How Assessments Can Enhance Your Channel Partner Training Program

5th June 2024

online exam, choose correct answer in test

Table of Contents

Having a bespoke training program in place is essential for channel businesses that want to reach their full potential. But how do you ensure that learners are engaged and taking the information on board? 

The effective use of assessments is one of the best strategies you can employ to maximise the ROI of your training program. From maximising learner engagement and tracking knowledge to increasing retention rates and the impact on revenue, there are a wealth of benefits to including assessments in your training program. However, they must be used strategically.

How Assessments Benefit Channel Partner Training

An online training program is one of the best methods for channel businesses to train their partners. Evaluating skills, competence and job performance is essential for any workplace, and channel businesses are no different. Assessments throughout the training program are vital to quantify whether learners have absorbed the lessons. They provide insights that benefit both learners and businesses.

The benefits to a channel partner program are measurements of knowledge retention, insight into the performance of the training itself, ability to certify and grade learner or partner performance, and to fully engage learners, gaining buy-in to the training process.

Providing training without assessment can lead to flawed KPIs. Without a method to determine and measure knowledge retention and overall understanding, the number of completed modules or courses has little meaning.

Even without an assessment for the learner to undertake as a knowledge check, it is still essential to measure and assess the impact of the training. If, for example, the goal of your training program is to achieve higher partner sales, then a more accurate measurement of the success of the course would be sales performance, post-training.

Using Assessments to Provide Certifications

A formal certification program helps channel partners demonstrate their expertise to potential customers and provides a framework for ongoing learning and development. They are appealing because they help to establish their credibility and reputation. 

Partners receive recognition for their skills and achievements (as well as an incentive to engage with training materials), and businesses have an improved chance of retaining their partnerships because partners feel valued.

If customers have questions or concerns about products, they will be confident to direct those questions to an officially certified partner. Obtaining a certification also demonstrates to stakeholders and customers a partner’s commitment to your business and industry, and a desire to achieve a high level of professionalism.

Certification can be awarded for passing assessments, or specific certification courses can be offered as a higher-level or next-step option for those who complete the basic course. 

You can also reward those who complete certification programs with access to additional resources, such as marketing materials, incentives, promotions and MDFs, helping channel partners grow their business.

Assessing the Training Program Itself

As well as assessing learner knowledge, businesses need the ability to measure the effectiveness of the training program itself. 

When using an LMS (Learning Management System) to deliver online training, it’s important to utilise engagement, activity and performance analytics dashboards.

Using analytics allows for evaluating learning processes and outcomes, helping to identify skills gaps and optimise future training programs to address them. This data can also be used to determine the ROI of the training program, how to allocate resources moving forward and the business impact of training.

Assessment performance offers key information, but directly asking your partners can be invaluable. You can do this via digital surveys which integrate with your LMS. 

Assessments Help to Understand Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying weak points allows businesses to tailor training towards those areas, which is especially beneficial when those weaknesses could affect key targets.

By understanding your partner’s strengths, courses that play to those strengths can be assigned strategically, maximising partner potential, promoting their growth and increasing the chance of achieving business objectives. By understanding weaknesses, businesses can tailor training programs to provide more support in areas for improvement that could be detrimental to business objectives if not addressed. 

Mentoring and targeted development plans can also be used for partners’ continued development, improving their confidence and fostering loyalty. This way, the training budget is used more effectively, and fewer resources will be wasted on unnecessary areas.

Mentoring is key on an individual level, not just with partners. If a learner is struggling and is not ready to move on, additional resources and revision materials can be provided. For areas where the learner is already performing well, they can be rewarded with more advanced training materials or other incentives. 

Assessments Can Help to Align Partner Performance and Business Goals

Assessments are also an effective way to align partner performance with overarching goals. Because training program assessments provide clear measurements, businesses can use this data to enhance channel partner knowledge and ensure they are on track to succeed.  

Assessments provide opportunities to redefine and optimise partner relationships. Using the data gained from assessment results provides a basis to collaborate with partners and identify new ideas and strategies aligned with their strengths.

Feedback assessments can be useful in gauging a partner’s needs and aspirations and even sources of dissatisfaction. This information can be used to ensure long-lasting partnerships by addressing pain points and helping partners work towards their own professional goals, as well as developing initiatives that boost morale and motivation, such as incentive programs. 

