Embedded formative e-assessment: Who benefits, who falters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This research examined the impact of formative quizzes on e-learning designed to teach volunteers how to tutor struggling readers. Three research questions were addressed: (1) Do embedded quizzes facilitate learning of e-content? (2) Does the announcement of upcoming quizzes affect learning? (3) Does prior knowledge interact with quizzing and learning? Participants (n=178) were randomly assigned to condition: (1) no warning, no quiz (control), (2) no warning, quiz, and (3) warning, quiz. Users demonstrated significant learning gains. A predicted main effect for quiz warning was not supported. However, the effect of quizzes on learning was significantly moderated by the amount of prior experience. Low experience tutors learned significantly more when quizzes were embedded compared with expert tutors - a classic expertise reversal effect. A new neurocognitive interpretation for this effect is presented, as well as a call for more "stealthy" assessments that take into account novelty and the learner's zone of proximal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-171
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Media International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Cognitive load theory
  • E-learning
  • Expertise reversal effects
  • Formative assessments
  • Instructional design
  • Neurocognitive learning
  • Quizzes
  • Testing effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication


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