How Learning Management Systems Can Help Assessments

Learning Management Systems

A Learning Management System (LMS) is an integrated online software used for creating, delivering, tracking, and reporting educational courses and outcomes. It can be used to support traditional face-to-face instruction and blended/hybrid and distance learning environments.

A learning Management System is a technology leveraged to assess what your child has learned, through different types of questions such as ‘Fill in the blanks, Multiple Choice Questions, Match the list, Yes or No questions, etc…

It incorporates personalized adaptive testing modules that run in a systematic and continuous mode to get the best results

In general, there are two kinds of assessment of a student’s progress: qualitative and quantitative. eLearning platforms are usually more adapted to the second, but a good LMS will offer you all the tools you need to assist you in the first too.

eLearning might not usually offer the face-to-face examination of a student (though it can offer that too, in the case of video sessions), but LMS platforms offer a plethora of traditional and novel ways to measure your student’s progress, with the added benefit of automating the tedious manual grading process.

Let’s have a look at some of the tools LMS platforms offer for student assessment and their characteristics within an eLearning context.

Tests and quizzes

Whether in a traditional school setting or in eLearning, those two are the bread and butter of measuring student performance. They might not offer a thorough qualitative assessment of a student’s progress, but they can be very effective in exposing problematic areas in his/hers understanding (or simply lack of studying).

eLearning tests have several advantages over traditional pen-and-paper tests. They can be randomized, so that each student gets his own personal version of the test (this can help prevent cheating). They can be personalized, so that each student gets a test tailored to his progress thus far.

They can incorporate a variety of question types, including multimedia and interactive ones. And, last but not least, they can be graded by the LMS in a matter of seconds.

Exercises

Exercises are sort of like quizzes but their primary role is to help the student familiarize himself with the material, rather than assess his command of it. To use a sports analogy, exercises are like practice, whereas tests and quizzes are like sport events and competitions.

That said, exercises can still be graded, and can serve as an additional indicator of possible issues in the student’s understanding of the course.

Unlike quiz questions, exercises can (and should) be slightly repetitive, so that the student slowly familiarizes with the material and the techniques for answering questions and solving problems based on it.

Homework and projects

eLearning, while automating many aspects of the learning process, does not do away with the traditional homework, both in the form of lengthier exercises to be done at the students home and submitted later for evaluation (e.g in a word processor format for an essay, or as a computer program for a programming course) and larger, more involved, course projects that a student (or a group of students) has to work on.

The assessment and grading of homework and course projects is usually done manually, by the supervising or assistant instructor handling the eLearning course, but the LMS platform can still automate several aspects of the whole procedure, like automatically accepting student submissions (through file upload), cataloging and presenting them to the teacher, providing grade entry forms and storing the students’ grades alongside those automatically calculated by the LMS.

One-to-one sessions

Alongside tests, quizzes and exercises, a lot of LMS platforms offer the capability of direct instructor and learner interaction. This can take the form of a video or audio teleconference session, an online chat, or a combination of the above.

These kinds of one-to-one sessions can be especially helpful to get a qualitative assessment of your students, to encourage and assist them with particularly problematic for their parts of the course, and, last but not least, to weed out cheaters.

Reports

A modern LMS platform can assist the teacher in the evaluation of a student by presenting his progress in all kinds of ways, including in the form of easy-to-grasp plots and graphs. The latter might sound superficial, but it’s impressive how much more easier they make spotting problems in a student’s performance.

In a modern LMS platform, the grades from every test, quiz, exercise result, or homework can be stored, tracked, and presented (even in real-time), without all the tedious paperwork that this would entail in the traditional classroom environment.

This is perhaps the most powerful tool that an eLearning trainer has at his disposal in order to assess a particular student’s progress or even the overall effectiveness of his courses.

Parental access to class schedule, outlines and assessment 

Parents and guardians can have access to their child’s calendar, class timetable, outline and assessment dates. This creates opportunities for conversation to meaningfully occur outside of class time and parents or guardians can actively engage in their child’s learning. For students who need help with organisation, this can be a big help. 

Enables diverse assessment options

Assessment can take place online via multiple formats in an LMS. Short quizzes, multiple choice, and questionnaires all provide the opportunity to deliver immediate feedback. Teachers can also reference an external site including video formats and apply questions or topics from that stimulus. Students have the option to upload their work in multiple formats including screencasts, podcasts, or videos. 

Transparency on feedback 

Feedback from a teacher for formative and summative tasks can be easily shared with the student via the class page of an LMS. These can also be sent onto the parental page and allows all feedback to be kept and stored so students can easily access and act in later tasks.

Tracking student data

Data from student assessment and attendance can be stored in the LMS and used to provide progression with learning. Those students who need extra support across subjects can also be easily identified. Likewise, students who are gifted and talented in more than one subject can be highlighted.