Within a training program, practicing is the most important. But the participant has to be prepared first! Does he or she know the relevant theories and the way techniques should be applied? The multiple choice question is a widely used and efficient way of testing this knowledge, used at universities, in IQ tests, but also in online training. We will discuss four ways in which multiple choice questions can be used in an online training program.

A) Testing theory

In a practical exercise in the form of a role play, the participant usually has to use a technique based on a particular theory. If you want the participants to learn techniques as STAR or SMART, it is important that the participant has a grip on the underlying theories. To make sure this is the case, you can ask a multiple choice question in preparation for the assignment.

The (often three) incorrect answer possibilities are so-called “distractors”. These should be plausible examples for participants who have no real grip on the theory, but implausible for participants who completely understand the theory. You can also choose to provide multiple statements on the theory together. One, multiple or none of these statements are correct, for example:

A) Only statement 1 is correct.
B) Only statement 2 is correct.
C) Both statements are correct.
D) Both statements are incorrect.

B) Recognizing theory in example situations

Before the participant is going to record himself, you can show an example video first. After viewing such an example, you can test if the participant recognizes if a theory has been put into practice the right way. Are all steps of a technique being shown? Does the participant know where and why the technique is used? A multiple-choice question may be: ‘Which element of the STAR method is missing in the example?’ This way, the participant knows whether it is time to start practicing themselves or to revisit the theory about these specific techniques.

C) The best example

You could also choose to show a number of examples to a participant. After viewing these videos, he will then select which of the clips is best via the multiple choice question. This way, the participant knows whether he has a good grip on the theory. In addition, it always helps to see a good example before training yourself! If the participant did not make the right choice, be sure the feedback explains why the other answer is better.

D) Show the effect

Emphasizing the effect that different ways of responding to a situation might have is an even more elaborate use of the multiple-choice question. Instead of an example video, you could show a ‘stimulus video’. In such a video, the participant could be confronted with a customer who had to wait a long time before he received help. After seeing the stimulus video, he’d be asked how he would respond with four options to choose from. Depending on the response chosen, the participant will see the customer’s response from the stimulus video. This makes the participant aware of the effect that the chosen words or tone can have. The effect may also be illustrated by something happening later in time. For example, in a video, the participant sees that the previously dissatisfied customer gets home and says: “Well, I had to wait for a while, but after that they helped me out perfectly. Great service!”

Bonus: “When in doubt, always choose answer B or C, and always choose the longest answer!”: The participant has probably already heard these tips before. But you could use this information as a test designer yourself as well: do you take a different path, or do you go for the double bluff?

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