Here’s the secret – you don’t need a fancy, customized installation in order to manage either an internal or external SharePoint training program. (By training, I mean that you need to provide content plus a quiz or other knowledge assessment tool to your users.) If you are at all familiar with SharePoint administration, the following procedures should be easy to implement.

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Using basic, out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality, you can create training that includes the following major components:

  1. Ability to create multiple choice as well as yes/no questions
  2. For the training/quiz delivery system, you can create a form using the newform.aspx page on SharePoint lists
  3. Ability to score the training results and designate either a pass or fail grade
  4. Keep track of who has taken the training, and/or completed which tests

Do you have your training materials assembled and ready? Then all you have to do is follow the four simple steps outlined below – planning your installation, setting up and configuring the lists to create a quiz, placing the quiz in SharePoint along with the necessary content, and monitoring the quiz results. This method can be used in both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

Step One – SharePoint Training Planning

First, decide how your implementation will scale. Are you administering one simple quiz to a few individuals? Or do you need to roll out a series of training modules to hundreds or thousands of users? Be sure to assess all of the content you want your users to review, and as well as estimate an accurate number of participants.

  • If you have a lot of training content and tests, consider creating a sub-site to contain it all – including images, documents, lists, libraries, videos, etc.
  • If your training is very large, you might consider a separate site collection to hold the necessary content

Step Two – List Setup and Configuration 

Next, you will create your assessment tool by means of list setup and configuration. (I take for granted that you already know how to load the training content into the sub-site or site collection, but please note, there are more tips on that process in step three below.)
In SharePoint, creating a test is as easy as creating lists and custom columns.

sharepoint training

In SharePoint, creating a test is as easy as creating lists and custom columns.

In this approach, each quiz or test will constitute its own list. For your training lists, I recommend that you create a custom content type. Simply name it “Training Content Type” and have it inherit from the existing list item content type. This will allow you to set the “Title” column to “hidden” without breaking other content throughout your environment. When you train with quizzes or tests, using this custom content type as the default will give you more flexibility for the display on the NewForm.aspx page.

sharepoint training

After you have created your site collection or sub-site, take these steps to create the custom list and thus the quiz:

    1. Click “View All Site Contents” from the site actions menu
    2. Click “Create”
    3. Select “Custom List”
    4. Give your list a name. This should be the name of the test or training you want to implement.
    5. Go to list settings
    6. Click on “Advanced Settings”
  1. Enable management of content types
  2. Add your custom content type
  3. Delete the default list item content type

Now you have created your training list. The next step is to add the questions and answers. In SharePoint, you can accomplish this by using custom columns. Lay out the custom columns in your list so that each test item is comprised of a question column and an answer column, as in the example below:

Column NameColumn TypeForm Display Status
Question 1: How many species of sharks are there?Choice (and enter answer options on separate lines)Required
Answer 1Single line of textHidden

sharepoint training

Create each question and answer in your test or quiz in this way: For the question columns, leave the default value blank (manually delete the auto-populated value). Also mark all the question columns as required. For all the answer columns, set the default value to be the correct answer. It must match the choice value you assigned in the associated question column.

If you’re configuring the lists correctly, you should see all question and answer columns.

To designate columns as hidden or visible, click on the content type link under list settings. If you’re configuring the lists correctly, you should see all question and answer columns. Clicking on them will show you additional options, including the option to have the column required, optional, or hidden. For the answer columns, choose “hidden” so they aren’t displayed when people are taking your tests.

sharepoint training

How to configure a question column in SharePoint

In order to score the test answers, you will also need to add and configure a few calculated columns. The first calculated column will determine the score based on the answer columns you created, the second will tell you how many questions people got right, and the last will tell you whether the user passed or failed the test.

First calculated column: Calculating score

SharePoint’s calculated column logic can get confusing for basic users, so in this instance, it’s usually easiest to simply copy/paste the formula and then add your question values in the necessary places.

=SUM(IF(EXACT(,A1),1,0),IF(EXACT(,A2),1,0),IF(EXACT(,A3),1,0),IF(EXACT(,A4),1,0)) and so on and so forth for as many questions as your training contains.

Before each comma (,Answer1) you’ll enter the exact text for the correct answer. SharePoint makes this a little bit easier because you’ll see the question columns available in the right panel of the formula editor. It doesn’t add the column name exactly where you want most of the time, but it’s still faster than typing it all out for each question.

Second calculated column: Calculating final score

The calculated column for the final score basically just gives you the number correct out of the total number of questions. The formula is very simple:

=CONCATENATE(Score,”/enter total number of questions here”)

The above formula takes the score from the first calculated column and displays it as the number correct out of the total number. Simple. Just swap the placeholder text in the above formula with your number.

