Monday, August 27, 2012

Infusing Assessments with Advanced Interactivity

Assessments are inherently interactive. There is no assessment unless the learner interacts with the e-learning course in some way. What then does 'infusing assessments with advanced interactivity' mean?

Some instructional designers believe that throwing in some multiple choice questions make learning sufficiently interactive. We would like to question that. Learners are bored to death with the chore of answering the same types of questions: MCQ, Matching, Fill-in and Drag-drop. They need variety. They need to enjoy their assessments. Don't they?

Formative assessments, sprinkled throughout the learning material, aim to perform a knowledge-check. Here, there is huge potential for using a wide variety of exciting interactions.

When the nature of the learning content drives your decision, you might choose interactions accordingly. For example, a product familiarization course may involve labeling, a soft-skill course may use videos or simulations, and so forth.

Sometimes your instructional objective decides the interaction type. This would lead to interactions that require recalling a concept and applying it or simply memorizing it.

Finally, the nature of  your target audience influences the choice of interactions. Competitive audiences will enjoy games, those needing motivation could use other types of interactions.

Summative assessments, which occur at the end of a learning module, aim to evaluate the learner and report a score. Prima facie it stands to reason that summative assessments are more serious business, and should somehow steer clear of interactivity. On close examination, though, we find several situations where summative assessments too can benefit from advanced interactivity.

For example, a compliance training can include an assessment delivered as a simulation exercise. Similarly, when teaching leadership development, games can still deliver. The case of interesting assessments for K-12 is more obvious to make. Several questions can be delivered through game-like activities.

In conclusion, then, both formative and summative assessments can be infused with advanced interactivity to enhance learner engagement, enjoyment and retention, without compromising the key goals of knowledge checking and evaluation.

One great example of a simple interaction that works equally well in both types of assessments is Rapid Check. To see a demo of Rapid Check, click here. To hear about the various ways you can use Rapid check, watch this webcast.

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