the students to organize items based on characteristics like color, size, weight, or material type.
Numerical quizzes are mathematical equations or questions that require a numeric answer. You can create multiple choice or short-answer numeric questions depending on your goal.
Online course creators can also require students to complete an assignment in an offline document and upload it for assessment. Instructors use such quizzes when they need students to do extensive research on a topic or their online course platform does not offer the quiz type they’re looking for.
So, what are the qualities of an effective online course quiz? We can list several factors depending on your quiz type. But generally, a quiz should have the following characteristics.
Your quiz should be relevant to your topic and aligned with your course’s learning goals. It should help increase your student’s understanding of the topic and move them closer to becoming experts.
However, you can reframe your questions to test students’ knowledge of the core concepts in real-life scenarios. But ultimately, every quiz question should be a part of the course’s broader learning goal.
For example, a course about starting a freelancing writing business can ask students to write a short essay on a topic or test their cold emailing skills since both activities are related to the course’s goal.
An extensive online course with multiple modules and dozens of lessons can include several quizzes. The easiest way to align them with the learning goals of your course is by creating lesson/module-focused quizzes.
For example, if your SEO course has modules on keyword research, on-page SEO, link building, and website performance optimization, make sure that your quizzes for each module are focused on its lessons (not the other modules)
Plus, make sure your quiz questions are clearly worded and easily understandable. If needed, include a brief explanation to ensure students understand what you’re asking.
Online course quizzes shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to answer. Use a combination of quick quiz types like multiple-choice questions, short-answers, and true/false quizzes to ensure it doesn’t take students hours to solve your quizzes.
To increase participation in your quizzes, try to make them engaging and fun. For example, you can use interactive quiz types for this purpose or use colorful and eye-catching quiz templates, so your students don’t find the quizzes boring.
One way of boosting engagement is by asking video questions instead of text. Simply record yourself asking the question on camera and provide the answer choices below your video.
Quizzes shouldn’t be a formality in your course. Make them count by asking challenging questions that force your students to think hard and bring their A-game to the table.
I’m not asking you to make them so tough that an average student can’t possibly get them right. But they shouldn’t be a piece of cake either. So, try striking the right balance.
Let’s now dive into the process of creating quizzes for your online course.
Your course should have multiple quizzes across lessons and modules. Each of those quizzes should have a clear goal that aligns with the overall learning goals of your course.
So, before creating a quiz, ask yourself the following questions.
Why are you creating this quiz?
What do you want to measure with your quiz?
How will taking this quiz benefit your students?
What will they miss by not taking this quiz?
What’s the scope of this quiz?
Do you want to focus on a specific lesson or create a comprehensive quiz covering the whole module?
Does your quiz align with the course’s overall learning goal?
Answering these questions is critical because it will determine the direction of your quiz and the kind of questions you include in it.
For example, suppose you’re teaching a content marketing course with a dedicated module on creating a content marketing funnel.
If you create a quiz for this module, your goal could be to gauge your student’s understanding of how a content marketing funnel works.
This quiz would solidify your students’ concepts and help them apply the lessons to real-life scenarios.
Do this every time you want to create a quiz for your course because every quiz will have its own unique goals and scope.
Before diving into individual quizzes, you need to have an overall quiz strategy for your online course that outlines:
- The number of quizzes in your course
- The frequency of quizzes
- The timing of quizzes
- The connection between different quizzes
- The learning goals of all quizzes and how they help you cover all the core topics of your course
- The number of mandatory and optional quizzes
For example, you could go for a simple quiz structure in which every module ends with a comprehensive quiz focused on its lessons. Or you could go for lesson-specific quizzes for only the most critical lessons.
Similarly, you could use a fixed quiz frequency, for example, two quizzes per module. Or you could keep it flexible and change the frequency in different modules as needed.
Doing this will speed up your quiz creation process since you’d know exactly how many quizzes you want in a module.
We’ve discussed nearly a dozen quiz types in this article that you can use in your online courses. However, you don’t need to use all of them together.
Instead, I’d recommend focusing on 3-4 quiz types that resonate with your audience and are more suited to your course type and quiz goals.
For example, if you want to quickly measure your student’s understanding of a topic, use a multiple-choice quiz instead of a true/false quiz.
Why? Because in a true/false quiz, there’s always a 50% chance that your student might be wrong. So, you don’t really know if they’re guessing their way through a quiz or responding to the questions based on their understanding.
Similarly, if you’re creating a comprehensive qualification quiz for an advanced course, you could use an open-ended question format that allows the students to dive deep into the topic and respond in detail.
But such questions aren’t suitable for most beginner or intermediate-level courses. Plus, you can’t use such questions too frequently. Otherwise, your students would lose interest.
So, keep your audience and quiz goals in mind when choosing the question types.
This is one of the most critical parts of designing an effective online course quiz. We’ve already discussed that you’d want to challenge your students with your quizzes and not make it a formality.
However, you must test different versions of your quiz with your beta audience to do that. A beta audience is a small group of students that you sign up for a discount so that they can go through your course content and share real feedback.
Test your quizzes with your beta audience and tell them what you’re looking for. For example, if you create a moderate-difficulty quiz and share it with your beta testers, you might find it’s too easy or too difficult for your intended audience.
This would allow you to make timely changes so that the final version of your quiz is exactly what you want it to be.
Generally, your quiz difficulty should increase with every module. In particular, your mandatory and qualification quizzes should thoroughly test the students.
But they should still be doable so that serious students can successfully complete your course and acquire their certification because this would motivate others to do the same.
With all this preparation, you’re now ready to create quizzes on your online course platform. This is a critical step because if you choose the wrong platform, you might not be able to create the quizzes you want.
For example, some online course platforms only offer basic multiple-choice and open-ended questions. But they don’t offer advanced quizzes like drag & drop, sequencing, object matching, or even true/false.
Some course platforms don’t offer graded quizzes at all. If you choose such a platform, you’ll need to use a third-party quiz application for your course, which isn’t ideal from a user experience perspective.
Zenler, LearnWorlds, and iSpring offer the best quiz options among standalone course platforms. They not only come with a wide range of quiz types but also make it extremely easy to draft, publish, and grade quizzes.
So, if you want to create quizzes, carefully evaluate your options before choosing an online course platform.
Quizzes are excellent tools for measuring your student’s performance and skills. Plus, they provide you with priceless insights and help you gauge your content’s impact. But to create effective quizzes, you must plan and align your questions with your course’s learning goals. The tips I’ve shared in this article should help you create your first online course quiz.
But if you still have questions, let me know in the comments section.
An online course quiz is a testing tool teachers can use to gauge their students’ understanding of a topic and the impact of their online course.
Every leading online course platform allows you to create quizzes. LearnDash, LearnWorlds, iSpring, and Zenler are course platforms that offer the most diverse range of online quizzes.
Have a clear goal for your quiz and align it with the overall learning objectives of your course. Then create an engaging quiz focused on a narrow topic within your online course.
Graded quizzes are a premium option on most online course platforms.
Yes, most online course platforms allow you to define a passing score for your quizzes and award certificates to successful students.
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