Start at the end to determine where to begin. Ask yourself, what is the goal of test maker software?
Yes we know that first sentence reads like a Yogi Berra statement. Maybe we are being a tad cute with the words but please bear with us. As for the answer to the question of the goal for test maker software we believe that very little learning, even in academia, is solely about being able to use rote memory to recall something, a list of dos and donts for instance. Especially in the business community, people are trained in order to be able to do something better; they are not trained to simply be able to recall the steps involved in order to do something better.
Online testing is a step in the process of learning that uses testing and other measures as means to an end, not the end itself. Online learning assessments and quizzes should be some of the most obvious stepping stones in the learning process, but each individual test or quiz may have different objectives. Indeed some of them may test simply for memory but the cumulative set of tests is more likely to be testing for ability. So even a single and simple multiple choice question has its place and can be an ad hoc quiz that just tests for memory, but included in a series of tests it should support the overall goal of performance improvement.
An assessment not only should serve simply as a memory indicator but rather as an opportunity for the trainee to learn.
This means the test maker software should provide an opportunity to give feedback to quiz answers; assessments should not only measure knowledge accumulation, but also serve as training mechanisms. This is accomplished by way of feedback given as a result of responses to test questions during and at the end of the course. If the student responds incorrectly to a question the software must allow the course to explain why it is incorrect; as well, if the student responds correctly the software should allow for reinforcement of the reasons that the learner’s answer is correct.
At Vantage Path we believe test maker software must have some performance features before being seriously considered as a solution. The testing solution should:
- Be secure, private, and accessible online anytime, anywhere.
- Offer multiple template styles to choose from and/or allow the test builder to implement their own design and brand.
- Instantly provide automatic certificates and grading and make them available at the end of a question set, or on demand.
- Provide feedback beyond a simple right or wrong, but why or why not.
- Compromise cheating efforts via randomized questions, answers, and/or questions subsets.
There are other nice-to-have features such as being able to set time frames for finishing tests but this blog was about must-haves. In the comments section we invite you to add any other test maker features that you think would enhance the learning process.