There’s no denying it; online assessment is here to stay. Some RTOs had already adopted the required technology to conduct online assessment prior to last year, and those who hadn’t, found themselves adopting a form of online technology when COVID-19 hit, which could have changed the way they conducted assessment.
Whether you were an early adopter or only discovered the benefits of conducting online assessment out of necessity, you will certainly have noticed the changes to your business practices from administration to student engagement and more.
Here, we discuss the 5 golden rules to help keep your RTO on track through the ‘online revolution’ of assessment.
1. Know What You Need From Your System
With so many options on the market encompassing everything from generic LMS and SMS systems to a fit-for-purpose assessment solution designed for RTOs, it can be difficult to wade through all the information and decide on which one will work best for you.
Consider the assessment methods you want to apply, clients you’ll be working with, different scenarios of assessment, and the environments you’ll be supporting your learners in. Each one of these things will dictate the type of tech you need and must be thoroughly understood. A good place to start is your Training and Assessment Strategies to get a better idea.
A trial is a must so you can put the solution through its paces. Check every process to make sure it’s working for you, test integrations, workflows and customer support. Make sure that every function works as you need it to, from the Student, Assessor and Admin perspective.
For more tips on what to consider when choosing an online assessment solution, click here.
2. Understand Your Assessment Delivery Requirements
Understanding and exploring the different contexts of assessment is key in understanding how it can be applied to your RTO. This includes both the location of the student and the delivery approach. A common misconception is that ‘online’ means remote, which is simply not the case. While you can use online assessments in remotely, it is not the only option.
Online assessment can be carried out in any location and as any assessment type. For example you can conduct your assessments in your training facilities face-to-face with your learners, offsite where the learner might be remote, using supplementary evidence by utilising reports from Other Parties or in the workplace with a visiting assessor. If the assessment is digital it is portable, flexible and easy to adapt to your assessment conditions.
3. Enhance the Student Experience Through Assessment Design
One of the greatest benefits of online assessment is the flexibility it provides for students. When that convenience is combined with intelligent design, the sky’s the limit!
An important question every RTO should be asking is ‘how is a learner consuming assessment?’
Toby Jones from Learning Vault recently discovered that they were noticing students signing in to complete a knowledge assessment of 50 or more questions and having a high bounce rate. This tells us that students became overwhelmed by the assessment size, panicked and closed it. They also noticed a spike in students then cramming to complete assessments right before the deadline.
However; when knowledge assessments are broken down into manageable, bite-sized pieces of 15-20 questions, a higher number of students were engaging with it straight away.
Instead of having one huge, overwhelming event, when broken down to feel manageable, assessments are more easily and readily consumed.
Experiential/Immersive Learning Options
There is software available that is making it easier to create engaging, industry relevant, consistent content. This software mixed with some good web design skills can allow training organisations to create and provide a user friendly interface by using content that works across multiple devices. Some of our favourites include Articulate, Thinglink, Genially, and Adobe Captivate.
This software can be used to provide a user friendly interface with content that works across multiple devices. Use photos, audio and video with interactive overlays such as maps to create courses with quizzes, slideshows, interactive tours and much more.
To read more about trends to help you ‘wow’ the learners of tomorrow, click here.
4. Ensure Authenticity
Once your assessment is created and designed, how do you make sure that it is the student doing it and not someone else on their behalf? This is a major area of concern for training providers. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to tackle this issue. It comes down to the same principles you would use in face-to-face assessment, with a few extra steps.
The first line of defence in ensuring authenticity in online assessment is implementing an agreement around the use of logins and passwords. While it’s not iron clad and is reliant upon the honour system, it’s important to make the student is aware when they enrol that they are not to share their passwords and logins with anyone else. The onus is on them to keep this information strictly confidential.
A more direct method of ensuring authenticity would be to have students show their ID if they are doing their assessment remotely. You can take this one step further by asking some questions to confirm identity.
When using Cloud Assess software to facilitate the assessment process, Authenticity is considered throughout the app, allowing assessors to gather evidence face-to-face, build in acknowledgement forms and even capture electronic signatures, audio and video.
To read more about what the experts say about ensuring authenticity in online assessment, click here.
5. Keep Compliance Top of Mind
The decision to take assessment online doesn’t absolve training organisations of their obligations around the Principles of Assessment and the Rules of Evidence. These remain the same regardless of the method of delivery.
During the shift online, records need to be kept as evidence of what you’ve done and that you’ve met required compliance standards.
Phill Bevan, Community Advisor at vetr has identified some common issues that can lead to non-compliance are:
- Attendance keeping online
- Ensuring attendance meets the required participation
- Maintaining authenticity in assessment
- When assessments are submitted
- What support students are receiving
Evidence that can be collected through a fit-for-purpose solution like Cloud Assess include:
- Unique Login ID
- Username and password
- Date and time stamps
- When marking occurs
- A record of student support including time and duration of events held with them
While some online solutions are appropriate for delivery, they fail to meet the requirements for record keeping.
Why is this?
Most LMS’s have been designed for universities and schools where their main purpose is the transfer of knowledge. The VET sector operates on a different set of rules, one of them being “Assessment is the gatekeeper of quality”.
This is one area that must be examined closely before any decisions around an online solution are made. Make sure that they are set up specifically to handle the requirements of the VET industry. For example, assessments records should be easy to retrieve, without needing to print them out. Also, auditors should be able to sign in and access your records and view them an as assessor. If these options aren’t there, it’s not the right fit for VET.
Click here to download our useful guide on choosing RTO software.
Phill Bevan explained in a recent webinar that when you move to a different interface ie. from paper to a screen, you need to adjust your operations. However, the units that you are delivering your training and assessment against remain the same. Do not let your quality slip and keep compliance top of mind.
The decision to take assessment online doesn’t need to be a big one, and these 5 golden rules are sure to set you off in the right direction.