How much do your online learners really know, and how well are they able to apply their knowledge in the real world? That’s the million-dollar question when you’re designing an eLearning course. It’s all about identifying the gaps so that you can bridge them as quickly, and stress-free, as possible. However, straightforward assessments may not be the best way to go. Especially for online learners who shudder at the mere thought of an exam. In fact, the most effective evaluation method is to test online learners without them even realizing they’re being tested.
Here are 7 eLearning pre-assessments to incorporate into your online training strategy.
1. Diagnose Skill Gaps With Immersive Simulations
Simulations covertly identify skill gaps while online learners are immersed in the virtual environment. They’re so wrapped up in the characters, storyline, and decision-making that they don’t even realize they’re being evaluated. Plus, it offers the added bonus of self-diagnosis. Online learners immediately see how their lack of skills or knowledge impacts their daily lives. For example, they’re unable to resolve the customer’s issue due to ineffective communication or interpersonal skills. Then you can use the simulation performance data to bridge skill gaps during the online training session.
2. Use Serious Games To Test Real-World Application
The primary focus of eLearning pre-assessments isn’t to gauge the load of information learners know. The most effective evaluation methods are qualitative. They might know everything there is to know about the company policies, but can they apply them in a real-world context? Serious games help you determine how well they use the knowledge and skills they have in practical settings. For instance, are they able to pitch a product to the customer based on their existing product knowledge? Can they use health and safety training to avoid a work injury?
3. Identify Performance Gaps With Branching Scenarios
Branching scenarios are a great way to spot gaps in learner performance, as well as to test their ability to make decisions under pressure. Each decision point is an opportunity to evaluate their breadth of knowledge and how well they work in stressful situations. For example, the corporate learner immediately shuts down at the first sign of trouble and is unable to make the right decisions moving forward. This may indicate a lack of self-confidence or experience. In either case, you can develop real-world activities that bolster them up and impart experiential knowledge.
4. Transform Pre-Assessments Into Engaging Pop Quizzes
There’s still something to be said for traditional assessments. Especially when you’re dealing with subject matter that’s easy to measure. For instance, to determine whether an employee has mastered the rules so that they don’t violate compliance. But multiple choice and true/false exams still apply unnecessary pressure. A pop quiz, on the other hand, makes the evaluation process fun and entertaining. Transform it using a game show theme or follow the suit of magazine quizzes. Make it engaging and include personal interests to test without them even knowing it.
5. Develop WWYD Open-Ended Stories
What would you do (WWYD) in a similar situation? Open-ended stories give learners the ability to answer that all-important question to test their knowledge mastery. As well as their capacity to utilize their skills and mental schema to resolve practical problems. For example, the main character has trouble managing a work-related dispute. The story plays out with natural dialogue and realistic settings to enhance the immersion. But it stops short of giving the learner the resolution or answer. They must arrive at their own conclusions. Which gives you a good idea of where they’re at in terms of retention and comprehension.
6. Host Group Collab Pre-Launch Projects
Group collab projects are an effective way to assess learners in a social setting. Even if it is online. They must work with their peers to assign tasks, communicate openly, and tackle the objectives. In doing so, you learn a lot about what they know, which skills they already possess, and where they should go from here. As a result, you’re able to craft customized eLearning experiences that aren’t redundant and take their current cognitions into consideration. It also gives you the power to disclose limiting beliefs or assumptions you need to take care of during online training.
7. Invite Online Learners To Create Their Own Bite-Size Library Addition
Teaching requires a high degree of understanding and recall. Sure, a learner might be able to pass a test by guessing the right answer. But asking them to develop their own content based on the topic is a whole different story. In order to create presentations, podcasts, and online training tutorials, they need to know the subject inside-out. If they don’t, they must do their homework, which bridges the gap right after they spot it. However, you can also use these bite-size online training resources that learners create to evaluate their comprehension levels and skill set. For instance, the learner might have a breadth of knowledge regarding sales techniques, as demonstrated by their tip-filled podcast. On the other hand, this product reveals that they need to work on their product knowledge or compliance knowledge.
eLearning pre-assessments give you a good indication of how well online learners understand the subject matter and disclose crucial knowledge gaps. Thus, you’re able to improve your eLearning course design every time a learner signs up for the eLearning course by catering to their individual needs. It may not be feasible to personalize your online training strategy for each new wave of enrollees. However, you can identify common patterns and trends to maximize online training benefits.
Knowing about the challenges of developing eLearning assessments ahead of time can help you steer clear of them altogether, resulting in more effective eLearning assessments that monitor learner performance and progress. Read the article Developing eLearning Assessments: 11 Common Mistakes To Avoid, and discover pitfalls and tips on how to prevent them.