Seamless Learning Tracking vs. Formal Assessments
Previously, we have had very limited tools for tracking corporate learning activities – namely, formal assessments. Formal assessments may have come in a variety of forms: tests, learning surveys, self-assessments, performance evaluations etc. The common denominator for these is that they are relatively hard to administer and produce vague results. Luckily, thanks to advances in learning technology, we can do all this much more efficiently. Let’s look at how we can use seamless learning tracking to make our learning assessments much more efficient.
First, let’s consider a two traditional assessment tools used in corporate L&D: tests and learning evaluations.
Seamless Learning Tracking vs. Conventional Tests
The first problem with formal tests is that they often become the end instead of means to an end. Tests should be a tool for learning, not the reason we are learning for. Consequently, tests are also quite dreadful to the learners. Therefore, many learners are subject to stress and anxiousness when taking examinations. Hence, they are not performing at their best in terms of problem solving or creativity. Frankly, formal tests and scores are also subject misinformation caused by cheating, etc.
By utilising modern tracking methods instead of archaic testing, we can extract a superior amount of information without subjecting our learners to the adversary effects. With modern digital learning environments, we can track everything the learner does. We can follow every individual learner’s journey: how many times did they watch a training video? How much time did they spend on topic X? How many times did they try a quiz before passing? When we have access to learning data like this, the old formal tests scores become practically meaningless. Rather than assessing our learners bi-annually or in defined intervals, we can track them continuously. Hence, we can tackle problems in real time, rather than six months later.
Seamless Learning Tracking vs. Learning Evaluations
Other things we could do more reliably with modern technology are feedback and learning evaluations.
For feedback, the fundamental problem is the one that all marketing research people know – people lie. In organisations, especially hierarchical ones, it’s often a mission impossible to extract genuine feedback. Instead of being truthful, the learners give mid-range positive feedback to avoid confrontation – perhaps in the fear that even the anonymous feedback may be traced back to them. And if we are not getting honest feedback, we’ll shoot ourselves in the foot trying to improve the learning. However, by enabling comprehensive learning tracking, we can let behaviour be our best feedback. We can accurately pinpoint the learning materials that are not engaging or effective and work to improve them.
For learning evaluations, we can pull information from a whole history of learning, rather than just a formal test here and there. This helps us to provide much more personalised feedback to the learners. Instead of focusing on what (“you scored 88/100” in test X), we can focus on how (“you took twice as long to complete the training as your peers”), and most importantly, why (“could another style of learning work better for you?”). This provides us a much more comprehensive view to our people, their skill-sets and capabilities than we could ever achieve by traditional, formal assessments.
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