Evaluation Method: Platforms For Academic Institutions
During our course evaluation for Academic Institutions, our methodology was very different from the one we use for evaluating courses for individual teachers and coaches.
For individuals, the most important thing is that the software be easy to use. However, for Academia, the most important thing in our estimation was the completeness of the programs offered. Academic departments have more time and resources to spare for training and education, so the ease of immediate use was not quite as important. As such, we were able to focus on other, what we believe are more important aspects.
We evaluated every tool offered by the eLearning platforms. Specifically, we tested all the audio components, video components, text components, and web sources offered. We evaluated them in four key areas:
- Course Creation by Teachers
This was important to us. We wanted to be certain that each of the components we tested would be useful and comprehensive during creation. The software should be easy to use, interesting, and offer enough guidance that even teachers without much experience in this area would be able to freely create courses.
- Course Consumption by Students
It goes without saying that it’s important for students to have a say in whether a learning platform is a good one. For our tests regarding the academic applications of eLearning tools, we tested just how eager and willing students were to finish the courses.
We also tested how comprehensive their knowledge of the course was once they were finished, checking for retention as well as initial learning.
- Course Assignments & Assignment Grading
One of the best things about eLearning platforms is that assignments can be utilized, graded, and submitted online. Some of them can even be graded through the software. As any teacher knows, grading and scoring assignments is one of the most time-consuming aspects of non-school teaching. The ability to properly score assignments is a huge factor in choosing a platform for eLearning software.
We tested video, audio, text, and web sources in relation to discerning whether or not an assignment was appropriate for the class. We were pleasantly surprised with most of the software we tested.
- Examination and Testing
We wanted to make thoroughly certain that each examination given by the eLearning software was up to the par that we have come to expect from academia.
Being able to assign tests through an eLearning tool is a huge advantage when it comes to making assignments. When tests can be offered and graded so easily, it’s a huge boon to teachers who spend so much time doing these exact activities daily.
Our overall goal was to find out which tool offers the MOST FUNCTIONALITY for teachers and faculties AS WELL AS the best user experience for students.
A tool that is only designed for teachers is fantastic, but if they can’t appeal to students, it is ultimately wasted. While there are many great resources for students as well, the best platforms must cross over and be useful to both sides of the coin. With the right tools, students can overachieve in an online course setting, performing even better than they would in a traditional classroom, according to a study by the Department of Education.
By testing the course creation, course consumption, course assignments, assignment grading, examination, and testing applications, we feel we came to a strong conclusion regarding the overall functionality of the products that we tested.
Along with the actual course testing, we also tested the “administration” components. These are often forgotten when eLearning software is introduced to a school or other institution. However, when properly utilized, they can be enormous assets to any eLearning program.
We used the software to create a faculty, first of all, and were impressed with how easy the simulation was. Then, we created departments, organizational charts, and many more simulations and administrative duties.
We were pleasantly surprised with the ease of using the software this way, and highly recommend it. The guesswork of submitting everything on paper is not something we feel compelled to keep around from the glorious tradition of Academia. We much prefer to move ahead, looking to the future of everything being readily available online from any place at any time, and to any interested person.
These methods of evaluation gave us a very clear picture of which software tools were suited for our purposes, and which were not.