To Really Learn^* Take a Test- myBrainshark Examination Questions

To Really Learn^* Take a Test- myBrainshark Examination Questions
February 7, 2011

MyBrainshark allows the easy creation, sharing, and tracking of video presentations for online and mobile audiences.  Uploading PowerPoint slides and adding voice by phone or microphone is one of the most common ways to create content in myBrainshark. Adding questions is a next step you can take to make your presentations interactive.

In my last post, I covered how to use poll and survey questions in myBrainshark to turn marketing and sales presentations into conversations.   In this post I'll discuss how you can use examination questions using myBrainshark Pro Trainer to transform your video presentations into eLearning courses to test and certify comprehension. 

There's more to testing than just right and wrong answers.

We all know that examination questions test retention of material at a given moment.  It tests a subject's "readiness" to perform. That's a well know fact, but can testing actually help us remember information in the first place?  To answer that question, read this recent "most popular" article from the NY Times, entitled "To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test."

Pam Belluck, the article's author, begins by saying that "Taking a test is not just a passive mechanism for assessing how much people know, according to new research. It actually helps people learn, and it works better than a number of other studying techniques."

The article points to a recent, groundbreaking study published in the journal, Science.  It found that students who read a passage, then took a test asking them to recall what they had read, retained about 50 percent more of the information a week later than students who used two other methods (cramming and producing detailed drawings).

“I think that learning is all about retrieving, all about reconstructing our knowledge,” said the study's lead author, Jeffrey Karpicke, an assistant professor of psychology at Purdue University. “I think that we’re tapping into something fundamental about how the mind works when we talk about retrieval.”

Applying this to your myBrainshark presentations.

Taking the NY Times article into account, we can conclude that there are two major reasons to add examination questions into our myBrainshark video presentations: 

    • They reinforce and promote learning

    • They test and certify understanding

    I'll come back to these two points with some best practices ideas for you at the end, but first...Let's look at the testing features you have available in myBrainshark Pro Trainer.  

    Question Types (matching, T/F, fill in the blank, sequencing, matching):


    Additional features:

    • Random question order

    • Random answer selection order

    • # of attempts allowed

    • Set question point values

    • Set completion criteria (% viewed, % audio listened to, score)

    • Customize answer feedback

    To see more detail on these features and where to find them, view this short presentation:

    Best Practices

    Now that you know what testing capabilities you have with Pro Trainer, let's look again at those two reasons to test, now with best practices included:

    • Examination questions reinforce and promote learning

      • Add test questions throughout your learning content to reinforce key points and push creative thinking

      • These questions do not necessarily have to have point values ascribed to them, nor do they need to contribute to completion status.  Rather, they can question retention and offer feedback, depending on the response.

      • You may want to be more flexible in the number of attempts you allow for these questions

      • You may want to randomize question order and answer selection order

    • Examination questions test and certify understanding

      • Add questions at the end of your presentation or at the end of each section

      • Assign point values to each question

      • Set completion criteria that includes a minimum passing score 

      • You may want to be more restrictive on the number of attempts you allow per question

      • You may want to randomize question order and answer selection order

     Of course, remember you can have an eLearning course that includes both approaches.  Get creative, use these powerful features, and ultimately succeed in your goal of educating your audience.  If you have questions, I'd like to hear from you.  Either comment here on this post or contact us on Twitter @mybrainshark.