Assessments Enhance Engagement

Learners are much more likely to retain information if the training program engages them. Assessments within the training program itself are a great way to facilitate this. By its very nature, taking any test requires investment, but the assessment needs to be formatted and structured in a genuinely engaging way. This can be achieved through using multimedia elements, gamification and eLearning interactivities. 

Interactive assessments provide many benefits for learners, including increased engagement, improved understanding, and enhanced retention. Assessments provide learners with immediate responses and positive encouragement that motivates them, while feedback allows them to fix any misunderstandings.

Providing real-time feedback gives learners a response to their answers before they move on to the next question. Even this simple reinforcement can provide a much more successful learning experience.

Assessments Improve Knowledge Retention

The ‘forgetting curve’ is a concept that demonstrates how quickly we can forget information after learning it without reinforcement. After 20 minutes of learning information without reinforcing it, learners only remember 58% of what they learned. After 6 days without reinforcement, only 25% is remembered. This statistic alone is a powerful argument for assessment – as knowledge learned in a training program might not always be instantly applicable, testing can provide the stimulus to reinforce the knowledge

Periodic self-assessments within a training course empower learners to check their own progress and reinforce their knowledge, while also identifying areas for improvement. Learners who undertake frequent self-checks are more likely to retain information and gain confidence. These self-assessments should be informal and without any real stakes to develop a healthy habit of evaluation, improving understanding of the module and improving retention.

Best Practices for Designing eLearning Assessments

Well-designed courses should empower your partners with real-life skills, and assessments should be used to test your partners’ capabilities, not their memories. Being able to recall facts without context is not usually indicative of job performance. Training program assessments should instead be connected to real scenarios, relevant to business objectives, to make the material more meaningful and less hypothetical.

When designing assessments within your training program, it is important to identify the reason for training and use the style of testing that best aligns with your business goals. Ask yourself what skills and knowledge your partners need to become valuable assets to your organisation, and what data will be useful to help improve and grow your partner program.

The quality of your questions is more important than the quantity of them. Irrelevant or unnecessary tests to the learner’s development will frustrate, bore or demotivate your learners. 

Formative and Summative Assessments

Both formative and summative assessments have their place in a training program. Formative assessments evaluate a learner’s progress throughout the training program, such as recaps, quizzes or tests at the end of topics or modules. They are informal and serve as checkpoints for learners, but they are also useful for tracking and monitoring, as they can be used to identify where learners are in their training journey. 

For a recertification course, a learner could be given the option to take an assessment before re-taking the training and allowed to be recertified by assessment alone, without the need to sit through the same training they already know and understand.

Suppose a learner is not as far along in their development as you would have expected at any given time. In that case, you have time to intervene and provide necessary resources, such as instructor-led training sessions or supplementary content, to bring them up to speed. Waiting until a final exam to realise learners have been struggling since the start of the course is a waste of time and resources. 

Summative assessments come at the end of the course and test the learner’s overall understanding of the subject(s), which should align with the objectives of the channel partner and overall training program. These assessments are evaluated against set criteria to determine whether the learner has reached the desired standard. 

To determine a ‘passing grade’ in a summative assessment, ask how competence can be demonstrated. For example, if product knowledge is the primary goal, then accurately recalling features and benefits might be the definition of success.

Types of Assessments to Use for Online Training

Choosing the right assessment format is key to ensuring your learner’s test results accurately indicate success. Think about what type of assessment best demonstrates whether your partners have achieved the learning objectives that were set out. Some of the assessment formats to consider are:

Quizzes and Exams 

eLearning quizzes are simple and measurable. Because of their casual nature, quizzes are often used for formative assessments, but a suitably in-depth quiz may be appropriate for a summative assessment, depending on learning objectives. More formal exams are often used for summative assessments, with more detailed questions that feature a mixture of question formats. 


These elements are especially useful for contextualising learning and applying the information to real-life scenarios, such as selling to customers or dealing with complaints. These types of interactions help learners see the value in training, and provide the invaluable experience of a ‘dry run’ without the risk of failure and potential consequences. 

Authentic Assessments 

In some situations, you may take your learners out of the virtual classroom. This is where authentic assessments come in. Authentic assessments allow learners to put their knowledge to the test in scenarios relevant to their role, such as a simulated or even real customer interaction. The experience could be filmed and uploaded for external assessment, or be diarised by the learner with an evaluation essay.

Decision-Making Scenarios 

When recalling information is not enough to assess a learner’s knowledge, decision-making scenarios can be excellent for contextualising information. These assessments can develop soft skills, understanding and derivation. Using the resources provided through the training program, learners can come to informed decisions that replicate the choices they will make in real situations.

