Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Potential applications for online testing

With most of the companies around the globe adopting online training for their employees it is inevitable for them to seek methods/systems to measure the level of learning. Most of the online courses will have some sort of a test or assessment at the end, which the trainee will be asked to submit before they can get their certifications. Quizzes within courses are meant to teach and test the understanding of the training. In other words, these tests within courses are primarily from a training perspective.

But what about the cases where your primary objective is not to provide course material but to test the candidate’s knowledge over a wide variety of skills/subjects? The organization (or the examiner) needs to be able to set metrics and measure the test takers against these metrics. You have to prepare over a wide set of skills and then take an online exam which will behave differently for each candidate. The idea behind this diversity is the usage of question pools to create such exams. Most of these desktop tools will let you create question pools and the like but it will be much easier if you could create questions in the LMS itself and then set up online exams which can be later assigned to candidates.

Vitalect's Techniq Certifier is such an online exam system.  It provides you the ability to create question pools from which you can re-use a set of questions over and over again, spanned across a number of exams. So you won't have to re-create the questions every time when you are dealing with exams of similar nature.

Let us consider some real life examples. An organizations might wish to qualify their consultants before they send them out into the field to work with their customers. They will let the aspiring consultants take these tests in a proctored environment and see the results. If the candidates fail then they can be enabled to take the test again after a certain time period. Since the questions for the same exam comes from a pool of questions the candidates will be tested differently in the subsequent attempts.

Additionally you can set up timed exams with a passing score; you can limit the exam attempts and even restrict the number of times that the end-user can close/kill the browser window in which the test appears. This ensures that the attendees stay focused on the exams and do not (find time to) indulge in any sort of malpractice. Then there is the ability to display the Incorrect responses to attendees at the end of the exam which they could review and do better in the next attempt.

The Certifier also allows you to set up user groups so that some exams are available only to a selected group and not the others. This makes it easier for the companies since they will now only need to set up exams and assign it to the appropriate groups and don't have to worry about other departments or outsiders accidentally getting access to these exams.

Another potential application for the Certifier is the case of a teacher delivering private tutoring classes for a number of students. You provide loads of study material for your students with the intention of conducting objective type tests for your students. The amount of paper work involved grows exponentially with the number of students. Can you imagine the potential time saving if this entire process was completely automated? 

With such an online system, you could simply instruct the students to go over the study materials, register and login at the online portal where you have already set up the exam(s) and take the exams. It's as simple as that. Even if they fail they can be asked to re-take the exam. For people taking competitive exams, it’s about practice, you take more and more from the pool you get better.

Once the student clears the exam then you won't have to go through their papers to review the answers. The system could provide you with easy-to-understand reports with which you will be able to track each student's progress. You could even compare the difficulty levels of each and every question in the system. This will most certainly let you prepare better for the next batch of students and thereby fetch much improved results in the subsequent years.

These are just two potential applications for the online testing system. Another example is where organization might be required qualify nurses and doctors in the healthcare industry and issue continuing education (CE) credits. Clearly, there are several more industries where an online testing system can be applied. Training ad certification go hand in hand. Most organizations who provide training are likely to require some level of certification. 

So if you have a need for such a system feel free to test drive our Techniq Certifier platform. It is available as a standalone system as well as integrated with our Techniq University platform. 

Contributed by Anoop Mukundan (Product Specialist at Vitalect)