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Assessing Participant Learning in Online Environments by Mind Map: Assessing Participant Learning in
Online Environments
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Assessing Participant Learning in Online Environments

Benson, A. D. (2003). "Assessing Participant Learning in Online Environments." New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education Winter 2003(100): 10. Assessing participant learning in online environments provides benefits and challenges. Fortunately, the available technology tools allow for a wide range of assessment techniques

Assessment is key component of any Teaching and Learning System

Needs to be ongoing process, integrated throughout course

Should consist of multiple measures

Confusion between Assessment & Evaluation

Because same data used to analyse learning and measure program effectiveness

Assessment is the activity of measuring student learning, and characteristics such as aptitude and motivation

Three key components to provide helpful guidance for learners and instructors, Measurement of learning objectives, Self-assessment for students to measure their own achievements, Interaction and feedback between and amongst instructor and students

Challenges, Are assessments accurate?, Are they fair to all learners?, Do they measure what they are intended to measure?

Evaluation judges effectiveness and worth of programs and products

Assessment Taxonomies

Not competetive. They refer to purpose of assessment, or the learning domain the assessment best measures. There should be variety in every learning event, as determined by purpose and needs of learner.

Assessment by purpose

Diagnostic assessment, Provides an indicator of learners aptitude. preparedness & ID's possible learning problems

Formative assessment, Provides learners with feedback on progress & informs development, Does not contribute to overall assessment, Goal is to improve teaching & learning

Summative assessment, Provides measure of achievement in respect to learners performance in relation to intended outcomes, Process of gathering, describing or quantifying info about learner performance


Position learners as 'recipients of knowledge whose function is to absorb a body of information'

Measure learning at lowest level of Blooms cognitive domain: knowledge & comprehension

Assessment instruments, Fill-in-the-blank, True/False, Matching, Multi-Choice


Position learners as 'extremely active in the process of learning', encourage and enabled to go beyond surface answers using higher-level thinking skills, Synthesis, Analysis, Evaluation, Learning that falls into affective domain, Feelings, Values, Appreciation, Enthusiasm, Motivations, Attitudes

Assessment instruments, Social learning, Collaboration, Team activities, Peer evaluations, Self-evaluations, Portfolios

Performance Assessment

Measure psychomotor domain, Demonstrations of competence in skill or task, focused on learners ability to apply knowledge, skills and judgement in ill-defined realistic contexts

Key attributes, Focus on complex learning, Involves higher-order cognitive skills, Stimulates a wide range of active responses, Involves challenging tasks that require multiple steps, Requires significant time and effort

Assessing in Online environments


Critical because of lack of f2f direct observation

Academic dishonesty, Learner ID, Work ownership/Plagarism


Technologies that provide extra capabilities beyond traditional classrooms, Allows every student to respond to every question instructors ask, email provides ability to provide fresh responses, free from peer influence, Discussion threads enable them to build on others thoughts, Instructor can provide immediate feedback to each learner

Online Assessment Strategies & Techniques

3 Questions to answer when developing

What is being assessed?

What is the purpose?

What is the scope?

Successful strategies answer the 3 questions and combine (depending on domain of outcome)







Selected response, Multi-Choice, True/False, Matching

Constructed response, Fill in the blanks, Short answer, Show your work, Visual depiction

Virtual Discussions, Synchronous, Expected time of arrival, Responds voluntarily, Responds when prompted, Generates new ideas, Asynchronous, Allows users to construct and craft answers through thoughtful reflection, Rubrics, direct students towards effective discussions, Make assessing easier, Should include:, Frequency of access, Level of participation, Reads messages, Posts messages, Comprehensive responses, Posts new ideas, Sythesises and analyses peers ideas, Integrates with course content, Stimulates discussion

Concept mapping, Show journey over time, Provides instructor with feedback on learner understanding, Identifies where instructional emphasis is needed

Portfolio, Shows solution and process of journey, Evidence of complex cognitive process to construct valid solution, Summative, primarily, Formative, iteratively, Rubrics, Content, Clarity, Style

Writing, Feedback can be provided via track changes - Insert comment

Field Experiences, formats, Internships, Clinical assignments, Apprenticeships, Laboratory assignments, Assessing, Performance reports, Portfolios, Journals, Video, Rubrics, Detailed project descriptions, Dates and times, Learning expectations

Problem-Solving simulations

Individual and Group projects

Informal student feedback

Peer feedback