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Written by Skill Dynamics

Why milestones are important for online learners

Some people love quizzes, some people are ambivalent towards them, and some people loathe them. However, when you’re in a learning environment, thanks to human psychology, there’s a little endorphin rush when you correctly answer a question about something you’ve just learned.

Indeed, apps such as Duolingo rely on this psychological effect to keep subscribers active, a sense of achievement encouraging them to continue learning and progressing.

Why does the endorphin rush matter?

With corporate online learning being 40-60% faster than traditional learning, it’s important to ensure that your teams retain what they’re learning (Source: e-learning industry). And with 61% of organizations using online learning to fill skill gaps, the business case is self-evident as to the criticality of retention.

According to SH!ft, e-learning can increase knowledge retention rates anywhere from 25% to 60% – but largely because quizzes and other milestones can be repeated in the event of initial failure, which is often not possible with classroom-based learning. In addition, when a learner misses a question, they pay more attention to that topic during the recap, leading to even better retention the second time around.

When it works

Initially, you need to assess the skills each learner already has, often a key failing of online learning which can be too generic with a one-size-fits-all approach, with the impact being that the benefits of having quizzes in the first place can be lost if learners think it’s too easy, or too difficult, for them.

Personalization of online learning is critical for learners, and the organizations they work for, to reap the benefits of upskilling. Initially taking an assessment quickly evaluates your teams’ knowledge and capabilities either through a simple, skills-appropriate question-and-answer exercise or with a self-appraisal questionnaire.

Individual assessments provide benchmarks to measure the success of your training through a reporting center – something that’s impossible to do at scale with traditional training methods. It also helps learners to prioritize their own attitude to learning.

The added advantage of this approach is the fact that learners become motivated to fill those knowledge gaps themselves.

All of this is a crucial element of the continuous learning journey for the learner, learning should never stop as excellence is a continually moving target as people progress through their career. As learners achieve their objectives, new, relevant objectives should be set to enable progression to the next level leading to performance acceleration.

Quiz/test-based learning also serves the purpose of repetition, and is actually in itself another form of teaching as well as providing a benchmarkable outcome. Keeping the quizzes simple keeps learners motivated and engaged as they have a sense of their own accomplishments.

So bear in mind…

Keep the formats varied and interesting, make the quiz/tests easy to use, and establish benchmarks early on, and you’ll have motivated and engaged learners excited to take the next step on their skills development journey.

Skill Dynamics