Assessments in eLearning are primarily of two types – Formative and Summative assessments. In the eLearning domain, the formative questions are generally asked at the end of each chapter/module/lesson. Summative assessments are ‘end of the course’ assessments, given with the purpose of grading, or tracking user completion and analyzing the knowledge and comprehension of learners. Did you know that assessments can actually be an active part of the learning process? Given carefully, the feedback for the answers given by learners, for assessment questions, can be valuable for learning reinforcement.
Here are some best practices for giving feedback for assessment questions in eLearning courses.
Offer explanation for correct answers: Sometimes, learners could choose a right answer, based on wrong reasons. A brief explanation gives them a chance to reinforce key concepts of the subject. So, if learners choose a right answer, congratulate them and state why the answer is correct. You could also add some relevant additional piece of information. Ex: If you would like to know more visit….”
State reasons for wrong answers: By simply saying “incorrect “or “try again”, will not add much value for the learners. If a wrong answer is selected, give a hint and suggest that they try again. Suppose the course is related to safety procedures or compliance, after marking an answer wrong, you could follow with an explanation about the possible consequence in a job situation. Ex: Oops! Sorry that is not the correct answer. If you do this you might cause a short circuit in the system.
Provide links to references or resources: An employee would take an eLearning course in order to get some quantifiable benefit, in terms of performance support. Therefore, when a wrong answer is marked, a reference to a particular section in the course, where they are likely to find the right answer, could help them ensure they get their concepts right. A reminder of additional resources in terms of job-aids, videos or downloadable manuals could also be beneficial.
Keep intended learning outcomes in mind: The purpose of an eLearning course is to attain certain learning objectives. Therefore, when giving feedback, it is a good idea to keep these in mind, so that employees get an idea of what is expected of them and how this knowledge is going to be useful to them in their jobs. References to the actual job situation, when providing feedback, will make the evaluation more learner-centric.
Make it interesting and exciting: The whole idea of an eLearning course is to facilitate knowledge transfer. We have gone through the rigor of tests and examinations as students in colleges and universities. Employees don’t need more of that at the workplace. A little bit of creativity and humor in the feedback could go a long way in sending the message across and enhance learning.
Feedback is essential to learner-centric eLearning course design. Instead of using it to say, ‘you fared well’ and ‘you didn’t fare up to the mark’, it can be used to let employees evaluate themselves and initiate them to upgrade their knowledge levels.