Fifty-five percent of dispensary staff reported some formal training for their position, with 20% reporting medical or scientific cannabis training according to the research study “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff” by publisher Mary Ann Liebert, a leading independent publisher of scientific, technical, and medical content.

A majority (94%) indicated that they provide specific cannabis advice to patients. Assessments are the primary method to assess dispensary employees and retention of knowledge in their cannabis industry training. The results can tell you if your training efforts have been successful, whether your staff learned and retained the information you set out to impart, and where further knowledge gaps lie.

An effective assessment should link back to every learning objective, reminding dispensary staff of the key takeaway messages to assist the transition from training to implementation on the job. Rather than one big final judgment, the use of an integrated assessment strategy throughout the eLearning experience.

Although many dispensary staff members are making recommendations consistent with current evidence, some are recommending cannabis that has either not been shown effective or could aggravate a patient’s condition.

Findings underscore the importance of consistent, evidence-based, training of dispensary staff who provide specific recommendations for patient medical conditions. Here are six (6) simple ways to create meaningful assessments for dispensary staff training:


1. Create An Assessment Journey

Remember that dreaded feeling of the looming end-of-year exam in grade school, where either the accumulation of your hard work or skipped classes, would finally be assessed? You don’t want to reinstate this anxiety in your dispensary employees; instead, gear them toward the assessment throughout the course with formative learning checks.

Treat them like eLearning athletes, training, and coaching them along the way to ensure they are ready for the assessments throughout their cannabis industry training. Provide regular check-ins at key learning moments and never underestimate the power of self-reflection opportunities or group discussions.


2. Don’t Scrimp On Feedback

Feedback makes the assessment meaningful. What’s the point in telling dispensary employees they’re wrong if you’re not going to then nudge them in the right direction?

Your cannabis dispensary’s time is money so if you’re expecting your staff to achieve a specific pass rate, don’t let them get stuck in an infinite retry loop.

If a dispensary staff member answers a question incorrectly, it means they don’t know the answer. Offer directional feedback after each incorrect attempt or prompt learners to review the content. Include post-assessment feedback to indicate which questions have been answered incorrectly so they don’t fly blind into their next attempt.


3. Promote Quality, Integrity, & Challenge

We’ve all completed multiple-choice assessments whereby one answer is bogus, another is still clearly wrong (but not as stupid), and the remaining two (2) are all that is left to provide an element of challenge.

It’s no wonder employees get the impression that some cannabis industry training is a box-checking exercise! The success of multiple-choice assessments depends not only on the quality of the questions you ask but also on the quality of the answer options provided.

Decoy options should still be relevant, provoking dispensary staff to think about the consequences of each choice. Avoid trick questions; remember, your goal is to train, not trap your employees.

4. Cater For All Learning Styles

There are many more assessment options available than multiple-choice. Even if you want to use multiple-choice functionality, contextual framing, and visual stimulus can be used to satisfy visual and auditory learners.

If you are training dispensary employees on new cannabis industry processes or Standard Operating Procedures (or SOPs), how about allowing them to navigate through it, answering questions at key moments?

Creating explorative dispensary workplaces or providing cannabis industry training and having dispensary staff find answers are great ways to add context to assessments and make them an inclusive experience.


5. Clarify Expectations Upfront

Imagine you’re told to go and sit in the midday sun but are not told how long for or given any sun protection. Assessments used for cannabis dispensary employees can be a heated experience; the least you can do is let people know how long they’ll need to endure it.

How many questions will be asked? What happens if they don’t pass? Clarify expectations early in their cannabis industry training to reduce anxiety.


6. Pay Attention To The Results

Use the analytics available through your Learning Management System (or LMS) to review the outcome of the assessment. Was 80 percent of your learners unsure about “Question 3,” or was the wording ambiguous?

The outcome could indicate that you need to amend a question or cover the content more thoroughly during the course.

On a side note, avoid assessments that have linked assignments if you don’t have a designated dispensary staff member with available time to review them and provide meaningful feedback.

It can be effective to carry out the assessments beyond eLearning, but only if you have the dispensary resources to follow up and do it properly.



Assessments in the context of online eLearning are used to gauge if the expected level of training has been achieved and if employees can translate what has been learned into the cannabis dispensary. This is one (1) of the core tasks involved in designing an effective learning experience and thus there can be no compromises.

However, even though you have assessments in online courses, do you still come across situations where you sense your dispensary employees did not quite reach the expected learning outcomes? Well, one of the reasons can be tied to the way you assessed your learners, which probably had some loopholes.

As a training manager in a retail cannabis establishment, you should be aware of the ways you can steer clear of loopholes within assessments. As Instructional Design (or ID) authoring tools and Learning Management Systems are getting more sophisticated day by day, so are their capabilities to improve training delivery.

While authoring tools aid in the easy development of eLearning assessments, Learning Management Systems facilitate easy tracking of these assessments and generate a wide range of training reports too. Using learning analytics through an LMS will, in fact, do a lot more; from predictions of your dispensary employees’ performance to delivering cannabis industry training according to the needs of your staff.

Let us know what you think.



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