October 12, 2020 |

Learning Assessment

In-house training sessions in the workplace typically tend not to have an assessment component, with formal assessment tending to be more a hallmark of an e-learning event or some type of certification training.  However their may come a type when you as a trainer will be called upon to create an assessment tool.

Assessment stress

When assessment is done, the objectives of the learning event will govern the type of types of assessment actions chosen with the assessment ensuring they are appropriate to your specific situation. As a broad principle, concentrate on the learners’ ability to apply content rather than their ability to recall facts when creating assessment items. In the type of most IT based/technical training that I deliver this tends to be the most common way of achieving this.  For example, if it is a PowerPoint course, the latter part of the session will be asking the attendees to put their new skills to use in creating a specific type of presentation.  This is basically a free form activity that allows the learner to assess their own abilities and gives them a chance to work out if there are any gaps.  The activity is not “scored” or judged, but instead is a litmus test to help the learner self-assess their progress. This is non-confrontational for adult learners to experience some feedback and assessment and fits in with the principles of Adult Learning Theory (Malcolm Knowles,1970) as it allows for a more self-directed than didactic approach.

But, if an assessment instrument is necessary (e.g. for an e-learning module), then the following should be kept in mind:

The assessment itself should be valid. To achieve this need to write test questions which accurately assess the knowledge and skills specified in the learning objectives. The assessment questions should obviously be clearly written and easy to understand. If the question is poorly worded and the learners (through no fault of their own) misinterpret the intended meaning of a test question, the results would no longer be valid. To improve validity, you should write assessment items that focus on the application of knowledge rather than just comprehension levels. As you create the questions you should consider having professional colleagues (e.g. SMEs, other L&D professionals or instructional designers) review them for you and then if necessary, they can be revised based on the reviewers’ feedback.

The most common types of assessment questions are:

  • multiple choice: probably the most popular type of assessment in eLearning. Multiple choice questions require learners to choose the best response from several options.
  • true/false: typically measures understanding of facts such as names, dates, and definitions.
  • fill-in-the-blank, also known as completion items. This type of question requires learners to finish a sentence by filling the correct word or phrase in a blank.
  • matching: consists of a list of questions or statements and a list of responses, with learners required to find a match or association between each question and response, and
  • free responses or short answers or essays: not as commonly used, this type requires learners to understand the content in order to answer the question. and require a higher level of thinking, analyzing, and logically presenting information.

 

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September 25, 2020 |

Motivating Learners

The ARCS Model of Motivational Design was developed by John Keller (Keller, 2009).  The intention behind the use of Motivational design theory in learning and the ARCS Model specifically, is to connect the instruction to the goals of students.  Keller combined the elements from many motivational designs into 4 major categories which he called the ARCS Model of Motivational Design. The acronym stands for: (A)ttention, (R)elevance, (C)onfidence and (S)atisfaction and he believes that all of these aspects must be addressed for a successful learning event to have occurred.

Learner Motivation

In this model you are encouraged to think about and address the following aspects when designing your instructional session:

Attention: capturing the interest of learners and stimulating their desire to learn.  Ask yourself: how can I make this learning experience stimulating and interesting.  Depending on your audience this might be through, This can be done through games, role-plays, humor, visuals, discussion or rhetorical questions.

Relevance:  ensuring the learning is applicable to the learners’ knowledge and addresses their learning needs. In designing the learning event ask yourself how will this learning experience be valuable to my students? Ensure you explain the importance and usefulness of the content by providing relevant examples and learning goals so they can make these connections themselves.

Confidence: helping the learners to steer the learning and feel they will succeed and have control their success. To facilitate learner success you would design challenging but doable activities and ensure you are providing evaluation and feedback.

Satisfaction: this results when the learner finds the overall experience positive and worthwhile and feels good about their accomplishments. To ensure this step is met you need to make sure that you offer reinforcement of what they already learned and provide opportunities to practice the newly acquired knowledge and skills. It might include some type of reward or acknowledgement such as a certificate of achievement.

For more information see: Keller, John (979) Wikipedia

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August 31, 2012 |

When You’ve Got It…

When I first started out on my own, The Royal District Nursing Service were a client for their first rollout of Microsoft Software (probably Windows 3.1).  They were at Fawkner Towers, the same building as me, but up one floor.  Now 20 years later we are still being called upon to do onsite training and bespoke problem solving.  The lovely Kevin Rizzoli was in there yesterday to do a custom session for the executive on how to best work on shared documents, feedback went like this:

Kevin was great – he answered all our questions and some we didn’t even know we wanted answered!

A nice way to end the week!

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August 10, 2012 |

October is Express Training Month at City of Boroondara

We have decided to trial a number of our day courses in an express, half day format during the month of October for the City of Boroondara.  The content of express classes will cover the key information and concepts of the relevant program, but given their shorter length are  ideal for staff requiring MS Office product training, but who find it difficult to be released from duties for a full day. Attendees will be provided with the full one day course manual so they can follow up on the topics that cannot be included in the shorter version class.

Staff who prefer their training in a longer format, which allows for more content and the opportunity for more hands-on practice, will still be able to  to attend our traditional one day format classes, as these will not be taken off the schedule.

If we get enough interest in the half day express format classes after trialling them,  they will become a regular offering on the monthly IT training schedule alongside the one day classes.

 

August 31, 2011 |

Retaining Learning

When giving IT classes, I’ve always worked with the premise repetition fosters retaining the skills learned.  This is not a fashionable view, as rote or repetition learning is considered old-fashioned and behaviorist. However I can tell it works- and works beautifully –  particularly when it is done in a fun and creative way; for example by getting individuals to complete exercises, work in collaboration with the other learners to create something to model it on how they would use it in the workplace.  So,  it was interesting for me to read this blog post in The Training Zone by Gary Platt on Herman Ebgginhaus’s work , a small excerpt as below:

Ebbinghaus discovered that even with this simple task memory failed at analarming rate. His findings are often illustrated by a graph showing how memoryand recall deteriorates over a short space of time. The X axis (horizontal)measuring time and the Y axis (vertical) measuring recall.


But again these figures do not represent the research that Ebbinghausproduced, but do represent the concept he was proposing in chapter eight of hiswork, Retention as a function of repeated learning. Put simply: each revisitingof learnt material reinforces its retention.

Read Gary Platt’s full article here : http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/topic/forgetting-curve-and-its-implications-training-delivery/162373So… it is pretty obvious to me that the smartest things that trainers can do is to creatively work towards  increasing retention by allowing time in the day for the revisiting of learning and allowing people the opportunity to think and play –  and therefore remember.  Many trainers simply focus on getting through the material and therefore consider that to be a success, however if the learners cannot remember and then apply what they have learned one day, two days or two weeks after attending the training event there is hardly any point to the trainer patting him or herself on the back because they ‘delivered the content’.