One of the main selling points of virtual learning is that it makes learning exciting and engaging. This means, that every learner utilizes the course effectively and makes the most of it. The assessments in virtual courses, which make it so interesting, are what decide if the course is working or is a failure.
With modern technology and better learning management systems, including software like Absorb LMS, creating assessments and evaluating them has become an easy task. But have you thought about whether or not your assessments are doing their job well? Are these tests created by you, valid? They are supposed to evaluate how well your learners have understood and retained the topic and not about how difficult answering it can be.
Check out these points below that can be applied when creating assessments for your online course to make sure they are effective:
1. Align your content constructively
The aim of an assessment is for your learners to meet the learning objectives. The tutor prepares content and presents them according to what they feel will bring the desired learning outcome. At the same time, the learners pick up parts of the content that they think can be assessed.
With the constructive alignment of your coursework, you will ensure that this gap does not arise and that all three components – the trainer’s course, the learner’s takeaways, and the assessment, are all aiming at the learning objectives.
2. Use both formative and summative assessments
Formative assessments are taken during the course of learning. With each new objective met or once a new module is completed, you take an assessment to aid learning and reinforce what was learned during the module. It can be taken in many forms, from quizzes to multiple choice questions, presentations, and projects. This should always be followed by feedback for both right and wrong answers so that the learner can evaluate their progress.
Upon the completion of a course, you take a summative assessment to see if the learning objectives have been met, and this shall be a graded test. Keep in mind to prepare this in alignment with the learning objectives.
Those who will be taking the assessments must understand how they work and how they can be accessed. The deadlines and functions should be clear to them from the beginning because you do not want to strain them. Allow a fair amount of time for learners to complete the assessment, so that even if something unexpected occupies their time or they fall sick, they will still have plenty of time to complete it.
If you are introducing a new method of assessment, you can consider a trial run with the learners to familiarize them with it and to ease the adoption process, in case they face any issues.
4. Use different types of questions
Break the monotony and let your learners think on different lines. Here are some ideas for you to try:
- ‘Do you know’ – These questions stimulate your learners to think deeply about the topic in question and look at it from newer angles
- ‘Can you recall’ – You will be able to reinforce topics and lessons through these questions so your learners can retrieve information.
- ‘Pre-test’ – This can be used to control navigation so that a learner’s answer leads them to the appropriate training section.
5. Take performance-based assessments
An assessment’s purpose is to determine if the learning objectives have been achieved. The learning objectives must be performance-based and appropriately phrased with action verbs for this approach to be successful. Ultimately, you want the outcome to bring effect to your organization or in their practice. For this to happen, it is better to assess your learners on time and product-oriented performances. But make sure to state in clear terms what you are looking for. Mention what tools can be used, what resources are available, and what is expected in performance for the skill being evaluated. Also, as mentioned above in the article, this too shall strictly align with the learning objectives.
An essential component of eLearning evaluations is a certificate of course completion. It will encourage more people to enroll in the course as they see their peers with achievement and also acknowledge the efforts of those who have passed all assessments and learned a new skill.
Bear in mind these few tips that can help you create an effective online assessment, which evaluates the real learning of your learners.