What Innovative Approaches Do Education Leaders Take to Assess Online Learners?

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    What Innovative Approaches Do Education Leaders Take to Assess Online Learners?

    In the realm of online education, academic instructors are constantly innovating to gauge student comprehension effectively. From an Assistant Superintendent to seasoned Professors, we've gathered 9 unique strategies that range from having learners create educational podcasts to assessing comprehension with Pecha Kucha presentations.

    • Learners Create Educational Podcasts
    • Simulate Real-World UAV Risks
    • Role-Play and Portfolio Artifacts
    • Interactive Teaching and Mutual Assessment
    • Colleague-to-Colleague Video Explanations
    • Unique Example Contribution Requirement
    • Active-Learning Exercises and Quizzes
    • Apply Learning to Real-World Scenarios
    • Assess Comprehension with Pecha Kucha

    Learners Create Educational Podcasts

    One innovative approach I have used in online courses to assess learner understanding is to have each learner conduct their own podcast over a specific topic. In less than five minutes, learners can video themselves describing a topic as if they were delivering the information to people who are not familiar with the topic but want to become more familiar. This is a great way for learners to become comfortable talking to an audience about something they just learned.

    Mindy Patterson
    Mindy PattersonPhD, RDN and Founder, Renutrin

    Simulate Real-World UAV Risks

    A key to accessing a student's understanding is to allow the approach taken to simulate the risks in a real-world environment's influence on the UAV: controlled versus uncontrolled simulated influences.

    Mark Kerrin
    Mark KerrinUnmanned Technology Professor

    Role-Play and Portfolio Artifacts

    Two innovative approaches to assess learners' understanding in an online course are authentic assessments and portfolios.

    Students are asked to discuss authentic assessments and challenge each other's responses. These assessments provide real-world scenarios in which the students role-play as a manager, supervisor, employee, advisor/consultant, etc. They then write memos, emails, and brief consultant reports to their clients, supervisors, or customers. This role-play provides practice acting in scenarios they are likely to encounter on the job.

    Another approach to assessment is portfolios. Students curate and accumulate artifacts throughout the course, which demonstrate their learning and understanding of the course concepts.

    John DejoyAssociate Professor, Clarkson University

    Interactive Teaching and Mutual Assessment

    My learner assessment style mimics my teaching approach, which is interactive teaching: interactive conceptualization.

    First, I make students interact among themselves, prompted by my topical questions based on the syllabus and relevant literature, from one topic to another throughout each particular course. I observe their interactions/discussions. Then, I correct and grade them so they know how they are faring.

    Second, they submit weekly journals based on the syllabus, from one topic to another, which I again correct, grade, and return to them.

    Third, they complete individual and group projects based on the syllabus. Both projects require research and collaboration, leading to topical reports based on the course syllabus, which I again correct, grade, and return to them.

    Fourth, I interact with them in class, which I never dominate: they get to speak as much, sometimes more, than I do. I intervene when they struggle to understand or need clarification. It elucidates the various topics in the syllabus. I also focus the class on practical, hands-on learning that literature alone may not teach.

    Finally, I treat my students as my co-learners and co-teachers: I learn from them, which I let them know. The result is visible and tangible learning, which is always mutually appreciated and verbalized by the students and me.

    In summary, although my assessment ultimately determines their official scores, my students’ constantly reported/documented empowerment and transformational learning experiences make it a mutual assessment and not a one-way teacher-knows-it-all experience.

    Olajide Olagunju
    Olajide OlagunjuProfessor of Conflict Resolution, Bakke Graduate University

    Colleague-to-Colleague Video Explanations

    One method I have implemented to assess the understanding of our Master's students in Instructional Technology is by having them create colleague-to-colleague (C2C) videos where they explain their interpretation of a concept or a selected course reading. This approach encourages adult educators to engage with their peers, allowing them to express their views on topics that interest them. The students actively participate by offering valuable feedback to their classmates, showcasing their responsiveness and the quality of their input. Through this process, I can assess their comprehension levels and offer feedback from an instructor's standpoint.

    Suzanne BeckingProfessor, Fort Hays State University

    Unique Example Contribution Requirement

    It is often difficult to get students to read their classmates' contributions as an avenue toward greater understanding of the material. To address this concern, I ask students to provide unique (not already supplied by a previous classmate) examples of a phenomenon under study. While students can resort to AI, they still have to read all their classmates' responses first to ensure they receive credit. This also rewards the early responders with fewer past responses to read.

    Rikki Abzug
    Rikki AbzugProfessor of Management, Ramapo College of New Jersery

    Active-Learning Exercises and Quizzes

    It varies based on a live online course (synchronous) or a module-based asynchronous online course. In the former, sometimes running simple active-learning exercises is useful. The online attendees team up or work individually on a problem related to the material covered, and then the instructor invites one group to share their solution. In the asynchronous course, maybe short quizzes after the completion of a module help the student reflect on their understanding.

    Sanghamitra Roy
    Sanghamitra RoyProfessor, Utah State University

    Apply Learning to Real-World Scenarios

    Linking a student's learning to real-world scenarios is a wonderful way to watch students apply their understanding to their experiences. This method goes beyond traditional assessment to involve learners in activities that reflect the complexity and unpredictability of real-life situations.

    Kimberly Mcnally
    Kimberly McnallyAssistant Superintendent, Rose Academies

    Assess Comprehension with Pecha Kucha

    I've used Pecha Kucha presentations to ensure student understanding. Students create the presentation and record themselves giving it. I can then watch the presentation virtually to assess comprehension.

    Kelli Anderson
    Kelli AndersonCareer Coach, Texas General Insurance