Pre-assessment for e-learning

The ‘mandatory training’ police have caught up with me again. It seems that I am overdue some of the annual training by over, erm……well, at least a year.

I should point out that I’m a training professional, I’m passionate about ensuring that everyone is fully equipped to conduct their individual roles in a way that is both safe but that adds really value to what we’re trying to achieve.

However, it does strike me that some of this annual mandatory training maybe a bit unnecessary. I appreciate that there is a place for refreshment training on topics like Health & Safety at work but at first glance this mandatory training list appears to be overly long – little packages of training all discretely bundled, thought about, designed and made ‘mandatory’ from all corners of the organisation.

Anyway, all this training has now been transferred to e-learning, oh joy! Of course each element of training still sits in its separate package so I’ll attempt to navigate to them all individually (I haven’t had any training on the e-learning system). Whilst the e-learning aspect means I don’t have to physically attend a training event, it does make me wonder when the content will next be interrogated to determine how well it is aligned with our business goals!

Sorry about the rant, but…..

You may have noticed that this post consists mainly of me having a bit of a rant, and I haven’t even got to the bit that I’m meant to be complaining about yet!

My primary winge is the lack of pre-assessment in some of the e-learning packages where it is evidently appropriate. I should have the opportunity to demonstrate that I know which color fire extinguisher holds what substance to avoid having to sit through some cartoon talking head explaining it to me.

I know that some e-learners do it but please, a plea to all e-learning designers, please consider designing pre-assessment into your e-learning so that users can demonstrate what they already know and can focus on learning/refreshing on the bits they don’t or can’t remember. The frustration of clicking through the bits you do know is intense – and detracts from what could be a positive learning experience for the rest of the material.

And another thing, do e-learning designers (or those who commission it) not care what I though about the training? I would have thought it would be simply enough to build in some immediate feedback mechanisims……with the right design this might even provide some useful data that can then be used to assist in ensuring that your e-learning is aligned with your business objectives.

Are you involved in designing e-learning? If so can you offer any advice on how to incorporate pre-assessment and feedback mechanisms? Are there reasons why you shouldn’t or can’t do this? It would be great to hear any thoughts or experiences in the comments below.

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