How to Perform a Knowledge Check

Training is one of the best ways to improve employee performance. However, worldwide, companies spend billions of dollars on training employees, yet some companies find it difficult to demonstrate the ROI of their training investment. Much of the training conducted today—especially online training—uses the “one-and-done” model, expecting employees to retain large chunks of information from pre-recorded videos, webinars, or reading alone. How can a company measure knowledge retention? What can be done to validate the investment in training your employees? A knowledge check can be the solution to many training woes.

Knowledge checks can help you identify and focus on training material that works – that changes employee behavior and improves company KPIs. Here’s how to invest in training content and delivery that will have measurable and positive impacts on your business and help you best evaluate how your employees are progressing with their training. 

What is a knowledge check?

A knowledge check is a way to see how much someone knows about a subject. You can do a knowledge test 

  • before initial training to determine how much background information someone has about a subject, 
  • partway through training to see how they’re progressing with the training material, or 
  • after a learner’s training is complete,  to see how much they retained and at what rate they might be forgetting the information presented.

Why are knowledge checks an important part of a mature eLearning ecosystem?

Perform knowledge checks to help learners reflect on their existing and newly acquired knowledge and to give training managers insight into how learners are progressing. 

‌Knowledge checks are a powerful component of eLearning because they highlight the most important information you’re hoping your employees receive from their training. As employees work through a knowledge evaluation, they have the opportunity to think through these key topics slowly and meticulously in a low-pressure zone.  Allowing your trainees to test their knowledge in a safe space is an invaluable part of the training lifecycle. 

‌At the same time, knowledge checks allow training managers to see how employees are progressing in their training. A well-defined,  mature eLearning program can take insights from knowledge checks to determine which topics have been mastered and which may need to be revisited before progressing an employee to the next task. Knowledge checks can help trainers ensure that they continue training until employees have mastered all necessary knowledge. 

‌This review may show that some employees progress more quickly through their training than others, but the result will be that by the time employees have completed their training, they will have achieved mastery in all the topics you need them to know before they start actively working.

‌What are the different types of knowledge checks?

Depending on the type of information you’re trying to teach your employees, different types of knowledge checks may be better at helping your employees reflect on their training and helping you evaluate their progress.

Basic comprehension

Basic comprehension knowledge checks are perfect for any quick facts your employees need to know. These knowledge checks include multiple-choice questions, true or false questions, drag-and-drop activities, and numerical answers. 

‌For example, imagine you have a retail business and need employees to know which department certain items can be found in.  A basic comprehension knowledge check would allow you to name an object and have the employees select which aisle it was in or select the department name.

Applied knowledge

Applied knowledge checks include sequencing, hotspot discovery, short answers or essays, and matching. These are ideal if you need your employees to retain knowledge and test how they would use it in the real world. 

‌For example, say there’s a formula for knowing how much medication to give an individual. It’s not enough for medical personnel to know the formula; they also have to use the formula to get the correct answer. An applied knowledge check doesn’t just ask them to regurgitate the formula. Instead, it would offer a short scenario and ask for them to supply the correct answer.

Interactive processes

Interactive processes, including sequencing, drag-and-drop, matching, hotspot, and short answers, allow employees to take their knowledge to the next level in a hands-on way.

For example, if you were in the hospitality industry, you might use an interactive process to help an employee learn the process for checking someone in at the front desk. Alternatively, suppose you needed to ensure an employee gleaned what they needed from a safety training video. In that case, you might use an interactive process to have them show the safety steps required to perform a task. 

When is it best to check your employee’s knowledge?

This depends on what you’re hoping to measure. To get the most reliable data from your training’s performance, conducting several knowledge checks before training commences, during training, and after training is completed is recommended.


To measure what your employees know on a given topic before the training course or material is released. Conducting a knowledge check prior to training will help form a benchmark to determine what your employees already know - and what they don’t.

During training

As your employees start to absorb the training and work through the courses or material, conducting knowledge checks will indicate where training knowledge has already improved and areas of the training that may need to be reviewed. The frequency and number of checks will depend on various factors like the complexity of the material and the length of the training initiative.


At the end of the training course, you’ll want to review what your employees learned. But, as well, it can be useful to measure their ability to retain the training information 1-week, 1-month, or 1-quarter after post-training. Conducting knowledge checks after training can help you determine what additional supports or changes might need to occur with your training program so that your employees retain more knowledge over time.

‌How can you take your knowledge checks to the next level?

Your company can take knowledge checks to the next level by personalizing them to your employees. Personalization can be based on how employees did on a previous knowledge check. Increase the difficulty as your employees increase proficiency by adding a time limitation. As well, build your knowledge checks to branch off based on competency and past performance, bringing struggling learners back to the basics while more advanced learners move on to more advanced topics.

Apps like OttoLearn can even gamify knowledge checks, making them more enjoyable and interactive for employees and can reduce the number of employees who disengage from training because they’re bored.

What should you avoid when doing knowledge checks? 

The goal of knowledge checks is to review information in a low-stress environment. This makes them different from tests or quizzes, which have been shown not to work,. For this reason, it’s important that knowledge checks aren’t scored in percentages or pass/fail.

Scoring a knowledge check puts more pressure on employees, which can lead to an inaccurate representation of how much they know. Instead, when using a knowledge check, you’ll want to provide feedback on how they answered the question, which can help them pursue the correct answer and know where to focus their attention going forward.

How can Flare Learning help your company create knowledge checks?

Here at Flare Learning, we understand the importance of interactive training that gives your employees the skills to succeed in the workplace. We’ll interview subject matter experts and other individuals within your organization to determine what your employees need to know. With that knowledge in hand, our team of instructional designers, project managers, and eLearning visual designers craft custom eLearning courses, complete with interactive knowledge checks. 

The result is a fully packaged solution to your training performance problems that will help your employees stay engaged, learn the necessary material, and thrive in the workplace. If you’re interested in working with our eLearning development team, start the conversation by contacting us today!

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