Assessing learning is an on-going, complex process which goes way beyond the big gun of the ‘final exam’.  Used effectively, ‘Assessment for Learning’ principles can really motivate learners, and Moodle LMS provides the perfect platform to support this process.

Stop and think by PinkMoose

‘Assessment for Learning’ principles have five key components to aid learner motivation.

  1. Sharing a picture of competence – this means “what will the learner be able to do when they have completed their course?” ie plaster a wall; write an analysis document; or set up a new business.  Once established, this picture of competence needs to be shared with the learner right up front so the learner knows exactly what they are aiming for.  As this picture of competence is fluid depending on the learning outcomes, showcasing it could be done via an embedded video, example documents or links to other site.  Using the Moodle Book means that any picture of competence can be share with the learn up front in their online course.
  2. Questioning – one of the best ways to determine whether a learner understands something, or can do something, is to ask them a series of questions. This helps to gauge how the learning is going and whether anything in the learning program needs adjusting.  Moodle Forums, Chat and Survey provide three great ways in which questions can be posted and posed to learners.
  3. Feed forward (vs Feedback) – providing feedback about what a learner has achieved is important, but providing information which helps the learner move forward is even more important.  Giving feed forward information means helping the learner understand what the next steps are in their learning process or instructions on how to improve what they have done. Moodle Assignments and Rubric (plugin) provide the ideal space to offer learners advice about what they should be doing next.
  4. Self-Assessment – for learners to be truly motivated, they really need to be able to determine how their own learning is progressing.  Offering structured questions such as: What did I just do? Why did I do it? How would I do it different or use it in a different situation? means that learners can reflect on what they are learning and why. Moodle Quizzes and Blogs offer a place for self-assessment either using multiple choice or short answer responses in a quiz, or doing more reflective thinking in their blog.
  5. Peer Review/Assessment – one major motivator for a learner is inter-accountability. That is, having to show others what you have done.  In traditional learning environments, this inter-accountability was solely between the learner and the educator, however, including peers in this process increases a learner’s motivation to ensure their work is of a higher standard than when they were only presenting to an audience of one.  Peers benefit from this process as they need to understand the criteria by which they are reviewing their fellow learners. Moodle Workshop is designed to support this process, and Moodle Glossary and Wiki also provide great tools for collaborative learning.

Assessment for Learning principles are integrated and not linear and they support the process of learning, and not just solely the product of learning.  Assessment for Learning principles are also very learning-centred, as learners learn how to learn, and not just what to learn.  Moodle learning analytic tools (ie logs, activity reports, and course participation) make Moodle an ideal learning environment to help monitor and measure Assessment for Learning.

Want to know more about how Moodle LMS can support and evidence quality teaching and learning? Check these out:

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Motivating Learners with Assessment for Learning in Moodle
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