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Testing e-learning

I find it remarkable to be in such a valued and valuable role for e-learning.

Testing might be a nearly finished or finished e-learning product, but proof reading can start with the initial proposal document and the first plans, or blue prints or wire-frames for the course itself. I am therefore being a second pair of eyes to support sales, project management, learning design, build and graphics.

I am looking to support, comment on or correct grammar and spelling, but also thinking about how well something communicates, whether it works or not – anything to ease the user experience, while adhering to appropriate style guides of course. Along the way I am having my own usage and abusage of English fixed, so at last I can correct who to whom, while deleting commas, and reducing the use of parentheses to aid clarity of communication.

I’m starting to pay attention to accessibility to.

How does a screen reader like JAWS perform?

I’ve been watching YouTube demonstrations from blind or partially sighted people. Come September I’ll be doing formal reviews of software such as JAWS as part of the Open University module ‘Accessibility’ as part of their Masters in Open and Distance Education.

How to evaluate e-learning

I stumbled upon this while browsing some current e-learning journals and thought it would be of interest to anyone else on the Masters in Open and Distance Education.

  • Content quality
  • Learning goal alignment
  • Feedback
  • Adaptation
  • Motivation
  • Presentation design
  • Interactivity usability
  • Accessibility
  • Reusability
  • Standards compliance

REFERENCE

Leacock T.L. and Nesbitt J.C. (2007) A framework for evaluating the quality of multimedia resources. Education Technology and Society 10(2) 44-59

This in ‘Evaluation of e–learning materials. A holistic framework’. Bundsgaard and Hansen (2011) Vol 4. No. 4 Journal of Learning Design. Which is worth looking at in itself (I’ll come back to it I am sure).

Where old meets new: paper and handwriting vs e-learning

Paper Assignments

I have in-front of me an Amateur Swimming Associations (ASA) paper for the Level III Senior Club Coach certificate. There are 12 sheets, facing side only. The paper is waxed, copyrighted and stamped with the ASA logo. Having attended a day long workshop on the topic, done some reading and from my own experience I complete these assignment and submit. It ought to be submitted as is; this is in part a test of authenticity. I have handwritten my responses. My habit and way of doing things is to have it in a word document, so I load the text and tables, complete the required questions/tasks, print off and submit both parts. Invariably I get a note about the typed up/printed off version being so much better … it takes skills that even I lack to write something in some of the minuscule boxes.

I was discussing on Monday with the ASA how to avoid plagiarism with e-assessments.

I mentioned Nottingham University medical students attending a computer-based assessment. I mentioned software that can spot plagiarism. I struggled however with the kind of forms the ASA uses as these tests seem to be have written with the EXAMINER in mind … i.e. to make them easy to mark. Which also makes it easy to cheat. The answer is the same, not open to interpretation. More or less. This isn’t strictly fair … papers are returned covered in red ink – I have redone one paper.

There has to be a sign in process that is used to identify a person.

How many people cheat? Is it such a problem?

Apparently so. Even with certificates and qualifications it appears easy to falsify documents. And often, these determined people are excellent teachers/coaches who have learn their trade as competitive swimmers and/or on the job, so they know what they are doing, they simply don’t have the piece of paper.

Memory Cards

I also have in front of me a set of handwritten cards given to me by a colleague who has just taken her Level II Coaching certificate. She failed the written paper. She used these cards to test herself. My intention is to put these into Spaced-Ed, as an exercise, possibly to create or to begin to create a useful learning tool.

I like the way Space-Ed prompts you over the week, tests you on a few things, then leaves you alone. You have time to assimilate the information. Is it easy learning? It is easier learning … nothing beats a period of concerted effort and self-testing to verify that you know something or not.

Whether electronic, or paper … or the spoken word, there is always a bridge to gap, a translation, as it were, of the information a person wants or needs to assimilate and this assimilation process.

Common to all is EFFORT.

Do you work hard at it for longer periods of time … or divide the task up into smaller chunks? Which works best? For you, or anyone? Is there a definitive answer? No. It will vary for you, as with anyone else. It will vary by motivation, inclination, time available, the nature and importance of the topic, the degree to which this topic is covered in print or online, or in workshops and in the workplace. In deed, my contention, would be that the greater the variety of ways to engage with the information the better it will be retained and the more useful it will be when required in a myriad of ways to be applied or is called upon.

On reflection

I learn from writing something out by hand. I learn again when I type it up. I may not be engaging with it ‘in the workplace;’ but there is engagement non the less through my eyes, hands and fingers. Similarly the person who wrote out this pack of 71 cards (both sides written up) was preparing themselves, afterall, for a written exam. She knows her stuff poolside, her struggle (as I know is the case for many) is translating this into exam-like responses in a highly false setting, away from a pool, from swimmers, having to read words to respond in text, rather than reading an athlete (observation) and responding with a fixing drill or exercise.

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