How To Create Meaningful eLearning Assessments
Your eLearning assessments are the oracle of your eLearning course. The results can tell you if your training efforts have been successful, whether your audience learned and retained the information you set out to impart, and where further knowledge gaps lie. An effective assessment should link back to each and every learning objective, reminding learners of the key takeaway messages while assisting the transition from training to implementation on the job.
Rather than one big final judgment, PulseLearning promotes the use of an integrated assessment strategy throughout the eLearning experience. Here are 6 simple ways to create meaningful eLearning assessments.
- Create an assessment journey.
Remember that dreaded feeling of the looming end-of-year exam, where either the accumulation of your hard work, or skipped classes, would finally be laid bare? You don’t want to reinstate this anxiety in your learners; 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 main summative event. Provide regular check-ins at key learning moments and never underestimate the power of self-reflection opportunities.
- Don’t scrimp on feedback.
Feedback makes the assessment. What’s the point in telling learners they’re wrong if you’re not going to then nudge them in the right direction? Your organization’s time is money so if you’re expecting your learners to achieve a specific pass rate, don’t let them get stuck in an infinite retry loop. If a learner 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 a post-assessment feedback screen to clearly indicate which questions have been answered incorrectly so they don’t fly blind into their next attempt.
- Promote quality, integrity, and challenge.
We’ve all completed multiple-choice assessments whereby one answer is screamingly, obviously wrong, another is still clearly wrong (but not as stupid), and the remaining two are all that are left to provide any element of challenge. It’s no wonder employees get the impression that some corporate 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 the quality of the answer options provided. Decoy options should still be relevant, provoking learners to think about the consequences of each choice. Avoid trick questions; remember, your goal is to train, not trap your employees.
- Cater for all learning styles.
There are many more assessment options 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 employees on a new process or document, how about allowing learners to navigate through it, answering questions at key moments? Creating explorative environments or providing content and having learners find answers are great ways to add context to assessments and make your assessment an inclusive experience.
- Clarify expectations upfront.
Imagine you’re told to go and sit in the midday sun but aren’t told how long for or given any sun protection. Assessment for some is a heated experience; the least you can do is let people know how long they’ll need to endure it for. How many questions will be asked? What happens if they don’t pass? Clarify expectations early in the course to reduce anxiety.
- Pay attention to the results.
Use the analytics available through your Learning Management System to review the outcome of the assessment. Were 80 percent of your learners really 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 person with available time to review them and provide meaningful feedback. It can be effective to carry the assessment beyond eLearning, but only if you have the resources to follow up and do it properly.