Instructional Designers: do you know what you think you know?

By | February 1, 2007

Will at Work Learning: Take the Original Learning Research Quiz

I took this quiz a couple of years ago after seeing Dr. Thalheimer at an e-Learning Guild event. I thought I was doing pretty good until I got the feedback. I just took it again. I did a little better, but not as good as I thought I would.

The good news? I’m not really an instructional designer. The bad news? I do work in the learning industry and effect ID decisions in my role.

Thalheimer’s quiz (as with everything I’ve seen from him) is excellent. It provides well designed, relevant questions and thoughtful, research-backed feedback – in other words, it practices what it preaches. To quote from the feedback on one of the questions:

To have the proper impact, testing must be designed correctly. Too often, we test learners on information that is easy to test, yet we fail to test them on information they need to know. Let us use this test as an example. We’ve tried to develop questions that will benefit our target audience: trainers, instructional designers, performance consultants, and others in the learning-and-performance field. If a test question focuses on information learners can use to improve their practices, then the question is valuable—the current question is a case in point.

The feedback then goes on to contrast an irrelevant (but easy to test) question, with the question at hand.

The test uses scenario-based questions (another method shown to improve retention) to cover topics such as:

  • Practice
  • Spacing
  • Sequence
  • Pre/Post-Testing
  • Repetition
  • Learning vs. Testing Context
  • Performance vs. Learning Objectives
  • Generalizability (did I just make up a new word?!)
  • Feedback

I highly encourage anyone in the Learning/Training/Performance industry to take this quiz and implement the feedback in their work. I know I intend to.

[tags]learning, training, Thalheimer, testing, performance, e-learning, research[/tags]

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