The goal of assessment is to measure the extent to which learning objectives have been mastered. That being said, assessment items should be inextricably tied to either module or course-level objectives. Assessments should not include items that require recall of random facts from readings, videos, or other instructional materials. This is NOT Jeopardy; your course or module is a unique instructional unit that contains content and learning activities that will enable learners to do something they could not do before; therefore, assessment items should provide a valid measure of the leaner’s attainment of learning objectives: not his or her ability to recall random even abstruse material from a course or module.
A good practice for developing assessment items that are tied to learning objectives is to create a table with two columns, learning objective and assessment item, and as many rows as you have learning objectives. Row by row, write a learning objective in the learning objective column and a corresponding assessment item you develop in the assessment item column. To test the validity and clarity of your assessment item, give the assessment items to a colleague and ask him or her to guess the corresponding objectives.
Every instructional project is unique. There are differences in learners, contexts, and content, so what works for one instructional project may not be a good fit for another instructional project. Computer based training is a convenient and effective way to deliver training and instruction; however, not all instructional projects are suitable for computer based delivery. Here are five things to consider when thinking of using a computer based delivery format for your next instructional project.
- Is computer based training suitable for the learners and the learning context?
Consider whether the learners have the technical skills to participate in computer based training and consider if the learning context would support computer based training. Consider if the learning context has the bandwidth, hardware, and software to accommodate computer based training.
- Will computer based training help the learners achieve the learning objectives?
This question should be answered in the affirmative for any instructional media, graphics, and instructional strategies used. If it does not help the learner achieve the learning objectives then it should not be used.
- Is computer based training worth the cost: is it cost effective?
Consider whether the cost of the software, licensing, and complementary software justifies gains in efficiency and instructional effectiveness that may occur with the use of computer based training.
- Do you have the human resources to develop high quality computer based training?
Developing high quality computer based training requires skill. Consider whether you have the talent on hand, would have to train someone, or would have to outsource the work. There are time and cost factors to consider with each choice.
- Is the content being considered for computer based training stable?
Will the content change in six months or shortly after being developed? If the content is unstable it is likely the time and cost put into design, development, and maintenance will overshadow any delivery efficiencies gained through the use of computer based training.
Our most recent client rated our work as 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars. For this project, we developed learning objectives, created sections and section headers, chunked information into graphics, and created knowledge check questions (with response feedback) aligned to the learning objectives created.
Here is what the client had to say following project completion.
I am in the process of creating two curriculum outlines. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives with corresponding action verbs is a constant companion while I draft terminal performance objectives and enabling objectives from the task analyses. Use of the hierarchical list of educational objectives–Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation– and verbs facilitates the development of objectives that are appropriately sequenced– from LOTS (lower order thinking skills) to HOTS (higher order thinking skills)– and aligned with instructional materials, learning activities, and assessment items.
Problems arise–learners do not meet learning objectives, performance goals are not attained, learners become frustrated–when instruction is created without a thorough analysis. When this happens the instructional designer must put on his or her investigator hat and locate the holes in the content and/or instructional materials. Instructional and training programs that begin with a thorough analysis produce efficient, effective, extraordinary results the first time around.