Learning assessments can be used not only to evaluate the skills and knowledge gained by your people after attending a course but also to create effective courses and improve the performance of your staff. I would like to share how you can make the best use of assessments in your online courses and use them as tools of performance improvement.
Determining the learning objectives
Setting the right learning objectives is fundamental to the success of an online training course. Assessments can be used to evaluate the existing knowledge and skills of the learners and determine what to train. This is important because some of your learners may have already mastered the concepts you wish to include in your eLearning course, while others may lack the prerequisite knowledge and skills needed to complete the course successfully.
For instance, an automobile company wishes to roll out a course on best manufacturing practices to its production engineers. It first needs to assess their knowledge on these concepts. There could be engineers who have excellent knowledge of Lean, but little knowledge of six-sigma. Thus, by using assessments, you can “diagnose” the needs of your learners and develop the right course that results in better performance.
Evaluating the capability to apply learning
Your online course may provide your learners all the information in this world necessary to do a job. But if the course does not focus on building the skills to apply this knowledge in the workplace, it only leads to wastage of your precious training dollars. Therefore, you need to design your assessments to test the learners on their ability to apply this knowledge.
A pharmaceutical company may design an eLearning course for its new employees in the compliance department who are just out of law schools. The purpose of the course will be served not just by providing information about various legal acts, but by developing skills to apply this information in their day-to-day work effectively.
Providing meaningful feedback
Feedback is much more than mere grades. An effective feedback efficiently conveys the information to the learners about their shortcomings –those deficiencies in knowledge and skills that may result in poor performance. It helps them identify and remove these “weak spots.” This helps your staff to perform better in a big way.
Coming back to the example of the compliance course, all that matters to the drug manufacturer is that the compliance department ensures no violation of patent rights. After all, you would like your people to perform well rather than getting an A++ grade in the assessments. Wouldn’t you?
Assessments help you set the right learning objectives and evaluate the ability of your people to apply their learning to their jobs. You can use feedback on the learners’ performance in assessments to identify the shortcomings in their knowledge and skills. Thus, effective use of assessments helps to enhance the performance of your staff. What do you think?