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Why Assessments and Understanding Their Purpose In Education
The purpose of assessment is to monitor student learning, improve academic programs, and enhance teaching and learning.
One of the key functions of schools and educational institutes is to import learning and knowledge. Assessments represent an important aspect of measuring this learning and knowledge imparted by the school.
Assessments give learners an accurate picture of where they stand as compared to their peers and this serves as a catalyst and positive reinforcement for learners by encouraging them to perform better.
Besides monitoring and measuring the learning process of an individual or an entire classroom of students, assessments also helps to the teachers set a goal for every semester/chapter and then determine whether the goals of education are being met.
Another key purpose of assessments is the serve as a powerful feedback tool for the teachers to understand if their teaching style and method is working for the students. With this feedback, teachers can contemplate on if their ways to improve their instruction and this promotes better learning among the students.
By enhancing the teaching and learning methods of the teachers, a well-developed assessment plan can serve the purpose of helping to improve academic programs and build the reputation of the school
Making The Shift To Online Assessments In Schools, Colleges and Universities
In many educational institutes, technology has preceded the way for online assessments and exams.
Schools across the world are realizing that teaching and evaluating students are essential actions which do not need to be restricted to the confines of a traditional, physical classroom. With the use of smart gadgets, laptops and computers, these tasks can be performed at any time – irrespective of the location of the teacher or the student.
It is therefore not surprising that many educational institutes are hence making the gradual shift from using the traditional assessment methods to using online assessment tools that not only benefit the students and teachers but are also be advantageous to the institutes.
Understanding The Advantages Of Online Assessments
1. Flexibility of Location and Time
This is perhaps the most talked about advantage on online assessments as it allows students to option to sit for the exam at a location of their choice. It also ensures that teachers can invigilate the assessments remotely. This reduces the stress of the students and teachers and also helps save the time and cost of travel.
2. Lesser Administrative Burden
Online exams greatly reduce the administrative burden on the school, helping save the time and effort on the printing and distribution of exam papers, the setting up on examination centers and classrooms.
3. Easier Preparation, Marking and Moderating of Question Papers
With an online assessment system, teacher can create a bank of approved questions which then then be used for all the upcoming questions to create automatic and randomized papers.
The online assessment also makes checking, moderating and marking the exam results a lot faster, streamline and standardized.
4. Faster Evaluations and Results
Online assessments are easier to evaluate, faster to mark and many assessment options allow for auto scorable questions. These methods ensure that the students receive their results a lot faster than the traditional methods. This also eliminates the waiting period for the results which is filled with anxiety and stress for the students and parents alike.
The immediate feedback can also be used by teachers to grasp students’ understanding and modify their teaching methods accordingly
5. An Environment Friendly Solution
Online assessments give schools the opportunity to go paperless as all the examination related papers, printing and the transportation of the same is completely eliminated.
6. A Secure Solution
Maintaining the safety and the security of the traditional school exam papers can be extremely stressful for schools.
However, with an online assessment there is greater security as all exam papers, answer sheets, candidate details, examination marks and school results are digitally stored with only limited staff having access to the exam information.
7. Easier Report Creation
An online assessment system with the help of a school management system also makes it easy to create reports. These reports can be customized according to the guidelines of the school or to reflect the various parements of the student performance.
One of the key benefits of online assessments is that they greatly reduce the human, logistic and administrative costs associated with a traditional examination method.
What Are Some of The Types of Online Assessments?
1. Multiple choice questions
Multiple choice questions usually include a phrase or an question followed by multiple options to the student to choose from. These can include variations of the answer, a true or false option etc.
This methodology is an effective way to assess learning outcomes such as basic recall, concept application, analysis and evaluation
2. Open-ended questions / Case based discussions
Open-ended questions give the students creative freedom as there are no right or wrong answers. Instead, when taking the online assessment, the student must simply reflect on the topic and draw their own conclusions.
3. Oral exams or interviews
This exam method uses video conferencing to test the knowledge of the students and is perfect for one-one-one assessments or for small groups
4. Open-book assessments
Open book assessments allow students to refer to either class notes and or textbooks while answering questions. This testing helps to promote higher order thinking skills as it focuses on understanding the concept rather than rote learning
5. e-Learning blogs and essays
In this form of assessments, students can be encouraged to submit weekly essays or blogs that will assess online student learning progress and identify areas for improvement for them.
6. Online Discussions
Teacher facilitated online group discussions give students the opportunity to improve their comprehension of a topic and reveal their level of understanding.
These are some of the popular methods of online assessments. Today with new tools and technologies online instructors can adapt their traditional assessment techniques to ensure that students as assessed fair and efficient manner aligned with course learning outcomes. Conduct Online Assessment Today!
ICT – Information and Communications Technology has the proven power to change the world.
This acronym refers to the merging of audiovisual and telephone networks with the computer single unified system of cabling. Thus, ICT includes any communication device – including radio, television, cell phones, computer and network hardware, satellite systems, etc.
