How to Use Formative Assessment in Corporate Learning?
Wherever there’s learning, there should always be assessment. Assessment naturally comes in many types and formats, but generally a good distinction to draw is that between summative assessment and formative assessment.
In simplified terms, summative assessment focuses on trying to gauge the learning outcomes at the end of the learning activity. Students may be compared against each other and the assessment is a “high stakes” one. Formative assessment, on the other hand, attempts to measure learning throughout the learning activities. Formative evaluation can be considered less competitive – as the evaluation is based on criterion – and relatively “low stakes”.
How does formative assessment benefit corporate learning?
In our experience, a lot of corporate learning assessment is summative. L&D practitioners may dread the extra effort or may not even be familiar with formative practices. Furthermore, the prevalent tendency to developed slide-based courses with an exam at the end feeds into this behaviour. While building formative evaluation does require a bit more effort, the benefits tend to far outweigh the time investment.
Here are some of the benefits of formative assessment in corporate learning:
- Trainers / L&D is able to recognise learning problems and skill gaps more effectively – on both individual and group levels
- Learners are able to identify their own problem areas, self-correct and monitor their own progress
- It provides valuable feedback to L&D to improve learning experiences and activities
- It promotes active learning on the employees’ part
- The focus shifts from achieving arbitrary outcomes (test scores, tick-box compliance etc.) to the learning process itself
In general, a well thought-out formative assessment approach helps all the stakeholders – trainers, learners and managers alike.
How to use formative assessment in practice?
Now that you’ve considered the benefits, here are some practical and highly manageable ways to improve your assessments.
- Feedback is central to the formative evaluation process, and it should go both ways
- Collaborative learning activities provide a good way to demonstrate and further develop understanding
- Reflections help learner derive personal value out of the learning experiences, and are easily facilitated with social learning tools
- Seamless learning interactions, such as quick knowledge checks, help to gauge performance in a safe environment
The tools for formative assessment are plentiful, and the benefits are not limited to just evaluation either. By replacing summative assessment with something like this, you’ll also be creating much more engaging and learner-centric experiences. Furthermore, the approach is more data-driven by nature, helping you to make more informed L&D decisions. So start investing the time into it!
If you need help on designing digitally enabled assessments to support your learning strategy, we are happy to help. Just contact us.