Is it a Knowledge Check or a Quiz?

a-plusIn the midst of designing a facilitator-led curriculum for a client, we were met with a conundrum: according to our SME(s), one particular class just had to have  a quiz at the end. There were many problems with this idea, including the fact that  none of the other 6 courses in the curriculum ended with a quiz and that the audience was new-hires – so how intimidating would a quiz be?
We finally compromised on a Knowledge Check – that way our SME felt fulfilled (and  we fulfilled compliance requirements) but the learners wouldn’t be too intimidated  (we hoped).
What’s the difference? you ask
A quiz is used to check for comprehension. Did your attendees learn what you taught?
A quiz can come in many forms – you might ask your learners to recognize an answer,  as in the case of a multiple choice text.  You might ask them to recall an answer,  as in the case of fill-in-the-blank. Or you may ask them to think of the answer  by giving a “case” and asking: What should you do next? In all cases the results  of the test matter. There is a score (perhaps numeric, perhaps pass/fail). There is a record of that score. And often the scores are compared to one another – resulting in a ranking of some sort.

Alternatively, a knowledge check is more of a review. It’s used to determine if  the learners can find the answer. They are often allowed to use their learning materials  (handouts, workbooks, etc.) and potentially to work together. A knowledge check  might be in the form of a game (such as jeopardy) or it might be a solitary activity.  Knowledge checks are often used to help solidify the learning, allow learners to review the content one more time, and enable them to leave the training more confident in what they learned.
A knowledge check is appropriate in all situations; a quiz is only appropriate if  you have to ensure people know the answers before they leave training, there is  some consequence to not knowing the answers (such as performing the job incorrectly),  and you need to prove the “results” of the training.