Collaborative Assessments 

While it may not be possible to train and assess your learners collaboratively for the entirety of your training program, including collaborative elements, where possible, can significantly increase engagement and learning potential. During training, collaboration can be introduced through discussion forums and online whiteboards, and when it comes to assessments, virtual group projects can be a great alternative to traditional testing.


Using game-like elements and mechanics for assessments can make the process more exciting and feel less like traditional learning or revision. Drag-and-drop and puzzle-style assessments are good examples of gamification.

As well as the actual game-playing elements, gamifying a training program can include the same rewards system that games use, such as points, badges and leaderboards. These can provide individual motivation and healthy competition among learners, which can help boost completion rates.

Different Question Formats

Using a combination of different question formats will keep learning fresh and prevent the experience from becoming too repetitive. Some common question formats are: 


Free-response questions can be short answers, essay questions or anything in between. With these types of questions, learners are given no clues in the form of multiple answers and must draw on the knowledge they have gained from their learning course, eliminating guesswork. The difficulty with free-response questions is that they require human input for evaluation, as systems can’t accurately determine the validity of an answer. 

Multiple Choice

These are the most common format for eLearning quiz questions, partially because they are easy for systems to grade without human input. The challenge with designing multiple choice questions is making the incorrect answers realistic so that the correct answer can only be determined by using information from the training course, rather than just common sense. 

Multiple-response questions can also be useful for increasing the level of multiple-choice tests, where learners can pick all appropriate answers, as this requires more discernment.


Very similar to multiple choice questions, true or false questions have users picking one of just two responses. True or false style questions can be used to present slightly more nuanced hypotheticals or even opinions, which can be useful in some scenarios.

Matching Questions 

These questions feature statements and responses that need to be matched up by the learner. These are also similar to multiple choice, but each statement does have a matching response, so there is no incorrect information, only potentially incorrect combinations. 


Common among language-learning programs, fill-in-the-blank questions require the user to complete sentences or paragraphs by filling in the missing words. These questions are especially useful when a specific word, statistic or figure is important to remember.

The Importance of Feedback

One of the most valuable benefits of assessments is the ability to reinforce learning by providing corrective feedback, turning potential ‘failure’ into just another step in the learning process (which eventually turns your learners into invaluable channel partners).

Feedback on assessments must be constructive and specific, providing guidance and support on how performance can be improved. A score or a simple pass/fail without feedback is of little benefit to the learner and won’t result in a better performance next time 

Providing feedback gives your learners a second chance to do better and still become valuable assets, while also giving a chance for further improvement and higher performance for those that pass.

Deliver Feedback in the Right Way

Feedback should also be supportive. You want your partners to succeed, so make sure to demonstrate this – a failed assessment is not cause for reprimand. As well as walking learners through their areas for improvement, feedback is an opportunity for motivation, so don’t neglect to inform learners what they did well.

Sometimes, learners may repeatedly make the same mistakes within an eLearning course, even with constructive feedback. If this is the case, consider how the lesson can be delivered differently. This may mean adding additional training modules, providing one-to-one support or delivering training in another format.

Provide Feedback Swiftly and Regularly

Feedback also needs to be delivered at the right time. It should be given as soon as possible after the assessment so learners have as much time as possible to work on their mistakes and gain confidence in the areas in which they have performed well.

Evaluations should be completed before learners finish their training session, to help reinforce the information learned and aid with retention. Corrective feedback should be given throughout the course and as soon as possible after assessment. Positive reinforcement can help to motivate learners, improve performance, boost confidence and keep them engaged. 

Choosing the Right LMS for Your Training Program Assessments

Many LMSs on the market have the functionality to include assessments, but they may not feature different assessment formats or the capability to report meaningful data from the results other than simple pass and fail rates. In addition to assessment and certification capabilities, our bespoke channel partner LMS will provide you with the necessary data to adjust your training programs and plug those all-important skill gaps to ensure business objectives are met.

Our LMS also features unique translation tools, which help to provide training and assessment for all your partners, no matter where they are based, and providing 24/7 access to your online resources means that partners can fit training around their own schedule, increasing motivation and completion rates. Choosing an LMS with this capability removes barriers which could prevent capable partners from completing training and becoming valuable extensions of your business.

If you are ready to leverage the power of assessments in your online training, please get in touch.


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