Third calculated column: Calculating outcome of user test

In most situations, this outcome will be Pass or Fail. You’ll also use this calculated column to set the bar for a passing score:

=IF(Score>enter passing number here,”PASS”,”FAIL”)

In the above formula, say you had 10 questions in your quiz. If a seven or higher was considered a passing score, then you would enter a six. If the score does not meet the requirements, then the outcome will be a failed test. Again, very simple.

Congratulations! You have finished creating the quiz. Remember to make sure all the answer columns are hidden and all the question columns are required. The calculated columns can remain optional without affecting the actual test administration or display.

Step Three – Placing the Quiz in SharePoint

The best user experience is to create a content page with additional training resources and then embed the quiz there.

Now that you have created your list – your SharePoint training quiz – the next step is deciding how to display it. In other words, where and how should people take the test? The best user experience is to create a content page with additional training resources and then embed the quiz there. That way, your SharePoint training experience is contained in one location and your user doesn’t have to click on a separate page to take the quiz.

Here’s how to make the process work in SharePoint. Start by creating a div with a button that launches the NewForm.aspx page in a modal window. You’ll also need the following script to open the form and display a message once the test has been completed.

SharePoint trainingSwap out the values above with what makes the most sense for your quiz or training course. If you’re wondering where to find the URL for the newform.aspx page on your list, navigate to that list. Look in the browser bar and you should see a URL with AllItems.aspx at the end. Copy that URL and swap in NewForm.aspx in place of All Items.

If you just drop this code inside of a content editor web part, SharePoint will likely strip it out. Instead, add the code to an HTML file and save it inside SharePoint. Then you can just reference it inside the CEWP instead.

Step 4 – Monitor the Results

Now your lists are configured, and your content pages offer users convenient access to your training materials and quizzes. The last step is monitoring your SharePoint training activity.

Again, this is simple. First, configure a list view on the training list. Call the view something like “Admin View” and have the Created By, Created, Final Score, and Result columns displayed. If you want to see progress over multiple attempts, you can group the view by Created By. This gives you a breakdown by user and shows you the result of each attempt. If you’re looking for an overview on learning curve, this view will allow you to see how quickly they learn from their mistakes and how well the user is paying attention to the training you’re administering.

That’s it. You now have a way to create quizzes and deliver them to your users with nothing but basic SharePoint functionality. For troubleshooting and other final tips, read on.

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Other Concerns

In creating and configuring these lists and crafting pages to hold the training, you might encounter the following issues.

Your Questions are Too Long and Don’t Wrap: If your list has lengthy questions, the NewForm.aspx page will likely look bad when launched in a modal or accessed through the normal list view. Here’s the problem – to that form view, SharePoint adds code that calls for no line breaks. If you press F12 and highlight the question field with your browser’s developer tools, you’ll see one of any number of attributes calling for no wrap. You may see , nowrap=true or whitespace=nowrap.

To fix this, use SharePoint Designer.

  1. Open the site in SharePoint Designer (a free download, if you don’t already have it)
  2. Navigate to the list you created for your training course
  3. You should see the various form pages, including NewForm.aspx. Click on it.
  4. SharePoint Designer will open the page, which will be locked (code highlighted in yellow)
  5. In the ribbon, click the button for “Advanced Mode”
  6. In the code for the page, find <asp:Content ContentPlaceHolderId=”PlaceHolderMain” runat=”server”>
  7. On the next line, add a reference to a custom CSS class <div class=”training-list”>
  8. Then, find the closing </SharePoint:UIVersionedContent> and add the closing tag

This sets up your form for word-wrapping, but you still need to add the actual CSS to make it happen. In SharePoint Designer, or in your source-controlled style sheet, add the following CSS:

SharePoint trainingYou’ll want to add this to the CSS file you use to override SharePoint standard CSS. After it’s added, refresh your modal frame and you should see the reformatted display style. You can always edit the width attribute above to change your modal form to fit your space.

You Want to Add Multimedia to the Pages: Most of the time, people have a variety of training resources. Here’s how you could use the native functionality to add all kinds of content to your test pages:

  • Adding a video? Copy the embed code into a Content Editor Web Part (works for YouTube, Vimeo, etc)
  • Have a .SWF file you want to display? Add the file extension to SharePoint’s MIME types in Central Administration and then reference the file in a Page Viewer Web Part.
  • Have documents you want users to read? Use a library view on the page with content categorized for that test (add a category column if needed)

You Want to Create a SharePoint Training Schedule: Whether you’re using your training for onboarding new employees or introducing new features, you may need to put your SharePoint training on a schedule. The simplest approach is to create a calendar and add the training schedule that way, with links to the training courses in the description field.

