Understanding Your ROI Through Online Testing
Online testing is the best way to understand the true value of an L&D program within an organization. Implementing any sort of training program is not worth the time and money if you do not know how this training should, will, and is affecting your productivity and profits. Rather than guessing at the success of an online or blended training program, the most concrete way to determine the retention, usage, and understanding of students’ training is through online testing.
Types of Online Testing
Quizzes are a great way to implement “micro-learning” into your training programs. In the same way that students learn and retain better through smaller chunks of information delivered in increments, quizzes help to further ingrain that knowledge in short, applicable, practical spurts.
Many courses will include a more comprehensive exam or test at the end of the full course or training program. This is one of the best forms of online testing to collect data about each individual’s overall retention and knowledge of the subject. This also helps to track general patterns of understanding between individuals, jobs, departments, and locations.
Some typical forms of online testing questions may include:
- Multiple Choice
- True or False
- Essay/Short Answer
- Multiple Choice with Explanation
- Find Errors
It is not enough to simply test someone right after the course has been completed, though. These exams give only a snapshot of the knowledge the trainee has gained. Creating online testing that determines long-term retention is crucial to fully understand the training’s return on investment.
These assessments could include on-the-job performance, feedback, online testing, and boss and peer reviews. Understanding what the individual took away from the course after a week, after a month, or even after a year will help not only to understand the individual’s performance but also where the training is lacking in order to further develop it for future students.
Online testing should not be one-sided, though. After you have tested your students, you should allow your students to “test” you. Gives them forms or discussion forums where they can give feedback on the training and assessments an interactive setting. This gives students ownership over their own learning and development. It can help the individual, their peers, and the L&D of the organization all grow, innovate, and learn in tandem.
The Use of Online Testing
The ultimate return on investment of your training program can be viewed as a pathway:
training presentation à understanding à retention à productivity à profits
In this way, online testing should occur after each step in order to fully understand the benefits and successes of the training program.
- Quizzes and exams that directly follow the presentation of the training can help determine how clear and digestible the program was.
- Assessments should also be done a week or two later, after understanding has settled and been applied to the job.
- These assessments should be repeated a few months later to see how much of the material was retained long-term.
- Finally, if the online testing up to this point has gone well, you can assume that the student has grown and the training has succeeded. However, final assessments have to come after this increase (or decrease) in the trainee’s success. You need to ensure that their boosted productivity (and the company’s profits) is directly correlated to the training. This can be done through personal feedback, self-reflection, and other forms of cognitive-based online testing to see how the individuals attribute their successes (or failures, if relevant).
Online testing should be performed at various stages to fully understand success and long-term return on training investment in order to make a strategic impact on an organization’s development.