Today, ICT technologies have embedded themselves as commonplace entities in all aspects of life. This gives us further evidence that the world is rapidly moving towards increased adoption of digital technology.
The role of ICTs in education is becoming more and more critical. The higher education sector has advanced with the help of various ICT tools such as laptops, smartphones, whiteboards, smartboards, digital cameras, projectors, video conferencing tools, audio recording tools, and many more.
However, ICT has benefited the higher education sector in more than just new tools.
Let’s see how ICT has evolved the higher education :
1. The Role Of ICT In WHAT IS LEARNED In Higher Education
Traditional teaching has revolved around content with great emphasis laid on textbook-based learning. The teachers headed the classroom and used lectures, tutorials, and presentations to help the students understand the material being taught.
With the introduction of ICT and various EdTech tools, students are no longer restricted to learning from the textbook, class lectures, and presentations. With the help of the internet and ICT tools, higher education learners can access a variety of sources for information, including videos, documentaries, podcasts, and speeches by experts.
The sources of learning are endless.
The onus of learning has also shifted from teachers to the students as there is an increased focus on student-centered learning that is based on the access of information. This has also changed the role of the teachers from being content experts to being guides and mentors for the students.
It is opined that as students and teachers gain access to higher bandwidths on internet connectivity and more direct forms of communication, the trend of student-driven learning will continue to grow in higher education institutes.
2. The Role Of ICT On HOW STUDENTS LEARN In Higher Education
ICT is not only influencing, changing, and supporting the content that is being learned in higher education institutes but also changing the way students are learning.
There has been a systematic movement from content-centered curricula to a competency-based curricula with the aid of various ICT tools.
Similarly, there is a movement away from teacher-centered learning to student-centered forms of knowledge. ICT has facilitated a modern learning approach where students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
Students are increasingly turning towards the web and online subject matter experts from who they will learn, thus creating an environment of independent learning.
3. The Role Of ICT On WHEN STUDENTS LEARN in Higher Education
In traditional high schools, colleges and universities, institutions provided minimal choice for students for when the learning would take place. Typically, the students would accept the learning schedule prepared by the institute and follow the same
The use of ICT tools allows students to optimize their learning experience by choosing when they wish to study based on their routine or body clock. Learners are free to participate in learning activities when time permits or be assured of no interruption. This freedom and flexibility have significantly increased the opportunities for many students to participate in formal programs.
It has also provided learning opportunities for many more learners who previously were constrained by other commitments.
The use of online technology learning has enabled learning to become an activity that is no longer set within programmed schedules and slots.
The various technologies can provide asynchronous support for learning so that the need for real-time participation is avoided while the students can benefit from the communication and collaboration that the online system provides.
It is not only students, but even teachers benefit from these tools as they can decide what periods in the 24X7 envelope can be utilized for teaching and interacting with the students?
4. The Role Of ICT In WHERE STUDENTS LEARN In Higher Education
The continued and increased use of ICTs has also changed where the students learn.
While the concept of flexibility in the location of education is not new to the prevalence of distance education programs for years. Yet, for most institutes, students do not choose the place of their location.
With ICT and advancements in EdTech tools, off-campus delivery of courses is an option for students who were unable to attend the class for any number of reasons.
Additionally, the use of ICT tools instead of a traditional classroom setting has given way to learning in work-based settings with students able to access courses and programs from their workplace.
The advantages of education at the location of choice is not only increased convenience to the students but also financial savings and time-related savings with travel.
The concept of technology powered ‘any place learning’ also ensures that learners enroll in courses offered by any institute across the world rather than only applying for local educational institutes. The advantages of this include extended course offerings and the opportunity to digitally interact with co-learners and students from differing backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives.
In conclusion, Higher education systems have grown exponentially in the past few decades to meet the increasing demands of quality education. The swift advancements in ICT have also helped to propel the higher education sector to serve the students and teachers better.
Today, ICT applications can provide many options and choices and for the students and institutes can create competitive edges by offering these choices to their students.
E-learning is revolutionizing the traditional educational eco-system
What is traditional learning?
Traditional learning refers to any form of instruction that utilizes classic paper and pencil methods in a regular classroom setting. In short, traditional refers to any kind of learning that involves methods that are typically implemented in any school. This can include typical lecture-style instruction, assignments and exams, and homework for students, classic teaching pedagogy and training for teachers, the use of assigned textbooks and other course material, and an in-person instruction system. Traditional learning is what most students today continue to be familiar with. While subjects, textbooks, and some teaching styles may vary most of the elements described above will be present.
What is e-learning?
