Learning assessment: What to assess before, during and after training

Before learning

When launching an eLearning course in our corporate platform, there are several aspects to be considered before starting the training sessions, from two different points of view: The assessment of the course and the assessment of the student.

Assessment before learning

Assessment before learning

From the students’ point of view, it is necessary to assess the following points:

  • Previous knowledge: Do our future students know how to do it (competences), know how to learn (talent) know what is important to be known (orientation)? Are they self consciousness of its learning abilities and knowledge (awareness)? Are we adapting the training plan to different levels of knowledge and capabilities (personalized learning)? Can we organize learning groups by expertise level (collaborative learning)? Can some students mentor other students (mentoring and coaching)? How all this affect our course development?
  • Motivation: Does the student need to obtain the knowledge? Does the student understand why he needs this knowledge? Does the student want to receive this knowledge? What kind of external motivation does the student will need to follow the course?
  • Expectations: Does the student know what for and when will he be able to put knowledge into practice? Does the student have any future plans to apply this knowledge? Does our course fulfill students’ expectations?
  • Time availability: Does the student have time enough to take the course? Is the course duration adapted to students’ availability?
  • Information: Does the student and his masters know he is going to participate in a training plan, when and for how long? Do we need to do a previous information campaign?

From the course point of view, it is important to take into account the following aspects:

  • Money: Does the company have budget to support the course expenses, including pre-work, course giving and late assessments? Do we know any public founds we could benefit from?
  • Time: Does my technical team have enough time to deploy the course? Are we willing to increase expenses to reduce development duration?
  • Digital alphabetization: Is the course adapted to the digital level of our students? Will the student need any previous training to understand what an eLearning course is and how does it work? Do they know social networks? Do they have online communication skills?
  • Technology: Are we choosing the right technical platform so the course will run effectively in the students’ computers? Is it an easy-to-update technology? Has our course a responsive design? Have our students a good quality internet connection?
  • Physical effort: Have our future students any disability or physical limitation to follow the course? Is the course adapted to any special needs?
  • Cultural diversity: Is our course global enough to be understood by any student worldwide? Is it necessary to adapt the language to local uses? Do we need to create different versions of the course per country? Is it worth it?
  • Re-use: Is the course divided in small content units that can be re used in other courses and other learning contexts? Is it a self contained content?
  • Feedback: Are we improving the quality of our course from feedback received from previous editions or beta testers?

During learning

During the training period, there are different aspects to be considered.

assessment during learning

Assessment during learning

From the students’ point of view:

  • Understanding: Does the student understand the content? Are we including comprehension assessment?
  • Awareness: Does the student know what he knows? Are we asking the student to explain to others what he learnt to obtain knowledge awareness?
  • Learning by doing: Does the student understand how and when to apply what he knows? Are we giving enough practical assessment?
  • Collaboration: Does the student participate in collaborative activities? Are we measuring participation in global tasks?
  • Sharing: Is the student sharing his knowledge? Do we know how many ideas or files are being shared per student? Are we allowing other students to assess the quality of these contributions?

From the course point of view:

  • Access: Is the course easy to be taken from different places and devices?
  • Usability: Is it easy to navigate through the course? Is it easy to go forward and backwards? Is it easy to add notes, underline or add page marks? Are main concepts easy to re-find in the course?
  • Mental effort: Is the content easy to be followed and understood? Is it well contextualized to easy memorization? Are we supporting concepts with graphs, schemes or diagrams (visual thinking)? Are we repeating main ideas and use the same terms for the same concepts during the course to help memorization?
  • Environment: Are we creating an atmosphere with similar stimulus to those the student will encounter when applying learning to real life situations? Are we creating a similar environment to easy identification? Are we using the right metaphors and story lines to easy knowledge transfer afterwards?
  • Research: Is the course inviting the student to investigate about different subjects? Are we giving the students enough clues and sources to guide them in their research?
  • Collaboration and social learning: Is the course inviting the student to cooperate? Are there any peer to peer initiative?
  • Conclude: Is the course inviting the student to obtain its own conclusions?
  • Communicate: Is the course inviting the student to communicate his conclusions to other students? Is the student receiving other students’ feedback?
  • Share: Has the course an open repository so students can upload and share useful files related to course subjects? Are other students able to assess these contributions?
  • Routine: Is the course getting part of the student routine? Are we helping the student to create his own learning routine?
  • Personalization: Is the course adapted to be followed by different paths and speeds? Are we giving students freedom enough to go to their rhythm? Are we accepting that circumstances of the student may change during the course? Are we being flexible?
  • Engagement: Is the course engaging the student? Is the student involved into the challenges, objectives and prizes of the course? Are we considering middle path rewards to captivate our students? Are we combining competition and collaboration (coopetition) to increase engagement?
  • Social fitness: Is the student breaking any rules by taking this course? Is the students responsible informed of his participation in the course? Is the responsible convinced of the usefulness of the course?
  • Guide: Is the tutor of the course giving proper guide to the students? Is it easy to contact the tutor? How long does it take to get an answer from the tutor? Is the tutor giving personalized answers?
  • Follow up: Are we taking care of our students? Are we in contact with them to make sure they are properly following the course? Do the students perceive this as support rather than control?
  • Reporting: Are we capable to obtain meaningful data during the course? Are we able to customize our reports? Are data telling us what we need to know? Can we obtain an executive summary to take fast decisions?
  • Evolution: Are we capable of making fast changes to improve the course before it finish? Is it really necessary to wait until next edition to do so? Are we properly communicating these changes to everybody?

After learning

After training, we have to consider:

Assessment after training

Assessment after training

From the students’ point of view:

  • Remaining Knowledge: What does the student remember after “n” months? In what context or under what stimulus and circumstances?
  • Practice: How, when and where is the student applying his learning? Are they doing it in the proper way? Are we cooperating with managers to obtain this information?
  • Communication: Is the student maintaining after-course communication with other students? Are we promoting this communication by a social network and a community manager? Are we assessing participation?
  • Cooperation: Is the student still cooperating with other students to develop new projects? Have we created permanent collaborative groups of students? Will our students ask for support to other students to solve real life problems as they did when being mentored or collaborating during the course? Are we assessing and prizing this collaboration?
  • Sharing: Is the repository of students still being used? Are we properly motivating students to continue uploading files? Are we assessing this?
  • Satisfaction: Is the student satisfied with the expectations he had before the course?
  • Usefulness: Does the student consider the learning useful? How would he improve his learning experience?
  • Motivation: Would the student voluntarily participate in a new training experience?

From the course point of view:

  • Knowledge transfer: Are we helping the student to transfer knowledge to real world situations? Are we including any extra post activity related to this subject?
  • Over learning: Are we helping the student to over learn the main points of the course by reminding him the main topics of the content after the course is finished?
  • Updates: Are we updating the content that has become old? Are we communicating the students about these updates?
  • Communication: Are we opening communication via to maintain the students connected to each other?
  • Cooperation: Are we inviting the students to cooperate in future projects related to the course subjects? Are we involving the managers to cooperate in creating job experiences related to new knowledge?
  • ROI: Are we taking ROI into account? Are we properly comparing inversion and results? What did we learnt to reduce training expenses and improve learning results for new editions?
  • Feedback: Are we applying what we learnt from the students and from the experience itself to new learning sessions?

Written by Leticia Lafuente López for LearningLovers.org.

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