If you’re using SharePoint 2013, you can even create a training hashtag for each course, then users can reference that hashtag in the 2013 newsfeed. You can also modify the calendar list to designate course instructors and number of attendees. You can even integrate your SharePoint training schedule with your Outlook calendar and Lync if desired.

If you go this route, you may also want to color-code your calendar.

List and Column Limits in SharePoint: Depending on your needs – as well as the clarity of your test questions – you may run into issues with SharePoint limits. A good reference for supported limits can be found using Microsoft’s Technet resources for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

Related: Four Easy Steps to Customized Color Code Calendars in SharePoint

From a high level, here’s what you’ll likely need to know:

SharePoint Training 2010

• You can have a maximum of 276 single line of text columns in one list
• You can have a maximum of 276 choice columns
• You can have a maximum of 48 calculated columns
• You can have a maximum of 30 million list items per list (varies depending on number of columns and usage)
• You can query no more than 5000 list items in a single list view

SharePoint Training 2013

• You can have a maximum of 276 single line of text columns in one list
• You can have a maximum of 276 choice columns
• You can have a maximum of 48 calculated columns
• You can have a maximum of 30 million list items per list (varies depending on number of columns and usage)
• You can query no more than 5000 list items in a single list view

These steps and resources should set you well on your way to creating training courses using basic SharePoint features.

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Comments

  • Suresh

    Suresh

    4 years
    Reply
    Awesome tutorial. This is what i'm searching so long...
  • Chris

    Chris

    4 years
    Reply
    Hey, In general this is a very nice explanation, but you should clean it up. The link of the settings pictures are linked wrong. Title and content doesnt fit in most cases.Probably happend due to the file naming SP1..6 instead of givig them real names. Also its unhandy that you put code as picture. No Copy Paste available. I will try to use the to implement the quiz. So far I couldnt find the option to hide the answers. Its also not shown on your pictures. 宜しくお願いします。
  • MIchelle

    MIchelle

    4 years
    Reply
    This is wonderful! Just tested it and it works brilliantly!
  • Vinay

    Vinay

    4 years
    Reply
    Thanks a ton for detailed story, It really helps.
  • A. D. Sanchez

    A. D. Sanchez

    3 years
    Reply
    This is really detailed and great. unfortunately, I just entered 11 questions and answers without fully realizing that this is designed to give a final score but not a per question revelation about the correct answer. I'm quizzing as a teaching tool not as a rating system. Any thoughts on how to reveal the correct answer to users at the moment they answer the question, or as a report with details after they take the quiz?
  • Oumar

    Oumar

    3 years
    Reply
    Thank you for this man. Do you have a video of this. It will very helpful if you have a YouTube video!
    • Joe Preiner

      3 years
      Hello Oumar, I don't have a video for this one. It's also possible that office 365 forms will be able to handle this functionality more natively in the near future. I'd assume there are some better options now than from when I originally posted this method. If I find any good ones I'll post you a link.
  • Neduntakai

    Neduntakai

    3 years
    Reply
    Hi, What is the purpose of answer columns? without answer columns we can calculate the scores right? For example: =SUM((IF([Does your employer uses SharePoint?]="Yes",1,0)),(IF([For which of the following would SharePoint be useful?]="Business collaborative Tool ",1,0)),(IF([SharePoint stores documents in:]="Document libraries",1,0)),(IF([What is SharePoint?]="A web-based file and information sharing platform",1,0)),(IF([Who Makes SharePoint?]="MicroSoft",1,0)))
  • Kylota Stewart

    Kylota Stewart

    3 years
    Reply
    Thank you so much for this tutorial! It was very helpful, and easy to follow! I do not have access to SharePoint Designer, and my admin has made it so that I am unable to add scripts to my page. I did find another work-around for this, however, that I wanted to share: If you are having trouble with the text wrapping, go into your newform.aspx page, and click 'Edit Page' in the top right. Then, click on the drop down arrow within the Webpart and click 'Edit Webpart'. From there, click to expand 'Miscellaneous', and go to field 'Form Template Name'. It should by default say 'ListForm'. Change this to say 'SurveyForm', and click 'Apply'. Then click 'OK'. You will not see the change applied until after you hit either 'OK' or 'Stop Editing', depending on your system.
  • Jas

    Jas

    2 years
    Reply
    Hi, thanks for this - it's been super useful! Is there a way for each user to complete the quiz without seeing everyone else's completed quiz?