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Learn to quiz staff the right way

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employee quizQuizzing employees on critical facts can help them acquire the knowledge they need to perform important tasks. But there’s a right and wrong way to administer a quiz.

Say you pose a multiple-choice question and the respondent selects the correct answer. The next step is to work together to examine why that answer is right.

Employees who guess correctly may not be able to explain the reason that they’re right. Help them understand and they’re more apt to retain important information.

For those who provide an incorrect response, don’t rush to divulge the right answer. Instead, stimulate learning by dropping a hint and encouraging the individual to think through the issue more rigorously.

Prodding learners to dig deeper signals to them that there’s more to it than picking the correct answer. You want to show them that you value learning as a process in itself.

If, after two tries, the respondent still selects the incorrect answer, shift into teaching mode. It’s unlikely that another round of hints will advance learning, so reveal the answer and educate the employee by providing context and citing relevant data.

Avoid the trap of relying solely on e-learning modules. While self-study can help employees gather knowledge, online quizzes on their own rarely serve a lasting purpose as training tools.

All too often, employees who take Web-based tests see their scores but don’t learn why they got certain questions right or wrong. This leads to disengaged learners who never get a chance to understand what they need to know—and why it’s relevant to their jobs.

— Adapted from Training That Delivers Results, Dick Handshaw, AMACOM.

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