When is a Question a Good Question?

When is a Question a Good Question?


During a reinforcement course, we gather as much data as possible. This provides organizations with the information to analyze their training, provide feedback to participants, and guide overall success.

Good data starts with good questions.

As a leader, you're ultimately responsible for proper analysis that drives continuous improvement. Multiple-choice questions are best suited for measuring the knowledge level in an organization. The participant’s answer is either right or wrong, allowing you to upgrade your training and reinforcement programs.

There are five different types of multiple-choice questions:

1. Standard Questions

The standard type of multiple choice question can vary from three to six answers. The text answers are listed in alphabetical order, and numerical answers are ordered from lowest to highest.

2. Statement Questions

Then we have a question with two statements. This question type is a type of proposition question. It is a difficult type of question, both to construct and to respond to. For best results, it is very important that you create a relationship between statements 1 and 2.

An example statement question:

Statement 1: There is a link between salt intake and the level of blood pressure.
Statement 2: People with high blood pressure are advised to eat lots of salty peanuts.

QUESTION: What applies to these statements?

A: 1 and 2 are correct
B: Only 1 is correct
C: Only 2 is correct
D: 1 and 2 are not correct

3. Rearrangement Questions

The third question type is the rearrangement question. Material is constructed according to certain principles of order. This type of question can only be used when there is data that can be put in chronological order. These questions test if the learner can handle the planning principles adequately. 

An example of a rearrangement question:

Below are six random historical events. Four of them are related.

1. The attack on Pearl Harbor
2. The occupation of the Ruhr Area
3. The reparations
4. The Battle of Stalingrad
5. The Locarno Treaty
6. The Treaty of Versailles

QUESTION: Which four events belong together and are in chronological order?

A. 1-2-5-3
B. 1-4-5-6
C. 2-1-4-5
D. 2-1-5-3

4. Combination Questions

Combination questions are similar to the rearrangement question. In this case, the data in one row should be combined with those in the other row.

An example combination question:

Below are the names of some animals

A. Bear
B. Donkey
C. Dog
D. Cat
E. Lion
F. Pig

QUESTION: Complete the following sentences with one of the animals. (An animal can occur more than once.)

1. As sick as a…
2. As strong as a…
3. As faithful as a…
4. As dumb as a…

5. True or False Questions

Another question type is true or false, a claim is made and the answer is either true or false.

Research shows that this type of question may not provide reliable data for two reasons:

  1. It is difficult to construct an answer that all learners will accept as completely true.
  2. Presenting a false statement is an unusual action in reinforcement since training is generally associated with "transferring facts and probabilities.

After reading the introduction and question the participant has two possibilities:

  • The participant will formulate the correct answer for themselves by looking at the alternatives and then answering correctly.
  • The participant will indicate the correct answer based on the given alternatives.

It is preferable to formulate the question positively. Determining the correct answer is more difficult if the question is formulated negatively. Always visually cue the participant when using a negatively formulated question by capitalizing, italicizing or underlining the negative element. 

6 tips for creating great multiple-choice questions:
  • When formulating alternatives, start by writing down the best answer first.
  • Use learning difficulties and common errors made by participants as distractors.
  • Only use distractors you expect that participants will actually choose.
  • Formulate positive questions.
  • Highlight a negatively formulated question by underlining or italicizing the negative element.
  • Formulate direct questions.

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About Mindmarker Mindmarker addresses a common problem: learners return from a training or eLearning course and quickly forget the information they just learned and revert back to old habits. For training to have the most impact, it has to be reinforced. Read more about us »
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