Mobile Assessment

February 22, 2009

So how do you assess your learners? It’s a key question really. One that we don’t always answer.

All too often we fall back on traditional methods as it makes life easier for us as practitioners. You know, write an essay, complete an assignment, give a presentation,etc…

Of course this means when it comes to using mobile devices for assessment, you have a quandary over how to use them to assess learners. Despite improvements in text input, generally most learners will prefer not to enter large amounts of text into a mobile device.

I have talked on my e-Learning Stuff blog before about text entry on mobile devices and how they are not ideal.

Back then I wrote:

Overall entering text on any mobile device is fraught with difficulty and complexity and the more you use a device the more familar you get with it, the easier it gets and quicker you become.

However if you are using mobile devices with a group who only use the device rarely, then you should consider alternatives to text entry directly onto the mobile device otherwise you may find that your learners start to hate the device rather than use the device for learning.

Use the device where it has strengths such as audio and video, and use other tools such as pen and paper or a computer with a full size keyboard when you want the learner to create a lot of text.

This means that learning scenarios need to be designed to avoid excessive text entry onto a mobile device, and often that means that traditional learning scenarios will not translate easily and simply to a PSP for example.

Think about replacing text entry with an audio or a video recording – the UX1XN and Q1 Ultra both have cameras and microphones which can be used for that, you can also get a camera and microphone for the PSP as well.

It is not essential or necessary for the learner to complete a learning scenario solely on a mobile device, let them use other tools to complete the learning activity, the mobile device should be just the one component that helps build the activity.

When it comes to designing assessment models using mobile devices, the same advice applies. Think about how learners will need to be assessed. If it is multiple choice, or single word answers, than the mobile device alone should be sufficient. If it is short answer, essay or similar then text entry on a mobile device is probably not only not the best option it is probably not an option at all.

As I said before, think about replacing text entry with an audio or a video recordings, these can be done much more easily on a mobile device or a cameraphone.

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