Assessments are integral to effective education. They inform decisions around instructional needs, curriculum efficacy, teaching methodologies, learning potential, course progression, and more. In the eLearning space, in particular, assessments are exceptionally important to pinpoint learners' strengths and measure the overall effectiveness of the program.
Favorably, we have a host of assessment techniques to evaluate the learner and the course instruction. For the purpose of this blog, we'll explain formative and summative assessments and understand how they compare.
About 80% of organizations have been using eLearning platforms. The success and pervasiveness of eLearning can be attributed to the inclusion of assessments in eLearning programs. Here's a rundown of the reasons why they are so important:
Assessments can be used to identify the learner's strengths and weaknesses. This information can then be used to provide personalized learning recommendations and guide the learner to the most relevant content.
For example, if a learner is struggling with a particular concept, an assessment can help identify the specific areas where they need additional support. The learner can then be directed to resources that can help them to master the concept.
Assessments can be used to test the learner's understanding of the material that has been presented. This information can be used to ensure that the learner is meeting the course's learning objectives. Again, assessments can help narrow down on the pertinent areas where the learner needs additional instruction.
Providing learners with feedback on their progress is easier with data from assessments. This feedback can motivate learners and help them identify areas where they need to improve.
For example, an assessment can provide a learner with concrete feedback on their writing skills or on their ability to solve problems. The feedback report can be made more comprehensible and actionable by:
Assessments can be leveraged to measure the effectiveness of training. This information can be used to identify any areas where the training program needs to be improved. For example, if a large number of learners are struggling with a particular assessment, this may indicate that the training program needs to be revised.Or, if a large number of learners are failing a particular assessment, this may indicate that the assessment is too difficult or that the training program does not adequately prepare learners for the assessment.
Formative assessment is a method of evaluating students' knowledge as they learn. It involves a series of questions and exercises that help teachers monitor a student's progress during a course. Formative assessments are low-stakes and usually don't contribute to a student's final grade. They provide feedback and information during the learning process and can help students identify their strengths and weaknesses.As such, formative assessments can include:
Formative assessments are advantageous in the following ways:
Formative assessment can keep learners engaged by providing them with opportunities to practice the concepts they have learned and receive feedback on their progress. This feedback can allow learners to identify their strengths and weaknesses and focus their learning efforts on the areas where they need the most improvement.
Formative assessment can also increase learner motivation by helping learners set and achieve learning goals. When learners know that they will be regularly assessed on their progress, they are more likely to stay motivated and put in the effort required to learn.
Summative assessment is a type of evaluation that occurs at the end of a course or training program. It measures how much a student has learned by comparing their performance to a standard or benchmark. Summative assessments are often high-stakes. Examples of summative assessments include:
Summative assessments serve as pivotal instruments in the realm of eLearning, offering a myriad of invaluable advantages that underpin the efficacy of digital education. How? Well, they help with:
Summative assessments are beneficial in outlining how students have performed through the course or a project. They provide an objective insight into a learner's overall progress during a specific period.
Summative assessments provide learners with a sense of accomplishment or stress based on the outcome. Regardless, the insights help learners identify areas where they need additional support.
Formative assessment and summative assessment are both assessments used in educational settings, but they differ in several ways and have some similarities as well:
|Sr. No.||Formative Assessments||Summative Assessments|
|Timing||These are ongoing, providing real-time feedback.||These occur at the end, serving as the ultimate proficiency test.|
|Focus||These evaluate learning processes.||These focus on overall mastery.|
|Feedback||These provide continuous feedback.||These offer holistic feedback at the end.|
|Examples||These include low-stakes quizzes and assignments.||These are final exams or projects.|
|Tracking||These are tracked in real-time using analytics.||These result in quantifiable grades.|
Utilize both, but make sure to understand their significance.If your primary goal is to help learners learn more effectively, focus more on formative assessment. If your primary goal is to measure learner achievement or to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching, focus more on summative assessment.
As mentioned above, in most cases, the best approach is to use a combination of formative and summative assessment because it ensures that learners are learning and achieving the desired outcomes.
GyrusAim LMS provides a comprehensive suite of tools for training and development. It includes various features that can help create, deliver, and manage eLearning assessments. Moreover, GyrusAim allows instructors to leverage assessment analytics to better inform decisions around tweaking the program or paving personalized learning paths.Create and deliver engaging and effective eLearning assessments with GyrusAim. Schedule a demo today!