How to Improve Your Digital Training Programs With Formative Assessment
Professional development. Continuing education. Ongoing competency training. Whatever you choose to call your program, it’s crucial to achieving your business goals, and it means providing opportunities for your employees to learn.
While there are benefits to in-person training, hosting courses online through a learning management system is often more convenient for your staff. It’s even better when training can be completed without disrupting regular workflows. That said, you want to ensure your digital training programs effectively bring value to your employees and, ultimately, your organization.
Using formative assessments throughout your courses can help engage your learners, deepen their understanding of topics, and enhance your programs.
What Is Formative Assessment?
A formative assessment is a teaching practice that informs instructors of learners’ initial understanding of the subject matter. Instructors can then adjust lessons as necessary to better meet their students’ needs.
Instructors also provide learners with thoughtful and actionable feedback following these types of activities. This enables the learners to revise their work until they’ve reached the level of competency required to move on to more challenging material.
Some common examples of techniques used in formative assessments include short quizzes, group discussions, role-playing activities, and surveys. All of these activities provide data points about your employees’ current understanding of the skills you want them to learn. The activities are quick, and instructors provide immediate feedback (or as immediate as is possible) so learners can apply it to future activities.
“Formative assessments benefit the learner by deepening their understanding of course topics. Activities like discussion forums encourage learners to think critically about subjects and potentially apply new skills in more abstract ways”
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Why Should You Use Formative Assessment in Your Training Programs?
Surveys, discussions, gamification, and other similar learning activities can be used to give instructors insights into the effectiveness of your training courses. They serve as quick check-ins throughout a learning module that tell the instructor whether students understand course topics. When data from these activities shows that learners are struggling with a concept, it can be an indicator that something in the training should be added or adjusted.
Formative assessments benefit the learner by deepening their understanding of course topics. Activities like discussion forums encourage learners to think critically about subjects and potentially apply new skills in more abstract ways.
A question-and-answer session is another common example. During an in-person training course, the instructor can determine if the employees understand a topic based on how they respond to prompts. When they struggle with an idea, the instructor can adjust their delivery and use different strategies to improve the employees’ understanding of the topic. Instructors can also differentiate their teaching methods for individuals as needed.
The same strategy can be used in online training programs. Live discussion can occur if you utilize synchronous online training, but many learning activities throughout asynchronous course modules can also be used to assess learners’ understanding of topics while still leaving room for instructors to make adjustments.
“Getting quick check-in activities into your digital learning programs doesn’t need to be complicated. Existing activities in your learning library can be modified to work as formative activities according to your needs.”
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How Do You Include Formative Assessments in Digital Training?
Getting quick check-in activities into your digital learning programs doesn’t need to be complicated. Existing activities in your learning library can be modified to work as formative activities according to your needs.
Quizzes are a common assessment tool in digital learning environments. In addition to the standard multiple-choice options, quizzes can include answer types like drag-and-drop, written responses, and more. Quiz settings can also be changed to give learners instant or delayed feedback. To make these assessments formative, it’s important for learners to be able to finish the quiz quickly and receive timely feedback.
Surveys are another great way to get information from your learners. Although surveys are often used for course evaluations, they can also be incorporated into the learning modules. This gives your learners an opportunity to showcase what they know so far about a concept. Instructors can then provide more learning resources or differentiate as necessary for those learners who may need additional support.
Some LMS providers offer options to further personalize learning based on actions within a course module. For example, Open LMS’s Personalized Learning Designer can be configured to send messages and alerts to instructors automatically when learners don’t meet a specific threshold. This quickly makes the instructor aware of who needs additional support throughout a training course. It’s an effective way to gather formative data and instantly use the information to address learners’ needs.
“Employee training is an investment for your organization. When your employees take a professional development course, it’s crucial they come away from the training with a deeper understanding of the skills you need them to learn”
Engage Your Employees While Gathering Data
Employee training is an investment for your organization. When your employees take a professional development course, it’s crucial they come away from the training with a deeper understanding of the skills you need them to learn. You want them to apply what they’ve learned to their daily work in order to improve their knowledge and your business operations. That said, you’ll likely want to provide training opportunities that don’t disrupt your employees’ workflows.
Formative assessments are a powerful instructional strategy used during in-person training that can be replicated in digital learning programs. You can incorporate formative activities by taking advantage of the available resources within your LMS. Quizzes, surveys, and other similar activities can be used strategically to engage your employees, gather data about their learning, and give your instructors the opportunity to provide meaningful feedback.Open LMS can help you enhance your formative assessments and make the most of your training programs. To learn more, request a demo or contact us today.