The days of answering multiple-choice questions on a bubble sheet are long behind us. Instructional designers are coming up with new and creative assessment strategies that exhibit more than just a learner’s ability to Christmas-tree a bubble sheet.
Assessment strategies are implemented in two ways: while the learning is happening (formative) or at the end of a lesson or course (summative). In both instructor-led and online learning course, it is important to practice both formative and summative assessment strategies. As a trainer, you do not want to wait until the end of a course to find out your learners are lost.
Formative Assessment Strategies
- This is the most obvious formative assessment strategy if the course is happening in a classroom. You can tell who is paying attention and who has that deer in the headlights look, but how do you know when everyone is behind a computer? One way is data. Learning management systems often track learners as they move through the content. If a learner seems to be hanging out in one section much longer than others or if the learner seems to be quickly exiting sections, these are flags.
- Self-assessment. In either scenario, a self-assessment can be a written to answer questions about the learner’s experience through a certain point in the course. For example, after completing section one of the course, learners can write up a list of things they learned in the course and things they are still confused about. This self-reflection also helps the trainer know where learners are stuck before they move on.
- Case Studies. A case study gives learners the opportunity to apply what they have learned thus far. Case studies also give learners a real-world example, which heightens the relevance of the information they are learning.
Summative Assessment Strategies
Formative assessment strategies can be expanded to include materials from all coursework. Although, depending on how long the course is, there may be too many things to observe, assess, or study. Here are some strategies that work particularly well for summative assessments.
- Learner portfolios. Learners can gather important assignments or activities into a portfolio, which is then reviewed at the end of the course. Trainers may choose to have learners create new materials to include in the portfolio before reviewing them. Learner portfolios give trainers an idea of everything learners have accomplished through the course.
- Creating a website or blog. Learners are bored of the age-old research paper. Let them create a multimedia document such as a website or blog to show off all they have learned. The trainer should give learners a set of guidelines for what they would like to see included and score the finished product against a rubric.
- Using video or digital media. Today’s learners are very tech savvy. Let them flex their technology skills by giving them a chance to demonstrate their understanding through video or other digital media. Nearly everyone has a cellphone with video capability and a YouTube account. That is one easy way to share videos, comment on them, and engage the whole group in assessing the final product.
Use a learning management system to post your course content, engage learners, and try out these assessment strategies. Mindflash offers you the ability to do all of the above using an integrated content development software. Sign up for a free demo of Mindflash to see how it can help you engage your learners and assess their understanding.