Quizzes are games that bring back special motivation in people to learn. Some proof of this are successful TV shows like “Do you want to be a millionaire?” or the mobile app “Asked”, which with its version Trivia Crack already has more than 300 million downloads worldwide. It is difficult to resist the challenge of discovering our level of knowledge without feeling intimidatingly evaluated by a professor or academic institution, simply because of our pride or desire to challenge our knowledge.
The explanation of the interest of the human being for the quiz could be that they repeatedly produce the situation of 50% probability of hitting or failing, described as causing the maximum levels of dopamine discharge in our body. Dopamine is the hormone that best gives us the sensation of happiness.
Let’s review the main conclusions of the studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of multiple-choice tests in the quality of learning.
Remembering previously stored information increases the subsequent retention of this information
This is a phenomenon called “test effect”, which has even been confirmed in systematic reviews that showed that recovering learned information is more beneficial than simply restudying the target material through reading. Recall previously learned knowledge creates additional recovery paths (Carpenter, 2009, Roediger & Butler, 2011), increasing the probability and agility that the memorized concept will recover successfully again in future opportunities.
Butler (1) quantified that learning with multiple-choice test results at least 65% more effective than studying in a traditional way. When the test incorporates feedback after the answers, the effectiveness of learning is 123% greater than studying without multi-response tests.The effect of knowing the correct answer immediately after selecting one of them achieved a 35% increase in the test without any correction.
It was even greater (41%) when the correction was deferred, once the series of questions was completed, it already adds the impact of a new active reflection exercise on why it was answered in that way moments before. There wasn’t any influence, however, when obtaining the correction after selecting a single answer or after discarding options until finding the correct answer.
The nature of the corrections (feedback) influences learning
It has been proven that you learn more by receiving an explanation of why the correct answer option is one and not the other, than when you simply receive the indication of the correct option (2). Other researchers (3) studied the number of response options that is most effective. The conclusion is that the more the better, but at least it is convenient that there are 4 options, since with only 2 options (ex: true / false) there is no increase in retention. Test questions must not be too easy and the correct answer shouldn’t be very evident. Since the more effort it takes to recover a memory, the more it is necessary to re-memorize the information stored (Pyc and Rawson, 2009) and this difficulty of remembering benefits long-term retention (McDaniel et al., 2007).
But tests are not only useful to diagnose and improve the degree of reminder of what has already been learned. Even when the test is prior to imparting the training, they improve the retention of new concepts that are explained later (Richland et al., 2009). Several trainers begin their training with an initial test of their audience level. It has been verified that even when they completely ignore the subject and do not guess even 5%, that initial test boost the attention to the teacher’s explanation to retain more what it was answered incorrectly in the preliminary test.
Tests should be used as powerful learning tools
The gamification of the quizzes in interactive video game type quiz can make this tool viable and give it a motivational context. This generates an activity as effective as attractive. A video game allows the incorporation of batteries of hundreds of questions without tiring the student. Pupils will respond to his rhythm in different sessions, making possible a thorough screening of the syllabus. In this way, they can identify training gaps to work more in depth individually or collectively.
(2) Marsh et al.: “Using verification feedback to correct errors made on a multiple-choice test”, Memory. 2012;20(6):645-53