Siobhan Ogilvy gives TJ some 21st century assessment tips.
Reading time: 3m 30s.
Right across the globe there is an unprecedented demand for education, qualifications and certification. The 2019 Global Market Insights report forecasts the elearning market will surpass $300bn by 2025. No wonder, when there is a clear correlation between the level of qualification a person attains and their earning potential.
The simple truth is that the higher the qualification, the higher the salary. So demand for easy access to training and professional qualifications continues apace. Elearning has hugely increased the availability of and accessibility to course material anywhere in the world, allowing qualification and certification providers to scale globally.
However, if you are offering an accredited qualification there is usually some form of valid and secure assessment at the end of the training process – which raises the question, how can that assessment be provided in a way that is similarly scalable and accessible?
Expecting learners, especially those who may have taken the training online, to travel miles to the nearest test centre and possibly take time off work is not ideal – it is time-consuming, inconvenient and often costly.
One of the big shifts in assessment technology has been the ability to deliver exams using live remote invigilation.
Think of the analogy of buying a set of headphones online. You spend time reading headphone reviews on various websites, you browse numerous online stores, and finally you make your choice and go through the checkout process.
Next a screen displays telling you that the headphones can be collected at 4pm next Wednesday from the nearest delivery point, which is 80 miles away. This exact eyebrow-raising scenario is in place for the vast majority of summative assessments, where even though a student may have gone through most of the studying online, they still have to physically attend a centre to do the assessment.
Not only is this not candidate-friendly, the logistics and costs of organising test centres and on-site invigilators are a real headache.
Assessment technology providers have been working to find solutions to this problem, and some of these solutions are gaining traction in the marketplace. One of the big shifts in assessment technology has been the ability to deliver exams using live remote invigilation.
This is where at the end of a training course, a candidate can sit their exam online while being supervised over-the-web by a trained invigilator, who monitors them using secure technologies, effectively re-creating the ‘test centre experience’ online.
This can include video and audio streaming, remote screen share and the exam session is typically recorded. Candidates can be given the option to book an exam time that suits them, then sit their assessment from their home or office.
With remote invigilation, a candidate will either download an exam application to their computer or they can access the assessment through their browser, depending on the type of solution and the level of security required.
At exam time, the candidate is given the option to connect to their supervisor, who will check their environment and validate their identity, before allowing access to the exam. With “live” remote invigilation, the candidate is monitored by a person for the duration of the exam.
If they do anything outside of the exam rules, the invigilator will take action, which can be anything from asking them to stop particular behaviour right through to actually terminating the exam in the case of a severe infringement.
The exam rules are set by the examining body and the invigilator enforces these rules in the same way as in an exam hall. For the most part this type of technology has been approved by qualifications regulators, when they are reassured there are sufficient controls and procedures in place to ensure the integrity of the exam.
It’s logical that if you want to scale an online course offering, you need a convenient and user-friendly way to provide the end-of-course assessment, but it still has to be secure and robust. It does require forward-thinking and a willingness to look into some of the new technology and modern solutions.
It seems well worth exploring if you want flexible qualification provision into the future, especially given the increasingly competitive marketplace.
About the author
Siobhan Ogilvy is marketing director of TestReach