Formative Assessment Design in eLearning

Prateeksha Dutt July 7, 2020
Does the word assessment remind you of the nerve-racking time you had in the school and college? Despite all this, I am sure you will agree you would not have learned the way you have if there were no assessments. It holds true at every level not only for kids in school but for teenagers doing higher studies as well as adults going through the skill-based training. Any learning loop is incomplete without assessments. Learning- effectiveness is measured using Assessments. While in a live class, teachers anyways interact and assess learners in between the teaching to ascertain learning is happening.  Formal evaluation is done as and when the milestone is achieved. In the eLearning too it is imperative to have these regular check-ins and formal evaluation. In the academic arena, these knowledge checks come as Formatives while the evaluative assessments are called Summative. Formative assessments are not the assessment of learning, but assessments for learning. These formative assessments are supposed to help learners retrieve information from memory to strengthen learning. Formative assessments are learner focussed, outcome-based, and informative. The purpose of formative assessments is to see how learners receive the information and how well they understood it. The emphasis is on the learning outcomes and closing the gap between what the learner knows vis a vis the desired outcome. These assessments can help teachers track individual students learning needs. In formative assessments, questions that prompt learners to retrieve information from memory are used. Carefully designed questions can make this retrieval meaningful. To design effective formative assessments, one must keep three key parameters in mind: Placement of the question, how challenging the question is to the learner, and most importantly the feedback provided. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind. Placement of questions: Placement of the question holds the key to the formative assessment to be effective. If the question is presented right after the concept is taught, it automatically reduces the challenge. Most recently learned things are remembered best. Type of questions: The more effort a learner makes in retrieving the information, the more effective learning is. Challenge is always higher when the learner is supplying the answer instead of recognizing it from the choices. Fill in the blanks or Short answer questions are better choices as compared to MCQ. One can use the Fill in the blanks or short answers as the formative assessment is not evaluative. It is difficult to make such questions evaluative. Feedback: Feedback is a great tool to teach through questions. It can be used as a mechanism to reinforce learning. If the learner gets the answer to a question wrong, provide feedback that will rectify the understanding or lead the learner to revisit the concept. If the learner gets it right feedback must motivate the learner and reinforce the reasoning.  

Prateeksha Dutt

As a Lead Instructional Designer with Magic Edtech, Prateeksha is actively engaged in conceptualizing and designing various digital learning objects and immersive offerings.