julie-smallPosted by Julie Chazyn

Assessments provide a valuable tool for helping organizations properly design effective and useful learning experiences. Doing so involves a five-step process.
Step 1: Define the objectives. An objective might be to increase customer satisfaction, reduce error rates or improve safety.
Step 2: Ask what knowledge and skills are required to meet the objectives. In a college or university course on organic chemistry, for example, it’s important to ask what are the knowledge and skills required to comprehend those concepts and use them. The answers to that question will help the professor establish the topic structure to define the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes required to meet the objectives.
Step 3: Run a needs analysis survey or skills gap survey. Here, people take a needs assessment to reveal the knowledge and skills they already have as well as what they still need. A gap analysis can be derived from the difference between what is required and people’s current knowledge and skills.
Step 4: Develop a learning plan. That plan will describe the learning objectives and explain how the plan will be administered. The learning objectives will guide the production of learning materials and assessments. Facilitating the learning process might involve instructor-led training, coaching by managers, or e-learning courses.
Step 5: Conduct a pre-learning assessment. The pre-learning assessment will have two purposes: to create intrigue about the course and  to guide each participant to the right learning experience. Advanced and novice learners will require different approaches.
To learn more about  how instructors and organizations can use assessments to improve learning, download the white paper Assessments through the Learning Process.