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Evaluation

 

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The Evaluation Blue Print

Most instructional design experts agree that assessments or evaluations should be written during the analysis phase.  The purpose of identifying assessments first is to establish a base line of content that correlates with the course objectives.  Unfortunately, some instructional designers wait until the end of the development phase to create the course assessment or test. 

The challenge of writing assessments or tests at the end of the development phase is the difficulty in aligning the objectives with the contents of the course to evaluate the learner’s knowledge.  The inexperienced instructional designer often fails to recognize the purpose of measuring the learner’s knowledge gained during the course.  Thus, the inexperienced instructional designer gleans through the content and picks a topic from a paragraph or page and writes a question or two about the topic.   This approach rarely provides a link back to the course objectives and fails to measure the learner’s knowledge appropriately.  Consider the following concepts when developing course assessments:

During The Analysis Phase

Once you have identified the course objectives, begin to categorize the objectives by topics. This is a great way to identify how the information should be divided within the course to maximize the learning process.  Based on the categories, identify key questions that relate to the objective and category.    This will help you as you move through the various phases of ADDIE.  Below is an example of how to implement this concept.

Objective Category Evaluation Question

Given a computer and access to ABC system, navigate to the operation help page within 30 seconds.

System Navigation

What link do you click to access the operations help page?
When talking to a potential customer, explain the features and benefits of the ABC Widget Product within the 5 minute standard call time

Product Knowledge

Customer Service

What are the benefits of the ABC Widget Product?

What ABC Widget Product feature allows a potential customer to use a mobile device?
Given a calculator and the product worksheet, quote a price for the customer within the 5 minute standard call time

Product Knowledge

Calculator Knowledge

What price would the customer pay for an 11 X 10 widget that requires a special handling?

What formula would you enter into a calculator to determine the widget’s shipping rate?

During The Design Phase

After categorizing the course objectives, the instructional designer will be able to use the document as a tool to design the course around the objectives.   Like an inspector who ensures that a house is built to legal specifications, this evaluation blue print helps the instructional designer to ensure that key elements are included in designing the course. The instructional designer should refer often to this evaluation blue print to ensure that the contents match the desired outcomes of the objectives.   Because categories were identified for the objectives, the design process becomes easier to manage. As the course is designed, the categories will help to “chunk” information into a logical sequence to assist the learner in understanding the concepts within the course.

During The Development Phase

The development phase becomes easier because the course is now designed around the objectives.  The instructional designer also has identified how information is organized and how it should be developed.  Using this information, the instructional designer can use the blue print to help validate each piece of the content throughout the development phase to ensure that it matches the design intent.

During the Implementation Phase

The evaluation blue print is a great resource during the implementation phase. It now becomes a checklist for the facilitator to validate that the objectives are presented throughout the implementation phase. It can also assist in directing conversations and activities within the course to ensure that discussions are focused on the course objectives.

During The Evaluation Phase

Finally, the assessment blue print plays a key role in administering the course assessment.  It provides a road map to key topics within the course to clarify content or confirm answers.  It can also assist the instructional designer to identify areas within the course that may lack information required for the learner to meet the objectives.

SUMMARY

The process of identifying assessment questions during the Analysis phase of ADDIE can bring great dividends to instructional designers when creating a course.  It is a fundamental principle that can help create the link between the content and the course objectives.  By following these guidelines, the instructional designer can create a course that achieves the expectations and objectives of the client.

 

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