How to write good online learning quizzes

John Sherman

One of the best ways to separate the wheat from the chaff, the average Joe from the learner supreme, is the good old quiz.

The nature of the eLearning platform can restrict the avenues that teachers can use to judge a student’s learning as student and teacher aren’t physically in the same space. But learning quizzes provide a means around that.

They’re an integral part of a course and an absolutely vital tool to score the abilities of the student, helping to chart whether they’ve been paying attention.

Problem is, is that they’re not the easiest assessments to write. However, with the helpful tips you’re about to read, and a little bit of practice under your belt, you’ll be firing out online learning quizzes in no time!


Concentrate on the important points

Online courses shouldn’t be full of fluff; your students are usually professionals who are short on time and expect to learn the essential pieces of whichever jigsaw you’re teaching. Your course should be kept clean and to the point, so make sure your quiz questions are too.

Don’t waste time asking irrelevant questions about bits and pieces outside of the central points of your course. If you’re asking questions on unimportant topics then the answers probably don’t matter anyway.

Give students a fair crack of the whip by sticking to the topics and learning objectives that have been fundamental to the course.

Use a variety of question types

And like your course, your quiz should offer variety too. Include scenario-based questions, multiple choice, written responses and any more you can think of to provide an even-handed route to assess a learner’s ability.

You could incorporate video into your quiz too, as a way to reflect the medium’s heavy use in most eLearning courses.

However you decide to structure your questions, just make sure to offer a variety so students can show their true learned knowledge.

Keep questions short, sweet and crystal clear

Quizzes are really not the time for the quiz master to show off their writing chops.

To be as fair as possible to students taking your quiz, it’s important to word your questions in a concise, clear manner. If a student doesn’t understand the question then they’re certainly not going to be able to answer it properly.

Use easily understood wording, keep questions short and don’t give to provide too many details to cushion a question. If one of your questions can’t be asked within a sentence, then maybe it’d be better asked as a scenario-based question.

Mix it up

Your students must be challenged. Asking a range of questions forces them to think on their feet, draw nuggets of information and generally feel as though they’re being tested.

Certainly, the aim of a course quiz isn’t to be so hard that students feel inadequate, but a quiz requires students are thoroughly tested.

Keep an eye on the prize

As most of your students are taking your courses for work-related reasons, it makes sense to include questions that reflect the reality of their working lives. After all, this is where they’re going to be putting their new found knowledge into practice.

Don’t leave them dangling

Once students have sat the quiz and results have been given, you need to offer some feedback about what they did well on, what they struggled with, and in which areas they should be looking to brush up on their skills.

Regardless of how a student fared, and even if they came top of the class, look for ways to suggest where they could improve their knowledge or performance in some areas. Likewise, if a student has done badly you should attempt to look for positives to encourage them with.


There’s your lot. Some tips and suggestions to help write a well-rounded and useful online learning quiz.

Remember that the quiz should encourage students in their learning and push them to do better. It should be put together in a way that brings everything the course has covered together to be tested, in a practical way.

Though it is a gauge through which to test the learning of students, a quiz shouldn’t be a stick to beat them with. Make sure it’s fair but challenging and you’ll be fine. Good luck!

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