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Are eLearning Evaluations or Knowledge Checks Useful?

Are eLearning Evaluations or Assessments Useful_ (1)

If you are developing eLearning for your workforce, you may be considering adding a few evaluations or knowledge checks to ensure employees are getting the most from this experience. Many organizations find that assessing their employee learners is an important aspect of corporate training. Assessments range from simply confirming if or not learners have completed all of their required training modules to more critically measuring how much of the learning material has been retained.

The Importance of Evaluations in eLearning

In eLearning, the purpose of evaluating learning outcomes is two-fold. First, it helps learners reflect on new concepts. Performing a knowledge check helps them identify if or not they need to revisit any of the learning material.

Secondly, and from the trainer's perspective, evaluations provide insight into what could be improved about the training. Feedback from learners as well as notable areas where they struggle in the course highlight the need for improvements to the lesson design or content.

Bloom's Taxonomy and Learning Assessments

In the 1950s, educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom introduced his classification model for learning objectives, referred to as Bloom’s Taxonomy. Its purpose is to align the educational goals of the educator with the learning objectives of learners. It features six levels of “cognitive domains."

One of Bloom’s domains is ‘analysis’, which is when learners are assessed for their comprehension and must apply the concepts to the real world. To create a meaningful assessment, it's recommended to cover the following question types:

  • Knowledge (ex: Definition)
  • Comprehension (ex: How two concepts tie together)
  • Application (ex: Explaining the why behind a yes/no answer)
  • Analysis (ex: Comparing/contrasting two related concepts)
  • Synthesis (ex: Creating something related to the subject matter)
  • Evaluation (ex: Describing the impact of the subject matter)

Two Types of Assessments that Provide Value in Corporate Learning

According to Lauri Sulanto, Director of Learning Crafters, there are two main types of assessments that companies should use:

  • Formative Assessments - Focus on measuring learning throughout the learning journey. This makes use of subtle and continuous learning and feedback, with no pressure to pass a test.
  • Summative Assessments - Focus on measuring learning at the end of the process with an exam, and scores are attached to quantified indicators of performance.

While both have their merits, Sultano writes that “organizations tend to rely heavily on summative practices, especially in the case of digital learning.” This is a problem because employees will rush through training and put all their energy into passing the exam at the end. He suggests that companies find a way to make assessments more useful by leaning on formative assessments, which personalize the learning experience and make corporate learning more effective.

Best Practices for Delivering Assessments

There are some methods that can help your employees get the most out of their learning while still measuring their level of knowledge:

  • Use the right assessment items. It is important to develop and present assessments that are both relevant and objective-oriented. Carefully align each question with actual tasks that employees will perform.
  • Select the right learning management product. An online learning platform that serves up knowledge checks throughout the learning experience is far more useful than creating anxiety in users who may be anticipating a big end-of-course test.
  • Conduct knowledge checks at significant points. Instead of a predictive system of having a certain number of assessment items at the end of each module, have questions appear when there is a more complex topic covered.
  • Request feedback from learners. Ask employees to rate the training and share their feedback with a survey, so that it can be improved for future colleagues.

By using the above best practices, you can provide employees with an impactful learning experience and give yourself the opportunity to improve the material over time.

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