Your learners are taking your course, but are they really learning anything? There’s only one way to find out: test them.
Online learning assessment comes in several varieties. There are the obvious ones — tests and quizzes — but you can assess your learners in other ways as well; projects, or written assignments, for example.
Here are some ways you can test your online learners, and some easy tools that will get you started.
A word of caution before we get started, though. Not every tool for creating a learning asset plays nicely with every learning management system. The easiest way to avoid integration and transfer problems is to make sure you are working with tools that are SCORM compliant.
Quizzes and tests are a great way to test your learners’ knowledge during and at the end of your course. They’re also fairly simple to create.
You can find several free tools available online, but you’ll probably want to start by looking at your own LMS. Many learning platforms include a quiz builder. SchoolKeep, for example, allows creators to create a quizzes within courses. (If your LMS doesn’t let you create quizzes, and you think you might need a new one, take a look at this five-point checklist for choosing the right LMS.)
Not satisfied with your learning platform’s quiz maker? No problem. You may want to check out test-creator sites, like ClassMarker (which does your grading for you), EasyTestMaker (which generates printable tests as well), or QuizSlides (which creates tests from PowerPoint presentations).
If you or your learners dislike tests and quizzes, consider using games instead. Educators who have gamified their courses often use games to impart or test knowledge, while engaging learners. A well-thought-out game can both act as a test and a motivation to learners who don’t like tests or who don’t test well.
You do need to make sure the games are a natural fit for the type of assessment you’re doing. Using games for their own sake can make a course seem gimmicky.
Online learning assessment doesn’t always mean tests and quizzes. Assign your learners projects, then grade them.
While this is a common practice in face-to-face courses, assigning projects might seem complicated in the age of elearning, but it doesn’t need to be.
It can be as simple as asking learners to journal through the course on a blog. Or you might ask them to upload a video of themselves performing a task that demonstrates a skill they learned in your course.
By reading your learners’ journals or watching their videos, experienced instructors can get a better idea of what they’ve learned from the course content.
The importance of online assessment
Online learning assessment is crucial for you, your learners and your course. You need to know if your learners are understanding your course material; tests and quizzes will help do that, and regular quizzes will help you fine-tune their training as you move through the course.
There’s another benefit as well: Online learning assessment is one way to engage learners in online, self-paced courses.
Assessments can also need help you know whether your course is working as you intend. If only a few students are passing your tests, it’s time to rework the course itself.