Assessment planning is the key to developing meaningful eLearning courses. The need for an eLearning course is defined by the gap in performance or the need for measurement of the learning progress. Without assessments, both learners and mentors might as well pretend they are reading a monotonous story with a “tapered off” ending!
How do we gauge learning? How do we predict readiness for a performance activity?
Think about your course learning objectives. Make sure they are aligned with your organizations learning needs.
Converting learning objectives into assessments
Once you have your learning objectives aligned, it’s time to convert them into assessments. That’s right! One of the basic mistakes most course designers make is creating test items that do not pair well with learning objectives and related reinforcement activities.
How can you avoid this pitfall? Read some tips we have for you in this article.
Planning Assessments – tips
Connect the Course to the Real-World:
Every student has a unique real-life experience. The more you learn about your learners, the more you can create activities based on their real-world context.
For example, if your students have families, you can create assessments with case studies based on family related storylines. Or if you have students working in a factory, you can create an interactive scenario with a factory setting as a backdrop with factory overall-clad characters.
Create questions that force students to apply lessons from the material to real-life scenarios. This enables students to synthesize new knowledge by using past experiences and new knowledge.
Jumble up the Questions:
Mixing questions helps keep the assessment list new. This will also help minimize cheating. Reorder questions for each student so that they won’t share the same question at any given time.
Grading is automated, so no need for extra grading time. Give each student a separate short essay writing test. This will give you an idea of their caliber and writing style. You will be able to make out a pattern of cheating, if one arises in the objective assessments.
True/False is not very effective:
True/false questions can become guess questions. You can use them briefly in between topics, to review materials. For knowledge gauging, use other options.
Drill and Practice Main Ideas:
If one topic can be broken down into several parts, you can conclude each part with a short quiz. Completing these quizzes will provide the much needed motivation and confidence to complete the course.
Make sure you provide detailed feedback to each question, complete with links to the relevant review pages. Without feedback, there would be no drill and practice. Consider creating quizzes that require learners to label an image or recall a concept through applying it to a different scenario.
Talk about new material:
A great idea is to start a new topic with four or five interesting test items. This builds excitement in the upcoming material. This is a tried and tested technique that encourages deeper focus and insight into the learning material.
It also warns them that there is a subject coming up that needs their close attention. It would be even better if you display the quiz again towards the end of the quiz.
Build the suspense:
Beware of the boredom on the horizon of long, monotonous lessons.
Introduce new material through tests and vignettes complete with characters. Learners can “help” lost characters find their way back or solve a puzzle using concepts learned in earlier chapters. Use a variety of test materials – multiple choices, labeling, ordering – to keep things interesting.
No matter what kind of courses you have – educational or training related, you will need to embed assessment items periodically. This not only enables learners to measure their progress, but also helps them identify their milestones.
Effective assessments satisfy learners as well as training managers. They provide confidence in the new learning, ultimately leading to excellence in performance.
Originally published on: 02 Jun 2015