Can I add a graded test or quiz?

Murray Gray in Experiencification

Jan 20, 2021 - 8 min read. Available on all plans.

Yes and no.

Read on for how to do it, along with why we strongly recommend that you NOT use tests & quizzes in your course. (There are actually many solid academic reasons that we'll explain below.)

First, Xperiencify was created to you apply the Experience Formula to traditional course content in order to facilitate a MUCH greater engagement in students, along with a similar lift in student success and results.

In fact, when you use all of the tools and features we have, you'll likely see a 10-30X lift in engagement, excitement, action and results among students -- something never seen before in other online course plaforms.

So, while we totally get that you may have a different use in mind, and may be looking for the kinds of more traditional tools you've encountered in school or job training -- we don't offer a native way to lock trainings until a test or quiz has been passed, nor student transcripts on tests or quizzes.

I'll not only tell you WHY in just a second, I'll also show you the significant downsides to tests and quizzes. But first, here's how you CAN add a test or a quiz to your course in Xperiencify.

How to add a test or quiz

Method 1: Add links & instructions to Training Actions, along with points for taking and passing. Here's an example:

Method 2: Soon possible to embed any 3rd party tool or app into a training underneath the training video using a Javascript or HTML snippet.

But... if you’re curious to understand how we've been able to outperform the self-education & online education industry by 10-30 times WITHOUT TESTS, and exacltly how we ensure that our students pay attention and master the material, please read on!

Why you shouldn't offer tests and quizzes

We don’t offer graded tests or quizzes, primarily because they aren’t aligned with the Experience Formula and our vision of providing a tool to help coaches get transformational results for their students and clients.

We believe that when we provide a great student experience around a clear Mission (outcome) students will competently manage their own learning. We believe that we (and they) can assess their progress in more authentic ways than a graded test. If you’re going to use the Xperiencify platform, we strongly encourage you to pair it with the Experience Formula.

But how do I know if they are paying attention to my training materials? How do I know if they learned what I taught?

Great questions, and while many of us are familiar with having a test at the end of a learning unit, there are other ways to assess learning in "authentic" ways, especially if your end goal is real-world performance. To borrow from this article from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Indiana University, authentic assessment:

  • is realistic.
  • requires judgment and innovation.
  • asks the student to “do” the subject.
  • replicates or simulates the contexts in which adults are “tested” in the workplace or in civic or personal life.
  • assesses the student’s ability to efficiently and effectively use a repertoire of knowledge and skills to negotiate a complex task.
  • allows appropriate opportunities to rehearse, practice, consult resources, and get feedback on and refine performances and products.

What does that actually look like?

Let's say you provide job training for careers working with children. You have a training on behavior management, and you need to know that your students have mastered the material.

First, let’s step back and recognize that your ultimate goal is that they master the techniques in real world situations.

In fact if they could pass a quiz on your training but couldn’t actually perform in a real world situation, you probably wouldn't consider that a success.

So instead of using tests or quizzes, here are some applications of the Experience Formula:

  • Connect the training to their goal (not just yours) of making a difference and helping children.
  • Create actions at the end of the training that require the use of the material in the training to complete. For example, after you teach a behavior technique, have someone who can demonstrate it model it for your students, then ask them to describe ways in which the model showed the principles. Next you can assign them a task to role play a similar scenario with another student.
  • Recognize and reward the completion of these actions with XPs, mentions in a social community, and/or maybe a colored bracelet after completing a performance-based task.
  • Provide opportunities for feedback on their performance on these tasks.
  • Anticipate that setbacks will happen as they go out in real world contexts, and add content to “normalize challenges” that will happen.

Our best practice guidance to do this, is to add 2 Actions under each training:

  • Action #1 gives 1 XP for watching or completing the training. Summarize the lesson's main learning point in the Action description, and award 1 XP when they check it off.
  • Action #2 gives 2 XPs for taking the action or implementation activity associated with that training. (We recommend giving more points for the action because action is far more valuable than passive consumption.) (More info here on how to do that)

Here's what that looks like in real life:

The best activities to demonstrate actual competency

For most courses, the actual measure of success will be the student doing the thing you teach in a real world context. Much will depend on what you teach, but here are some great suggestions:

  • If you teach ways to build a community on social media, you ask the student to submit screen shots of what they post.
  • If you teach conflict resolution, you can have them rehearse a conversation using those skills and send you either script with their conversation or a video of them practicing
  • If you offer customer service job training, you can create a fictional difficult customer and ask the student to respond to the complaint
  • Ask a question like "Which of the three tactics for customer service we talked about in the video do you think is the most important?" then students have to watch in order to answer and you you empower them by saying that they have an opinion that matter. And you get a much better idea of what they actually got out of it
  • Pair your students up to coach or teach each other

When we combine these things, it becomes clear that the trainings are relevant, important, and helpful. In these conditions, your students are more likely to act as self-directed learners and rise to the occasion.

But I like tests and they help me learn. Why wouldn’t I use them?

In our experience, the people who like tests are the ones who are good at them.

Many people, however, have a negative association with tests and may even have test anxiety.

Add in people who have learning disabilities, or even just that some people aren’t as good at others at interpreting test questions, and there are often quite a few people for whom tests are not a good student experience.

If you like to use tests for self-assessment, meaning your students can take them just to see if they get the answers right, you might consider adding them as an optional XXP action, so your students who do like that have it available.

Are you saying there’s never a good time to use quizzes or tests? And what about asking questions?

Nope, we aren’t saying that.

We’re saying that the most common requests we get for including them is for uses that don’t align with our methodology.

We intentionally built a new model because the old one wasn’t working for self-education. Some things that fit in this model are:

  • Pre and post assessment. This works nicely with your Mission and goal, to show where your student is before your course and how much progress they made after.
  • Self assessment. As mentioned above, allowing those students who like tests the option to take them is also fine. It respects your students as self-directed adults who can choose the tools that work for them.
  • Questions to create open loops and pattern interrupts. Open loops ask a question that begs an answer, and are great to get curiosity going. As pattern interrupts, they break up blocks where you’ve delivered a lot of information. We aren’t looking at all questions as being the same as quizzes or tests.

So to sum up, Xperiencify was created to do things in a different way. We want our students (and yours) to see the value in what they are learning and how it connects to their goals and mission, and we want them taking action and hitting MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

It’s how we’ve completely outperformed our industry, and we encourage you to learn from our experience.