Let us begin with an analogy:
If training is a medicine, assessment is a mechanism to ascertain the effectiveness of that medicine. Just how a medicine is given to achieve specific goals to heal the body or improve its immunity and strength, training to employees is imparted with the purpose of empowering them with certain specific skills or knowledge and remedy or improve their existing capabilities to strengthen the organization as a whole. If the medication isn’t achieving what it must, a change is in order.
Now with e-learning too, comes the necessity of an assessment mechanism to evaluate how far is the learning actually happening. Not only does it serve as feedback for the effectiveness of the e-learning course, it also helps employees stay motivated and on track with respect to their personal career goals. However, creating assessments in e-learning is far from being just a question-answer task. Instructional designers must be able to capitalize on the interactive capabilities of the online format. These tips must be kept in mind:
Make it fun
Employees dislike anything that makes them feel like typical students all over again. If you are using the online medium for assessing them, you have the option of embedding multimedia elements such as interactive graphics or videos and asking them questions around those. Simply putting them through objective type tests could well be achieved through pen and paper.
Reinforce the learning objectives
Making assessments fun shouldn’t become a cause for you to go astray from the learning objectives. Every assessment should focus on a particular course or module to judge to what extent has the course been effective in imparting the necessary knowledge. o that employees can earn a sense of achievement once they complete a course and its corresponding assessment.
Increase the level of difficulty gradually
Questions must neither be too easy nor too difficult. The initial levels of assessment should be easy enough to be cracked, yet difficult enough so that they aren’t perceived as ‘too easy’ or ‘waste of time’. A gradual increase in the level of difficulty ensures that basics get reinforced in the initial levels and then competency is built further. It also helps learners to ‘explore’ more.
Include open questions too
Although instructional designers are tempted to create objective type assessments as they are easy to evaluate, however, what objective type questions fail to measure is the understanding and perspectives about different concepts. Open questions like “Suggest 5 ways to achieve customer satisfaction” or showing them a video of an engineering process and asking them “Can you identify the missing steps in the video?” give space for creative thought and expression.
Use clear language
Be it instructions or questions, language should be easy to understand and free from ambiguity. Use short sentences to ask what you are trying to test, instead of using complex sentences which might ultimately leave employees more confused and ultimately unmotivated.
Use rewards to motivate
Rewards can be as simple as recognizing ‘Learner of the Month’ on the LMS homepage to entitling top performers to small gifts in cash or kind. This of course depends on the amount of resources that the organization has, but the underlying motive is to encourage employees to be more active in e-learning and assessments.