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The different types of evaluation in e-learning

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Have you launched your e-learning course? Defined your goals, composed your modules? You have already made good progress. Now you need to design your evaluation. Assessing your actions, identifying any weak points, highlighting areas for improvement,, etc. — evaluating your e-learning is a key factor in ensuring your long-term development. The learning curve is not only for learners; trainers have every interest in following it too. How to get the most out of the e-learning evaluation? By choosing the right tools, asking the right questions, leaving no room for interpretation, etc. In this article, we take a look at the different types of e-learning evaluation to give you a comprehensive overview and some tips regarding your choice of tool.

Before listing all the different forms that an evaluation can take, let’s just remind ourselves of why it is necessary and the logic behind it:

  1. Design your evaluation according to your training goals. We tend to get a little lost when we enter the evaluation phase. Because it takes places after the creation of your modules, you are sure to have questions linked to your learning. An effective evaluation, however, must be based on your goals, not on your content. If, for example, your goal is ‘To use your knowledge in your day-to-day work’, do not ask simply whether your trainee has retained the article in law X mentioned in module 3, but rather test their ability to use it in a specific context.
  2. Your evaluation must not only cover the knowledge learned but also the level of learning: beginner, intermediate or expert. The content of your training and the trainees will help you to define these thresholds to be attained. They will also enable you know whether your e-learning has been successful.

Use this list of evaluation formats to select the type that suits you best and conduct your evaluations in a calm and relaxed atmosphere!

E-learning evaluation with a multiple-choice questionnaire (MCQ)

Using multiple-choice questions to conduct an evaluation is very practical and enables you to avoid any confusion and subjective analysis. As there are right and wrong questions, the MCQ requires little time to analyse and the result is not influenced by the evaluator. MCQs can also be more comprehensive than you might think. They are ideal for situations involving exchanges and are very compatible with Serious Games.

E-learning evaluation with binary questions

Another option in which the answers are not subject to interpretation is to use true/false questions. The true/false format is ideal for very factual information like laws, legislation, dates and facts: either the learner knows the answer or they don’t, there is no in-between.

E-learning evaluation with gap-fill exercises

Do you want to check technical knowledge? Create sentences like ‘The [part] goes in the [machine] in order to [action]’. Gap-fills enable you to highlight precise, factual information. Tip: when evaluating the responses, consider synonyms and spelling mistakes.

E-learning evaluation with drag-and-drop exercises

This exercise is simple: one side of the screen contains information, blocks or principles in no particular order and the other side of the screen is for displaying the same elements in the right order. The trainees therefore has to drag the elements from one side of the screen to the other. Drag-and-drop is useful for reconstituting the chronology of an event, highlighting the coordination of a project or completing a map.

E-learning evaluation with pairing

Pairing implies matching things. It therefore highlights the connection between two ideas, pieces of information or objects. Consider the links between parts and machines, causes and effects and changes brought about by a reform, etc. All the answers are provided on the screen; you are not testing your learners’ memorization skills. Rather, you are assessing their sense of logic and understanding given what they have been taught. Learners will be able to make some connections because they have understood your e-learning, and others through a process of elimination.

E-learning evaluation with free answers

The most common form consists in asking questions and allowing the learner to express themselves freely. This format is useful for discovering the logic, the functioning or the understanding of a principle. You can also use it for the explanation or demonstration of a principle.

E-learning evaluation with virtual reality

The best way to test what your trainees have learned is through experience. If you only test their theoretical understanding, you will only have half the answer. This is why you can’t get your driving licence only by passing the theory test!

Experience of real-life situations are key. As such, throw your learners into situations they are likely to encounter after they complete your course. For distance-learning, consider immersive solutions. The more immersive your solution, the more effective it will be, either for handling questions linked to security in a bank, the fight against corruption or movements near a hazardous area, for example.

With virtual reality headsets and the associated software, you can create a tailored environment to test your learners, their knowledge, their behaviour and their reactions. Have they retained the right attitudes? The legal texts? The safety rules or rules of negotiation? You can find this out by immersing them in a realistic situation.

There are many solutions out there for designing the most suitable form of evaluation for your e-learning course. Don’t forget that the types of evaluation you choose depend on the subject to be evaluated and not vice versa. Remember: this article has focused on evaluation at the end of an e-learning course. Nothing prevents you, however, from conducting an evaluation at the start or in the middle of your course.


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