This blog post is provided by guest blogger, Carol Sheetz, graduate student in the online Master of Science degree program in Training and Development at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.
Effective assessment reveals an online learner’s progress and understanding as well as the transferability of skills and knowledge on their way to content mastery (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015, p. 230). A learner gaining knowledge that is retained and used
in the future is critical. Some assessment practices that might be helpful include assessing learner knowledge at the beginning and end of a course, focusing on goals and objectives, using open-ended questions, allowing scenarios and simulations that correspond to real world situations, being consistent with grading, and formulating clear and concise questions (Pappas, 2015). By assessing knowledge at the beginning of a course is a benchmark that shows current skills and knowledge prior to the online learning. When the beginning of the course assessment is paired up with the end of the course assessment, measurable outcomes and improvements will be obtained. When goals and objectives are prioritized, and a desired learning outcome is established, assessment will focus on if the goals, objectives, and outcomes were met. When determining if an online learner has acquired new information and knowledge, open-ended questions are useful, because they require in-depth topic knowledge, and they allow learners to reflect and put in their own words what they have learned. Realistic, interactive, and immersive assessments that tie knowledge to the real world by allowing scenarios and simulations are practical and effective. Grading should be based on consistent and clear criterion. Likewise, online learning assessment questions should also be clear and concise, so the learner knows exactly what is being asked and how to effectively reply.
The assessment information I researched was helpful, because it stressed the importance of assessment for online learning. Progress, understanding, and the transferability of skills is crucial to learning success. Assessment that effectively measures is critical to success and when it is a part of strategic instructional design, it can lead to best practices used for teaching and learning.
Pappas, C. (2015, December 21). 6 tell-tale signs that your elearning assessments may be missing the mark. Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/6-tell-tale-signs-elearning-assessments-may-missing-mark
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing, Inc.