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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Using Online Education Assessments to Foster Greater Learning



Education is an important component to personal and professional growth. Education has moved online and creates a strong platform to reach a wider group of people from a more diverse background. Perera-Diltz & Moe, J. (2014) discusses the use of formative and substantive assessments in online learning platforms and how these contribute to learning. For online professors they can use their knowledge to encourage development in geographically dispersed individuals and groups. 

All knowledge is constructed from previous knowledge and this continues to grow and develop over time as more complex information is added to existing frameworks that create even stronger and wider reaching frameworks. Construction comes from teacher-led learning (Frieire, 2000), collaborative construction between student and teacher (Collins, et. al, 1989), or situated learning framework (Lave & Wenger, 1991). 

Teachers can either lead information by pushing knowledge and retention or they can foster learning through the understandings of the student. Most learning doesn’t happen in isolation and often impacts a wider group of people that benefit from that learning. Group learning is common in classes as well as in society and requires challenging assumptions and reconstructing knowledge on a higher platform. 

Students come to the online course with as many needs as traditional students. They desire the flexibility to continue on with the daily needs and responsibilities of their lives while furthering their educational and career choices. Improvements in online communication tools afford a greater level of student interaction to foster higher levels of social and personal knowledge construction. 

Assessment of that learning is an important part of understanding how much people are learning. Assessments generally come in formative or summative types. Formative types include quizzes, tasks, and other types of course tools that ensure the student is building the necessary blocks that will lead to higher forms of learning. Summative assessments ensure that higher and more complex concepts have been discovered. 

Think of how we learn something new each day but need to find a stronger and wider framework to understand how this information fits within a wider world. Formative assessments are often based in the process of learning the individual parts to the greater conception. Beams and foundation to a finished house so to speak. The summative assessment tries to ensure that the house was actually built and how well that house was built. 

Online learning has been found to have widespread adoption within the U.S. but also offers a version of learning that can apply around the globe (Leppisaari, et. al., 2011). The authors found that online learning has many benefits for a wide variety of people and will continue to develop overtime becoming a primary source of educating people. The advantages of virtual communication being that quality education is not limited to the brick-n-mortar locations of the past but now can reach to anyone with a computer or cell phone.

Collins, A., et. al. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction: Essays in honor of Robert Glaser (pp. 453–494). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Freire, P. (1970/2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. (30th Anniversary). (Trans. M. B. Ramos). New York, NY: Continuum.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge England, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Leppisaari, I., et. al. (2011). International e-benchmarking: Flexible peer development
of authentic learning principles in higher education. Educational Media International, 48(3), 179–191. DOI:10.1080/09523987.2011.607321

Perera-Diltz, D. & Moe, J. (2014). Formative and summative assessment in online education. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 7 (1).

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