How to create an effective test for your employee training strategy
Instructional Design

How to create an effective test for your employee training strategy

, Former Content Marketing Manager

Much is discussed about how employee training is a significant investment in time and money. But it’s also an investment in hope, of sorts. Because the future of your company can be different depending on how effective your training programs have been. Successful training keeps your employees’ skills sharp, reinforces their talents, and gives them the knowledge and the confidence they need to thrive in the workplace now and in the future. Ineffective training is a loss of resources and time, and can leave employees frustrated.

Whether it’s theoretical knowledge, people smarts, or practical skills, each course promises to teach employees something new. And it’s vital that it does so that both parties reap the benefits. But how can you tell whether employees learned what they were supposed to learn during training? One tried-and-tested way to know whether employees met the desirable learning objectives is through tests and quizzes (pun intended).

In this post, you’ll discover how to create a test that accurately measures employee knowledge without being stressful or monotonous. The tips we share are not narrowly focused on the steps necessary to create a test but rather aim to help you organize your online test taking strategy.

What does a successful test look like?

A test can take various forms. It can be an online quiz with multiple-choice questions, a simulation, or a live demonstration of practical skills. But whichever way you decide to go, there are some characteristics that every successful test should have.

1. It aligns with the learning objectives

Let’s start with a no brainer, that is still easy to miss: create the right type of test for the learning objective you want to achieve. In general, testing theoretical knowledge should be very different to testing practical competencies. Using a concrete example, here’s how to create a test for product knowledge vs. safety training:

You can use multiple-choice or open ended questions to see how familiar employees are with the product specs. Or, even better, a branching scenario where a salesperson serves an indecisive customer. Will they be able to identify the customer’s needs and suggest the right product?

These types of assessment are not sufficient to confirm that a warehouse employee can use the forklift, though. In this case, and for every skill with hands-on application, testing employee knowledge on the field is far more effective. Therefore, before developing your tests, think about which type of assessment will bring employees the closest to real-life circumstances.

2. It’s the right level of difficulty

To determine the right level of difficulty, you should once again refer to your learning objectives. Do you want to assess knowledge or skills? Is the course introductory or advanced? Is it mandatory or optional? Depending on what and how much you need employees to learn, you will determine the level of difficulty for your tests.

Drag and drop activities, multiple-choice questions, and true or false statements are low-difficulty assessments. This also means that they’re the easy way out for employees. As a rule of thumb, use these sorts of online quizzes for elementary or optional employee training courses. But when you’re assessing skills or compliance knowledge, create more complex, scenario-based assessments or ask for a demonstration.

On the other hand, you don’t want to go too far and stress your employees — which can happen even with a simple multiple-choice quiz should you decide to set an impossible time limit or negative scores. Be reasonable about the rules you set, or you might cause anxiety and hinder your employees’ ability to think clearly during the assessment.

3. It’s fun

Tests can be boring as much as they can be stressful (yes, they’re cool like that). It’s best if you use different types of assessments, sprucing them up a little, so that the process is more pleasant for employees. An online test taking strategy usually allows for a greater variety of activities and leaves more room for creativity and inventiveness. Do you need a few ideas to get started?

You can turn a multiple-choice quiz into an interactive experience by creating a video where animated characters ask the questions, and employees choose among “drag and drop” options. Use flashcards as an alternative to tedious lists of employee test questions. If your budget allows it, create simulated environments to test employee skills, like games and scenario-based quizzes. You can also add collaborative assignments, especially if you’re training skills that enhance teamwork or promote creativity.

4. It offers feedback

Another essential component of a successful test is feedback. You can choose for the feedback to appear right after the employee answers a question or completes an action, or at the end of the quiz. Immediate feedback works best for interactive types of online quizzes and on-site demonstration. But it also depends on the effect you want the test to leave. In a scenario-based quiz, for example, the employee accepts what is considered to be a bribe without realizing it. By offering feedback at the end of the test, you let them continue in the wrong path so that they see how one wrong decision initiates a cascade of consequences.

5. It takes into account learning difficulties

Accessibility and inclusiveness should be prominent in every aspect of the modern workplace, including employee training and development. Which is why you should find out about any learning difficulties or other challenges among your employees before you start developing employee training. You can do so through the managers or by contacting employees directly.

Having this information available, you can offer alternative assessment methods to accommodate employees who face challenges. For example, you can allow for an oral exam for employees with dyslexia. Or, you can skip the branching scenarios and offer simple online quizzes with clear fonts for visually impaired learners who rely on screen readers.

6. It’s reliable

Your quest on how to create a test isn’t over yet. Before integrating a test into your assessment strategy, you must ensure it’s reliable. That is, the test effectively measures whether the employee has achieved the learning objectives. False positives will give you a sense of reassurance that will soon be crushed by disappointing employee performance — or even legal trouble in the case of compliance.

One way to ensure your test is reliable is to consult your Subject Matter Expert, who will notice inconsistencies or mistakes. They will also suggest better ways to frame the questions so that the test is accurate in measuring knowledge.

Another way to go about this is to do a beta launch of your course, including the final assessment, to a limited pool of employees. Get employee feedback regarding the difficulty level, the clarity and relevance of the questions, and the variety of assessments. If your employees aren’t happy with the test, rethink your strategy to match their needs.

Over to you

It sounds like designing a test can be as stressful as taking one — not if you have an intuitive tool! TalentLMS has a user interface that you can quickly master and supports different types of assessment. Designing a test has never been easier or more creative.

Save time, frustration and money with TalentLMS, the most-affordable and user-friendly learning management system on the market. Try it for free for as long as you want and discover why our customers consistently give us 4.5 stars (out of 5!)

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Eleni Zoe - Former Content Marketing Manager

Eleni Zoe spends most of her day advocating for clear and easily readable content. She believes in paperback books and lifelong learning.

Eleni Zoe LinkedIn

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