Assessment in eLearning
Assessment in eLearning environments
Introduction: Assessment in eLearning environments around EuropeE-Learning1 can be considered to be highly related to learning and teaching (Gruttmann & Usenev, 2011; Raith, 2009; Jain et al., 2002). Therefore, pedagogy and didactic are important aspects for all facets of eLearning (Spector & Ohrazda, 2003), expanding from the creation of the courseware and application of an eLearning system to the evaluation of the learning progress. In particular, didactic has a great impact on designing and mediating learning content (e.g. see Gunawardena & McIsaac, 2003). Considering the traditional teaching process, the teacher has to decide which competencies have to be mastered by the students, to which point they extent and how the result of the learning process should be measured. Such considerations are usually realised by determining learning objectives and assessment methods for a course.
With respect to Mödritscher & Sindler (2005), applying certain didactical principles can be challenging in the eLearning situation. In particular, the assessment2 takes an important place during the development of any of e- learning course. It includes a variety of activities such as testing, problem solving, developing collaborative or individual projects development, participating in discussions etc. The object of assessment in the educational process is not only the knowledge. As IDS (2002) points out, the necessity of using the appropriate assessment which should be performed not only to grade students, but also to measure the learning process.
The assessment area is enlarged toward the skills and competences. According to Mödritscher et al. (2004) the competence is a mastering of knowledge and skills at level that is sufficient for their application for doing concrete work. Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (1983) describes three main classes of competencies:
(1) knowledge seen as a kind of mental model about parts of the real world,
(2) skills related to the capacity of applying and using acquired knowledge, and
(3) attitudes dealing with social or affective aspects.
In praxis, competency is supposed to be related to more than one of these classes. In most
1,2 The glossary at the end of the report defines this term.
cases a strong focus on one class can be recognised, but adequately mixed competencies can also be found. That’s why the assessment method has a great impact on the students’ learning behavior (Rust, 2002). And this is the reason, the eLearning assessor should keep in mind that when eLearning is implemented, students should be led to the desirable direction as they are taught in the classroom. Both classroom teaching and eLearning should be comparable and yield significant impacts to students’ progress.
So, the approach of using different assessment methods should be applied in eLearning environments. The assessment methods 3are based on relevant assessment activities. These activities could be aggregated in an assessment unit and they could be used to measure student’s achievements and driving of learning path in a concrete e- learning course, module, chapter, lesson etc. Teachers have to consider which type of question they use for assessment depending on the level of learning objectives, size of the class, reliability in grading, prevention of cheating, exam construction and grading time, and several other criteria.
Τhus, three critical questions arise when planning and evaluating a course: What competencies should be mediated to the students? To which extend should these competencies be mastered? And how can the results of the learning process be measured after having finished the course?
Based on all these, different assessment methods used in eLearning environments around Europe are in the focus of this study.
There will also be an answer to questions like:
1. What are the basic types of assessments available and which are the most widely used in Europe?
2. What is the difference between low-value and high-value assessments? Formative and summative assessments? When each one should be used in eLearning environment?
3. What are some different methods of assessment in eLearning environment?
4. Are there assessment types which are difficult or currently “impossible” to be created in