A practical guide to creating quizzes: part 2

Practical guidesIn part 1, we looked at the characteristics of online quizzes and explored how they could be used to assist or assess learning. In this instalment, we look at the various question formats and the types of learning for which they are suited.

Factual knowledge

In an adult learning context, factual information is usually supplemental to the core learning objective and more often than not just for general interest. However, some facts really do need to be known by heart: When was … ? What is … ? Who is … ?

If it is essential that the learner can recall the information without prompting, then you have little choice than to ask a question that requires them to type the answer in. If it is only necessary that they are able to recognise the right answer, then various forms of multiple choice will do.

Testing factual knowledge
In the example on the left, the learner is tested for recall of a date, which they must type in to the text box. The example on the right also checks for recall, in this case of a chronological sequence.

Conceptual knowledge

Concepts provide a common language for understanding a subject. Generally the aim is for the user to be able to identify the class or category to which given objects belong, whether these are tangible (like types of computer) or abstract (like schools of thought). The most common way of checking this knowledge is to provide the learner with examples and ask them to place these in the correct categories, as in the examples below:

Testing conceptual knowledge
On the left is a typical matching exercise in which learners place example foods into categories. The alternative format on the right has learners select those examples which belong to a given category.

Process knowledge

A process explains how something works as a chain of cause and effect relationships. To check understanding of a process, you can ask questions about causes or about effects, as shown below:

Testing process knowledge
In the left hand example the learner identifies a probable cause. On the right, the learner looks at possible effects.

Spatial knowledge

In this instance our aim is for the learner to be able to identify the locations of parts of an object, device, physical space or system. The easiest way to check this knowledge is with a question that has the learner click on a given part as shown below:

Testing spatial knowledge
The example on the left has the learner identify a particular bone on a picture of a skeleton. The task on the right is similar but in this case the object is a software interface.

Procedural knowledge

Procedural knowledge is tougher because in many cases what you really want to test is whether the learner can actually carry out the procedure rather than just answer questions about it. However procedural knowledge is a first step and you can use a variety of questions to check learning:

Testing procedural knowledge
Rules and principles determine how a procedure is implemented in specific cases. The example on the left explores how different principles could be applied to a particular situation. The example on the right checks that the learner knows the correct order in which procedural steps should be applied.

These examples were created in Articulate QuizMaker, although many quiz tools could do a similar job. In the next instalment we look at the principles underlying the writing of quiz questions.

About Clive Shepherd

Clive Shepherd has written 244 post in this blog.

Clive is a consultant specialising in the application of technology to learning and business communications. He was previously Director of Training and Creative Services for a multinational corporation and co-founder of a major multimedia development company. For four years he was chair of the eLearning Network.

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  1. says

    Hey Clive!

    You already know that I love part 1 of your article. And in this installment, you’ve given your readers excellent points on how to appropriately match question types/formats with the different types of learning.

    Why is this important? Because what your readers can take away from this is that there is actually more thinking involved in creating quizzes. You want to carefully craft these questions to have an effective learning tool.

    For example, it’s important to know that factual knowledge tests for recall so, you can ask students to supply the answer or choose from several options. As for conceptual knowledge, it tests for identifying parts, so you can ask students to select answers from pictures.

    This indeed is a great resource for young and experienced educators alike.

    Looking forward to more interesting and informative posts from you!


    Jennifer Venfield Educator and Quiz Making Specialist QuestionWriter.com

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