Broadly speaking e-learning refers to any sort of instruction that is communicated electronically, usually over the internet. Think of any sort of educational content you might have consumed on platforms like YouTube or other streaming sites or online courses taken through a university or even virtual classrooms where students and teachers sign in remotely – all these would count as examples of e-learning. With the increasing ubiquity and rapid spread of technology, e-learning is an inevitable evolution of the educational ecosystem. It may be something as small as the use of electronic materials or something as huge as massive online open courses that allow anyone, anywhere and at any time to sign up to learn something new. E-learning is increasingly becoming a feature in classrooms across schools and colleges in the world due to the many benefits it transfers to all stakeholders in the educational ecosystem.
What are the benefits of e-learning over the traditional education system?
The advantages of including e-learning education system methodologies within the traditional education system or even implementing e-learning options at your school and college are many. Some key benefits of an e-learning education system are discussed in further detail below:
- One Time Setup Cost
Many schools and colleges hesitate to invest in the e-learning education system since they feel that the cost of such an endeavor would be too high to bear. This is largely because of a change in infrastructure. While schools and colleges are used to investing in items such as pens and paper, desks and benches, blackboards and classrooms, it makes sense that the setup costs for an entirely new system of learning have to be carefully tallied against the school or college’s budget. However, with most e-learning education system methods or tools, the cost is primarily in the setup, which is then mitigated over time due to how much it is used. This means that the cost is a one time cost – an investment into the future, where the returns on such an investment are plentiful.
- Increases Inclusive for Stakeholders
The e-learning education system may seem very modern and cutting edge since it makes use of the latest technology in the educational ecosystem. However, this does not mean that it is out of reach of the common man or exclusionary in any way. In fact, with the growth in low-cost technology and the proliferation of internet connectivity and internet-enabled devices in even the most remote parts of the world, e-learning education system looks increasingly implementable in the present day and age. This is especially important for marginalized communities that ordinarily do not have access, infrastructure or the necessary funding to build and sustain traditional education systems. E-learning makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection and an internet-enabled device to be able to sign into a classroom, which is revolutionary for learners who are often ignored or excluded from traditional systems of learning.
- Easy to Scale Up
Technology for the e-learning education system is built in such a way that there are continual improvement and development being done on the tools that support it. Whether it is a new version of an app with extra features or just advancing hardware, e-learning education system makes it easy for users to keep up with the times through easy patches or increasingly low-cost devices. This means that whether the school or college is small or large, it does make it easier to scale up to meet the present needs of the school when the e-learning education system has been implemented. Being able to easily update via a patch or software upgrade or having the rare hardware update also end up being cost-effective ensures that schools can scale up easily and stay up to date.
- Technology Embracing
In the modern world, the use of technology is becoming ubiquitous. Entire jobs rely on it and there is no industry that has not been affected and embraced technology in some form of the other. It is important for schools and colleges to also prepare their children for this modern world by embracing the use of technology at the very earliest. The easiest and most beneficial way to do this would be through the implementation of e-learning education system, which ensures that students familiarise themselves with the use of various electronic or internet-enabled tools and platforms in their day to day lives, to perform their day to day tasks. Not only do students then become comfortable using technology, but they also understand the systems of thinking that underlie it making them natural learners in an increasingly technology embracing world.
- Lowered Overheads and Labor Cost
Think of the endless overheads of running a school or college – from simple things like pens and papers to storage space for all the physical records that need to be maintained. A traditional education system comes with massive overhead costs. E-learning on the other hand naturally eliminates many of these costs, since so many of the tasks and processes take place electronically. From classroom assignments being submitted using school management systems like Fedena to even the elimination of the need for a physical space to call a classroom, e-learning education system drastically reduces overhead costs for all stakeholders in the educational ecosystem.
The same also applies to labor costs with a traditional education system. Many personnel is required to manage the logistical and temporal demands of a traditional classroom setting – from study materials that are physical to the natural restrictions in the number of students that can be fit in a physical classroom. With e-learning education system such restrictions do not apply. Instead, since many tasks and processes are automated, the need for a human agent to perform them is eliminated resulting in downsizing and reduction in labor costs. This kind of reduction in costs is vital for budget-conscious industries such as education since valuable funds can then be redirected towards more worthy causes that would benefit all stakeholders in the educational ecosystem.
Conclusion: Can e-learning replace traditional education systems?
As we move into the future, it is likely that educators and management will continue to take advantage of the many benefits of e-learning systems. However, some classic traditional education system practices will remain. Rather than creating a false dichotomy where one is forced to choose between a traditional education system and e-learning it is more likely that a new form of systemic learning will emerge that is a blend of the two. We are already seeing this in practice – with virtual classrooms becoming a reality thanks to tools like Uzity learning management system that allows for a seamless experience, for teachers to reach students in remote parts of the world, and even students gaining access to universities, instructors and courses they would ordinarily not have access to through massive online open courses through services like Coursera. So while it is unlikely that the traditional education system will ever be completely eradicated, it will continue to evolve to be inclusive of new forms of technology and learning, via the e-learning education system.