Importance of Assessments in online training program and different types of assessments

In this blog, let us understand about importance of assessments and the different types of assessments that can be implemented in an eLearning program.

Assessments is a key component to measure the effectiveness of an eLearning course and the competence of the learner. eLearning assessments is all about quality learning over quantity. The assessments activity is not a mere observation of whether the training requirements are met or not, but it also helps gauge the depth of the learner’s knowledge, understanding and progress.

In a nutshell, eLearning assessments evaluate the learner’s skills and knowledge in measurable terms through the online mode of training.

Importance of eLearning Assessments

Assessments in the online course aid self-evaluation and help learners identify their areas of skill-gap, understanding, and work on improving their domain knowledge. Designing effective assessments can bring positive improvement in their skills, performance and, also helps them achieve the desired output and increase productivity.

Types of Assessments

Using different types of assessments is a great way to track learner’s performance. eLearning assessments can be categorized into two types: Formative Assessments and Summative Assessments. Let us learn about them in detail.

1. Formative Assessments
Formative assessments appear during the eLearning course to check the status of the learning. After completion of each learning point or topic, formative assessment questions are displayed. In formative assessments, immediate feedback is provided to help them solidify their knowledge about the concepts of the course.

The primary purpose of formative assessments is to identify areas that may need improvement, and pinpoint their strengths during the eLearning course. Also, it gives enough time to improve and acquire the necessary information and skill set before the learner completes the course.

In formative assessments, various question formats are used to test the knowledge and to track the learners’ performance such as, ‘drag and drop’, ‘true/false’, ‘fill in the blanks’, ‘multiple choice questions (MCQs)’ and ‘matching.

  • Drag and Drop Assessment: This type of assessment includes dragging an element (words, images or symbols) from one position and dropping it on another appropriate position.
  • True/False: This format consists of a statement that requires either true or false response. This format can also be presented in other variations such as ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, ‘Agree’ or ‘Disagree’, ‘Correct’ or ‘Incorrect’.
  • Fill in the Blanks: In this assessment type, an incomplete statement is given and the learner needs to complete it by filling the missing word or phrase.
  • Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s): This is probably the most common question type used in assessments, and is the most effective way to test the learner’s performance. In this format, a question is given along with multiple options, in which one is the right option and others are just ‘distractors’. The learner needs to choose the correct option.
  • Matching the pair: In this format, two adjacent lists of elements (words, pictures, or phrases) are given in which the first list will pair with the element in the second list. This sort of interactive question format helps to check the learner’s understanding of particular concept, topics, definitions etc.
  • Other Formats: Apart from the assessment types discussed above, there are other assessment types such as Scenario-based or Simulation-based questions.

Benefits of Formative Assessment Type

  • Helps in identifying learning gaps
  • Develops critical thinking and self-awareness
  • Creates a safer environment to make mistakes, correct them and learn
  • Provides immediate feedback with explanation to reinforce learning
  • Guides most value-add activities, and makes them focus on the points of need
  • Makes learners clear, perfect and confident about the course by the time all the topics are completed.

2. Summative Assessments
Summative Assessments appear at the end of an eLearning course and measures learning at the end. Summative Assessments usually use MCQ’s type of questions. Here, the feedback is not provided after every question, instead the final grade is given to the learners.

It is the concluding and most important step as it helps determine whether the learning objectives are achieved and the learner has reached the desired level of proficiency.

Role of distractors in assessments
The purpose of assessments is to determine a learner’s mastery of the learning objectives and to find whether the learning experience is successful or not. This can be effectively done by using distractors in various formats of assessments.

Distractors are incorrect options provided along with the correct answer to check how well the learner has understood the concept and how better they can discriminate between correct and incorrect choices. Effective and plausible distractors play an important role in getting measurable data. Distractors should be functional, clear, consistent, and standardized that create confusion, so that learners put their efforts to think about the correct option.

How to frame meaningful eLearning assessments?
Creating meaningful assessment is a powerful way to achieve learning outcomes and to assure successful course completion. Here are a few tips that help create meaningful assessment activities for your course.

  • Frame assessments that test learners on performance-based learning objectives. It is an essential pre-requisite for learner’s satisfaction and achievement. So, link your assessment with the course objectives.
  • Use quiz techniques at the beginning of the course to assess pre-existing knowledge of the learners to better engage them in the course.
  • Create questions with interrelated topics to introduce your concept that reflect and support each other.
  • Assessment questions should include specific verbs suggested for each learning level. To accomplish this, use Bloom’s taxonomy to determine the cognitive level of desired outcome and then choose action verbs that measure the outcome at that level.
  • Use appropriate formats such as drag and drop, match the following, fill in the blanks etc., for formative assessments and single select MCQ’s for summative assessments.
  • Make sure that assessments help learners develop a sense of confidence, which in turn encourages them to stay engaged and complete the course successfully.
  • Assessments should not be about what learners know, in fact it should be about what they can be able to do after taking the course. So, always plan to test evaluation and not memorization.
  • At the end of the course, final assessment should cover all the learning outcomes included in the course, to track the overall learning performance.

eLearning assessments is a great way to measure the effectiveness of online training program and also adds a lot of value and insights to the course.

Effective assessments give you the ability to continually improve eLearning course design and the overall learner experience.

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