Why switch to eAssessment?

Technology is changing the way we deliver education, training, and evaluate a candidate. We are no longer restricted to the traditional ways of working.

 

 

Terms such as Online Assessment, e-Assessment, or Technology-Enhanced Assessment, which are used to cover a wide range of topics, can be confusing if you’re new to the concept. We tend to refer to e-Assessment. eAssessment offers organisations many advantages over a traditional paper-based approach, including cost savings, convenience, ease of marking as well as speeding up the process of qualifications being awarded.

Here are our top reasons why you should make the switch to eAssessment.

1. Reducing the time and effort for trainers

With an eAssessment system, you spend less time prepping and marking and more time educating and developing candidate’s future skills. When it comes to creating your questions, most assessment systems, including our eAssessment platform, eNetAssess, allow you to create a large question bank with numerous questions. You can set it so every student gets a random selection from that question bank. This helps to minimize question order bias and improve overall quality.  You can also keep the questions fresh and relevant as questions can be easily updated or added. This can be done by anyone who has been given access to the question bank, enabling trainers to work collaboratively no matter where they are in the world.

An example where this has worked well was with our client OGICA who wanted to create an end-to-end self-assessment system, to enable operational geoscientists to identify their strengths and any gaps in their current skill set. They used our eAssessment platform, eNetAssess, taking full advantage of the benefits of a question bank, adding over 900 questions that are chosen at random by the system each time a candidate takes an exam.  They also continually add questions, submitted by OGICA members and industry peers, with a target of significantly increasing the number of questions in the database each year.

2. Providing direct and immediate feedback for learners

Having automatic marking cuts down on marking time, helping trainers assess large numbers of candidates more easily. It also means that, in some cases, results can be delivered to candidates on the day. Research has proven that feedback is most effective when delivered as soon as possible after the assessment is taken, for both formative and summative assessments. It also allows candidates to immediately rebook any tests/exams if they haven’t passed.

By using an eAssessment system like eNetAssess, trainers are able to instantly see a candidate's learning progress giving them a clear picture of progress and where skills gaps exist, which enables them to tailor their training when needed.

3. Reducing administrative burden

eAssessment significantly reduces the administrative burden on the trainer and on the organisation. In the lead-up to an exam, you save time on printing and distribution of exam documentation.  All exam information can be sent via email and depending on what question types you use, for example, multiple choice, trainers no longer have to spend hours marking papers not to mention the time taken for coordinating the delivery of results.

 You can also avoid the logistical challenges involved with issuing paper certificates by opting for an eAssessment solution which includes digital micro-credentialing where digital badges are issued in recognition of skills and knowledge gained. These are more secure than a paper certificate due to the unique code and meta-data included within each badge which enables accredited centres, potential employers, organisations, and individuals to confirm the badge is valid and identify the organisation that issued the badge. This makes it easier for candidates to prove their qualifications and helps them demonstrate their certifications more quickly.  

 We recently successfully helped the International Well Control Forum (IWCF) integrate online certification, cutting out printing and shipping costs and there has also been a significant reduction in the amount of administration time needed.

“The eCom team has supported us through all stages of the project lifecycle, whilst offering expert e-learning advice to ensure our system is innovative and scalable to meet the current and future demands of our customers.” Antony Quin, Chief Executive Officer, IWCF

4. Making assessment more eco-friendly 

eAssessment gives your organisation the opportunity to go paperless as all exam-related papers, printing, and transportation of the same is completely eliminated. There’s less need to travel to and from exam locations meaning your carbon footprint is greatly reduced.

