Why Confidence-Based Learning Improves Performance Blog Feature

Why Confidence-Based Learning Improves Performance

Ever notice that your learners can ace a single test, but their overall performance hasn’t improved? 

Unfortunately, sometimes tests reward learners for guessing rather than content knowledge. 

Confidence-based learning combats this problem by adding another metriclearner confidence. With this metric, you will see not only who got the right answer, but also who guessed the right answer. 

What is confidence-based learning?

Confidence-based learning methods assess learners on the correctness of their knowledge, as well as how confident they feel about their answers. Basically, learners take the same multiple-choice test, but they also mark how confident they feel about the correctness of their responses. This technique gives you data on where learners might be getting credit for guessing. 

This methodology moves beyond re-writing traditional assessments to include these key sections:

  • Diagnose - Learners take a diagnostic exam to show any knowledge gaps, as well as any areas of low confidence. 
  • Prescribe - With this data, the program creates a personalized learning plan to overcome any gaps and raise confidence levels.
  • Learn - This section focuses on learners practicing until they feel confident in all content areas.  
  • Iterative - Unlike traditional courses, learners repeat this cycle until they’ve mastered the content.
You may be wondering if these cycles will waste time. The opposite happensconfidence-based learning reduces the time to competency because learners actually increase their efficiency and productivity.

How does confidence-based learning improve performance? 

Learners often feel like getting the right answer is enough. Even if they got 50%, they still passed, right?

But barely passing won’t improve performance. 

According to Dr. James E. Bruno’s work, there is a clear connection between learner confidence and learner performance as illustrated in this infographic explaining his theory of four knowledge quadrants. 


What can businesses take away from this research? 

You can only improve performance through masteryknowledge that the learner is confident about and is correct. Any other learner category, even doubtful learners with passing grades, will either hesitate or make mistakes when it comes time to perform. 

The Misinformed quadrant is what we refer to as the “danger zone”. Not only are they error-prone, but they believe they’re making the right decision. Your business loses productivity because someone down the line needs to fix the error or, even worse, they damage product or client relationships. 

You’re not alone if you're wondering, but won’t misinformed learners realize they’re making a mistake? 

They might realize their errors if they work in professions like coding where their work won’t run if done incorrectly, but not before they’ve at least lost some efficiency. However, other professions, like sales, might not even realize they’re making errors because they have limited metrics to measure a complex process. Why did they lose the sale? Poor training or poor luck?

Confidence-based learning solves this problem by aiming for mastery. Instead of allowing learners to finish potentially misinformed with a 70%, they work at their own pace until they fill in all the knowledge gaps. 

How can measuring learner confidence add value to your business? 

Most training programs aim to weed out misinformed learners by pointing out their errors and giving them feedback. 

What if your learner doesn’t make mistakes, but has low confidence? 

Traditional training programs can’t help doubtful learners because they aren’t measuring learner confidence. How can a multiple-choice assessment tell if your learner felt they’d mastered the content or stared at the screen for ten minutes paralysed with doubt? It can’t. 

Doubtful learners are also harmful to your business because their hesitations can lose you opportunities. Or, even worse, research shows they might not act at all.

If you use high-level data from your LMS measuring learner confidence, you can find your doubtful learners. Then, you can either give them more training or other performance supports to build their confidence. They’ll become masters making smart decisions, but only if they get the right training. 

How can you implement confidence-based learning? 

Most instructors and organizations start by adding a confidence metric to their multiple choice quizzes. Assessments using this methodology add value by overcoming the limitations of a multiple-choice test without expending the staff resources to mark an essay or deliver a face-to-face assessment

However, the greatest benefits of confidence-based learning come when learning programs disconnect learner proficiency from a final exam all together. Learners need to go through multiple cycles of diagnostics, personalized learning plans, and study sessions to reach mastery. For instructors, it’s a daunting method to implement because of the need to track learners at each stage. 

Fortunately, BenchPrep’s Engage program can do it for you. With BenchPrep Engage, your learners will receive daily microlearning questions directly on their mobile device . You just create the practice questions, then BenchPrep Engage takes care of the personalized learning plan and pushes the appropriate practice questions for your learners . 

To learn more about how confidence based learning diminishes the forgetting curve, download our newest e-book, Dreaming of Recurring Revenue? Engage Learners Continuously. 

Download Now