Pencils Down: Why Testing Still Matters

Sure, employees want to learn. But they dread having to take a test afterwards.

Let’s face it: we live in a testing culture, and it’s not abating anytime soon. From high school students sweating through the SAT to exams qualifying employees for the Six Sigma Black Belt certification, testing will always be a part of our academic and professional lives.

Even for employees who are simply trying to increase particular skills on the job, testing has its merits:

  1. Managers receive a confirmation that material was covered and retained (somewhat……but more on this later).
  2. HR and other administrative professionals have another metric or milestone to add to the employee’s file.
  3. Employees can have the satisfaction, however large or small, that they passed an exam.

A recent blogpost by Christopher Pappas, founder of the eLearning Industry Network suggested 5 tips for using testing in eLearning.

Testing or any type of assessment is important because studies show that over 90 percent of skills are lost within a year after training. Of course, a single test will not do the trick — continuous assessments are needed to address this shortfall.

Cognota® platform incorporates continuous assessments into the building of courses for your employees.

The eLearning Industry article suggests that testing be interactive and rigorous enough that it challenges the learner to apply knowledge or skills. However, Pappas also advocates that testing should not be so difficult that it frustrates or punishes learners, and positive reinforcement goes a long way: when personalized, it can improve knowledge retention and recall.

Congratulating an employee when they perform well on a test might be just the motivation and reinforcement they need to continue that performance when they take tests in the future.

— Christopher Pappas, eLearning Industry Network

Further on the idea of personalization: Pappas suggests that the L&D professional fully understand the capacities and capabilities of the target learners so as to properly adjust the style and delivery of the testing modules associated with a course. Whether employees pass or fail a course may not necessarily be a measure of their aptitude, but possibly in the course design.

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Pencils Down: Why Testing Still Matters