5. Scaling, flexibility, and worldwide reach 

A common misconception is that eAssessment is only for bigger organisations holding large numbers of exams every day, but that is not the case. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to using eAssessments as they can easily be adapted to work with your company’s needs, so you can scale up easily if required. Switching to eAssessment enables candidates to easily take exams no matter their location - from the comfort of their own home or at a testing facility. Exams can be accessed via a mobile phone, tablet, or PC giving candidates the flexibility to use the device that is easiest for them or that best suits the assessment type. We work with clients who have testing centres all over the world, helping them modernise the examination process for their professional qualifications.

 eAssessment offers great flexibility. Using our secure offline solution, testing centres with internet connectivity issues can offer the same eAssessment experience as those using online assessment. Having offline with sync has opened the doors to many new customers going online. Giving both online and offline access means that everybody, no matter where or when, can access the same system and record their results, in the same way, using the same process. This flexible approach helped IWCF achieve their aims and won the eAssessment Association’s Innovation Award.

IWCF offer High-stakes exams at training centres throughout the world. Centres with poor internet connectivity can use pre-programmed Raspberry Pi devices to download and upload assessments from a secure online link, for use at their centres. Assessments are then automatically marked, with results issued to candidates once the scripts are uploaded back into the centre database.

Generic image of technology

 

6. Increasing security 

Managing and maintaining the security and safety of traditional exam paperwork can be extremely stressful for organisations. With eNetAssess all data is stored safely and securely.  Our assessment tool eNetAssess prevents candidates from navigating to other websites, closing down the browser, or opening up any applications. We are experienced in delivering online high-stake examinations, and use the same security standards across all our client projects. i.e. the latest encryption techniques, employing new security tools as they become available, and working with our hosting partners to do as much as possible to prevent any downtime or data issues. In fact, eCom is Cyber Essentials Plus qualified. 

 

7. Delivering cost savings 

In making the switch to eAssessment, there are often substantial savings that can be made.

Let’s look at the key of areas of assessment that incur cost:

  • Creation -Test design, item development, and subject matter experts travel expenses.
  • Production - Printing and collating papers, posting papers out and handling at the testing centre.
  • Delivery - Venue and equipment hire, security and or special needs adaptation and post papers back to admin headquarters.
  • Invigilator and Admin - Invigilator costs and test admin salary.
  • Travel for quality assurance/site audit - Hotel costs and subsistence and travel.
  • Marking and scoring - Posting papers from Admin centre to marker, marking of assessment material, posting papers back from marker to admin centres and post marking moderation activity.
  • Certification - Certificate creation and posting.

By considering the costs involved with each of these components you will be able to see where you can save when switching to eAssessment. As an example let’s benchmark the cost of assessments using the below information.generic assumptions imageUsing these assumptions below is an approximate estimate of what you could save by switching to eAssessment. This would vary of course depending on your business needs.

 

Generic graph showing  43% savings when using eAssessment

 

By using a tool like eNetAssess, which offers a full range of eAssessment options, you could save your organisation money in the long term.

eAssessment Calculator

Want to know how much you could save over the year by switching to eNetAssess? Try our eAssessment calculator. Input what your current yearly costs are for traditional paper-based assessments in the following areas:

eCom Savings Calculator

Enter your current yearly costs for traditional paper based assessments in the following areas:

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This can be test design, item development and subject matter experts travel expenses.
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This can be printing and collating papers, posting papers out and handling at the testing centre.
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This can be venue and equipment hire, security and or special needs adaptation and post papers back to admin headquarters.
£
This can be invigilator costs and test admin salary.
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This can be hotel costs and subsistence and travel.
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This can be posting papers back from marker to admin centres and post marking moderation activity.
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This can be certificate creation and posting.
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Any other costs not already covered.

*Disclaimer- The information provided by eCom in this ‘eAssessment Calculator’ is based on the assumptions shown above, is for illustrative purposes only and accuracy is not guaranteed. Any results are hypothetical and may not be applicable to your particular organisation. This calculator does not have the ability to pre-qualify you for any savings when using eCom’s products and services. If you would like more information on your particular results, please email connect@ecomscotland.com

8. Reporting on assessments 

Using eAssessment means you have access to quick and clear reports on a candidate’s progress, what areas they are strong in and what areas may need more training. You can report on how the questions are being answered to spot questions that may need to be changed, either because they are too easy or too difficult. Or it may be that the entire assessment should be changed.

