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Evaluating online learningpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) Measuring learning
LEARNING IS THE PRIMARY objective of any training event and, as such, must be measured if you are to know whether the event has been successful. The techniques that you use to measure learning depend to a large extent on the type of learning that the course has been designed to achieve. One way of looking at types of learning is in terms of the three learning domains.

The cognitive domain includes all knowledge and those skills that require thought rather than practical action. There are many ways of testing for cognitive learning:

  • essays
  • written or verbal tests
  • problem-solving exercises
  • interviews

The affective domain is concerned with attitudes and emotions. This is a harder area to test for learning, but there are some options:

  • attitude surveys or questionnaires
  • interviews
  • group meetings

The psychomotor domain covers all practical skills. There's usually only one way to test for practical skills and that's to have them performed, although in certain circumstances they can be simulated (many pilots only ever get to use a flight simulator before flying a new plane for real).

Many, but certainly not all types of learning can be assessed online:

Online methods include:

  • submission of essays as email attachments
  • on-screen tests
  • problem-solving exercises
  • assessment using one-to-one chat

In this domain, online methods include:

  • questionnaires using web page forms
  • one-to-one chat
  • group chat

The psychomotor domain is not well suited to online measurement, unless the subject happens to be use of the mouse or keyboard.

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