Many associations are creating eLearning content for members that are spread over a wide geographical area, and who are increasingly "on the go", voluntarily accessing learning when they can, where they can, outside of working hours. As learners will most likely be accessing eLearning content on their own time, it is important to ensure that they have the ability to assess their achievement of learning objectives and receive feedback in real time. How can you use your association LMS to provide eLearning assessment that is supportive of the learning process and engaging for learners?
What Type of Assessment to Choose?
Assessments can take many forms in an LMS, such as pre-and post-learning surveys, short quizzes, or detailed examinations. Question types can include multiple choice, true and false, list selection and others. It is just as important to consider the most appropriate forms of assessment and feedback for your learners, as it is to select the right media when creating eLearning content. The first step in creating eLearning content is to define what learning objectives and outcomes you wish the learner to have achieved on completion, and this is also important for selecting how you will assess whether learners have achieved the specified objectives.
Another consideration should be the type of media you use in your eLearning content and assessment questions. We recently discussed how to increase learner engagement with eLearning assessment by introducing dynamic and interactive media such as video or maps to your assessment questions. When choosing to incorporate media into assessment questions, however, it is also important to ask whether the use of media is appropriate for the question type and the learning objective being assessed. The use of media should enhance the learner experience, but should also contribute in a meaningful way to the learning process.
The format of your eLearning course will, to a large extent, help you to determine which types of assessment are most suitable for your content. Depending on how you choose to structure your content, you may wish to include some or all of these assessment types:
This type of assessment takes place before learning begins and helps to establish a learner's baseline knowledge of a subject prior to completing the course. This assessment might take the form of a pre-learning survey, which could include multiple choice questions with either single-select or multiple-select options, a true/false question type (known as Boolean), or open-ended text questions, that allow the student to write in their own answer without any prompts. Below is an example of each of these question types from TopClass LMS.
This type of assessment helps to determine a learner's knowledge and skills, including learning gaps as they progress through an elearning course. This assessment might take the form of a quiz or short exercise at the end of a particular unit or module within the course. As this type of assessment takes place during the learning process, it does not require the instructor to provide a mark or grade for the learner's achievement. Instructors may decide whether to provide a simple pass/fail, or more detailed feedback. In order to track a learner's progress through a course, you may wish to include several formative assessments, and incorporate the provision of feedback to the learner after each assessment, which we will discuss in more detail below.To assess the learner's understanding of a topic, you might wish to avoid multiple choice question types, which can lead to the learner using deductive reasoning if they are unsure of the answer. For this type of assessment you could instead include a list matching question, where students pair items in one list to items in a second list. This can be displayed with either drop-down question or drag-and-drop question formats, and incorporate auto-feedback for correct and incorrect answers. You may also wish to allow the student to return to previous questions during the quiz, or allow them to revisit the content and retake the quiz at a later time in order to try to achieve a better result. Alternatively, to get a deeper insight into the learner's understanding of the topic, you may ask them to write a short essay and upload their work. To ensure the uploaded file is the original work of the student, you may wish to include an acknowledgement or verification question, such as in the example shown below from TopClass LMS, where the student ticks the box to verify this is their work. For additional examples of formative assessment types, read this eLearning Industry article.
This type of assessment takes place at the end of the eLearning course to determine the level of understanding the student has achieved. This type of assessment is associated with a mark or grade, which denotes the level of achievement of the learner against a defined standard. As this type of assessment will test the learner's understanding of all the learning objectives and content associated with the eLearning course, it can take the form of an examination, incorporating several different question types. Other types of summative assessment might include an online presentation or group project, which enable the learner to engage in social and collaborative learning with their peers. This could be supported by the LMS through the use of social learning tools and discussion groups. For examples of summative assessment types, read this eLearning Industry article.
Providing Feedback to Learners Improves Engagement
Regardless of the type of eLearning assessment chosen for your course, providing several opportunities for the learner to receive feedback during completion of the course will help to keep learners engaged and interested in completing their learning. Providing multiple opportunities for feedback in different formats throughout a course is especially important as we see the growth in learners accessing eLearning content on mobiles, which means learning is increasingly completed in a number of short bursts, rather than in one continuous, focused session.
Christopher Pappas notes how "important it is to give feedback in eLearning; how it helps our audience learn from their mistakes and succeed in retaining the information we offer them." In his article, Pappas highlights several ways to provide constructive feedback in eLearning, which can be easily implemented with a good LMS.
Feedback can be provided to learners either after manual correction by an instructor, or in real-time on completion of an assessment by displaying the results of an auto-correction on screen in the LMS. This on-screen feedback can simply identify whether the learner's answer was correct or incorrect. It can also support formative assessment by providing the reason why the answer was correct, and in the case of an incorrect answer, explaining the reasoning for the correct answer. This type of formative feedback helps to reinforce learning during the assessment process, and can be enabled in a good association LMS, such as TopClass LMS, when creating assessments for eLearning content.
Feedback can also be provided less formally in real time from instructors and the learner's peers through discussion groups linked to the course. This may be formally or informally incorporated into the course, but it will offer another opportunity for the learner to engage with the association community, and to learn from the experience and perspectives of others, enriching the overall learning experience.
If you would like some tips on designing eLearning assessment and feedback to improve learner engagement with your content, why not request a demo of TopClass LMS?