You can report on assessment completion rates across the organisation and by department, so you can see, for example, that only half of your employees have passed the mandatory health and safety assessment and more training is required to get the others up to standard. From analysing the questions to see which ones were answered incorrectly by that group, you can tailor the training you provide so they only spend time learning what they need to know, rather than what they’ve already mastered.

You can use the reporting to check that your compliance obligations are being met, for example, that mandatory training has been completed to the required standard and that everyone has passed the assessment and is competent in their role

9. Creating assessments that are accessible to all 

It’s easy to adapt assessments to make them accessible, for example changing the background colour or font size. It’s also simple to allocate extra time if needed. Tools such as navigation features and screen readers can be used to aid understanding as well as other tools that help with question answering such as voice recognition. Of course, these are not limited to just the assessment stage and good practice is to ensure that accessible digital learning is offered beforehand. Small changes in teacher practice and IT infrastructure can transform the way someone learns, enabling them to have a better experience. Providing teaching and assessment materials in an accessible format is something eCom have done for RNIB, helping them incorporate new learning technology while still following accessibility best practice.

“The mutually beneficial partnership between eCom and RNIB has enabled us to pool our combined expertise; to learn and support one another to achieve our aim of creating accessible eLearning.” Services Manager, RNIB Learning Choices

10. Offering exams digitally since candidates prefer that 

As a global community, on the whole, we are used to using technology and the younger generations are all but experts in using laptops, phones, and tablets. The use of these devices as part of our daily lives (in work and home) means we have developed a familiarity with this way of working and are therefore arguably more comfortable with this than with a paper and pen. This association with technology may provide for a more relaxed and engaging way to take exams.

11.Engaging content 

eAssessment can encourage active learning especially when the assessment delivery is innovative and engaging. Using visuals and audio can help candidates focus on the exam subject matter, rather than just looking at a long string of words and sentences page after page, which can strain the brain. Content can have a variety of question types from multiple-choice, essay, multiple responses, case studies, infield (observational) and many more. This makes it easier to suit all types of assessment needs.

12. Offering virtual reality eAssessment 

As immersive technology is increasingly being adopted as a learning tool, we are seeing a growing demand for the use of VR in assessments. VR offers new ways to measure an individual’s reaction, as well as performance and skill level. VR can create a safe space that enables not only authentic measurable assessment but also an authentic assessment experience for the candidate. It gives the assessor the perfect opportunity to get an accurate representation of how a learner would perform in a real environment without the risk.

Our VR learning and assessment authoring tool eNetReality makes VR assessments more accessible to a wider range of organisations and gives a more accurate picture of each candidate’s skill level. You can then measure your team’s ability, identify strengths and weaknesses and accelerate skills growth.

Still unsure?

We understand the challenges you may be facing when considering switching to eAssessment. The following are two of the most common:

IT provision - Having consistency in the IT provision available, especially for bigger organisations that may have exams across the world can be tricky. If you’re worried about insufficient or unreliable internet and local network capabilities, the good news is that this doesn’t present a challenge for eNetAssess since the offline functionality means you can offer the same eAssessment experience as those using online assessment.

Implementation challenges - We all know change is hard sometimes, especially digital change. When switching to eAssessment you may experience resistance because of cost or perhaps because your candidates and stakeholders are unsure of the eAssessment process. A common misconception about implementation is that everything has to be put online immediately. However, you can, for example, use a gradual adoption approach, typically involving the dual running of paper and on-screen assessments for a while until you’re ready to make the switch to online exclusively.

If these are things you recognise, do get in touch - we've helped many clients with similar challenges in the past to successfully make the switch to eAssessment and we would be happy to help you do the same.

To read more about the benefits of eAssessment in practice, read some of our case studies and take inspiration from organisations that are already enjoying the benefits eAssessment can bring.

 

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