was a speaker at the European SharePoint Conference 2011. Check out
this insightful blog by John.
of people ask me how you can use assessments to measure the
effectiveness of informal learning. If people are learning at
different times, in different ways and without structure, how do
you know it's happening? And how can you justify investment in
social and informal learning initiatives?
The 70+20+10 model of learning is increasingly understood - that
we learn 70% on-the-job, 20% from others and 10% from formal study.
But as people invest in informal learning initiatives, a key
question arises. How do you measure the impact? Are people
learning? And more importantly, are they performing better?
In a presentation at the Learning
Technologies conference in London in January, I suggested there
are three areas in which to use assessments:
Did they like it?
You can use surveys to evaluate attitudes and reactions - either
to specific initiatives or to the whole 70+20+10 initiative.
Measuring reaction does not prove impact, but yields useful data.
For example, surveys yielding consistently negative results could
indicate initiatives are missing the mark.
You could also look at the Success Case Method, which lets you
home in on individual examples of success to get early evidence of
a learning programme's impact. See here and here for my earlier
blog posts on how to do this.
Of course, if you are using Questionmark technology, you can
deliver such surveys embedded in blogs, wikis or other informal
learning tools and also on mobile devices.
Did they learn it?
There is strong evidence for the use of formative quizzes to
help direct learning, strengthen memory and engage learners. You
can easily embed quizzes inside informal learning, e.g. side by
side with videos or within blogs, wikis and SharePoint, to track
use and understanding of content.
With informal learning, you also have the option of encouraging
user-generated quizzes. These allow the author to structure,
improve and explain his or her knowledge and engage and help the
You can also use more formal quizzes and tests to measure
knowledge and skills. And you can compare someone's skills before
and after learning, compare to a benchmark or compare against
Are they doing it?
Of course, in 70+20+10, people are learning in multiple places,
at different times and in different ways. So measuring informal
learning can be more difficult than measuring formal, planned
But if you can measure a performance improvement, that is more
directly useful than simply measuring learning. A great way of
measuring performance is with observational assessments. This is
described well in Jim Farrell's recent post
Observational assessments- measuring performance in a 70+20+10
To see the Learning Technology presentation on SlideShare,
click here. For more information on Questionmark technologies
that can help you assess informal learning, see www.questionmark.com.
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