3 Strategies for Developing Original Work Activities

As with any eLearning program, the final exam or the summative assessment is an expected end. Before learners even register for a course, they are keenly interested in the nature of the final exam.

Would it be an online LIVE assessment? Would it be a video submission, or would it be a project? While there are several options available for you to utilize in your course, there are some best practices developed to select the right final assessment format for your course. In this article, we share with you 3 strategies to develop original work activities towards the final assessment.

Original work activities, in essence are the ultimate final exams learners are preparing for during the course of the eLearning program. These activities closely follow the course objectives. They require the learner to apply their learning and to demonstrate the degree of understanding of the course.

To be honest, this assessment is something your front-line managers look at to judge the “readiness” of their employees to begin work effectively. It is expected that better scores in an eLearning program yields better performance. Sometimes it is not so. This can be very frustrating for managers and training managers. This discrepancy between learning scores and performance can also be very disappointing and discouraging for the learner.

Unfortunately, all fingers point at the quality of the eLearning program. In order to protect your credibility as an eLearning program developer, you need to design better final assessments through the submission of the original works done by the learner.

Original works, when done authentically, minimize the chances of academic dishonesty. They can also emulate the real-world work setting of the learner. They also reduce the learning and the performance gap. What situations warrant original work activities? Ask the front-line managers and training developers the following questions:

  • Integration of Knowledge at Work: Do the learners need to apply what is being taught in your eLearning course?
  • Synthesis of Knowledge at Work: Do learners need to create new knowledge?
  • Do learners have to have a final exam for grading?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then you need to develop original work activities that will count towards the final exam scores effectively. There are several ways learners can perform original work activities. You can combine some of these approaches quite productively:

1) Decision Activities: These activities require learners to submit decisions made at critical points in a real project. A great way to do this is through recording learner responses in case studies. Provide them with a case that replicates their work and invite them to form decisions based on dilemmas faced in the case.

This can be individual work and a discussion forum based work. Demonstrate to the learner the degree of effectiveness of their decisions based on the learning objectives of the course.

2) Work-document Activities: These activities require learners to create a document that would be a part of actual work, such as filling a form, creating a slide presentation or writing a specification. A lot of eLearning programs require the production of word documents or presentations.

Think about the work-related activities of the learner. What are the end-products of these activities? Any of these end-products can be a basis of original work activities. Consider these varieties as submission formats from your learners:

  • Writings
  • Plans
  • Procedures
  • Policies
  • Spreadsheets
  • Photographs
  • Reports
  • Designs
  • Sketches
  • Slide presentations
  • 3D Models
  • Storyboard
  • Advertisements
  • Musical compositions
  • Video clips
  • Animation sequences
  • Audition tapes
  • Business letters

3) Journal Activities: These activities provide a way for learners to collect decisions into an ongoing document that they can review and take away at the end of the eLearning. This form of original work activity is ongoing. The journal activities encourage the learner to record their emotions and attitude towards a project they have been working over the course of time.

These can be viewed as a collection anytime for grading purposes. These can also be a part of social learning through group collaboration, where the group advice, critique and inspiration for each other is shared with the course facilitator. Learners can create a Wiki or entire libraries of reference materials in order to demonstrate their learning.

What have your final assessment experiences in your eLearning programs been like? Do share with us. Do you have a specific strategy for developing the final exam or do you have the same format for all your courses?

When designing an eLearning program, ensure that you are conscious of the final assessment activities. Determine the best format by analyzing the work situation of the learner. If possible, discuss the final assessment format with the line managers to minimize false expectations from your course.

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