July 1, 2015

Some training vendors promote their courseware pre-tests as prescriptive tools.

If a trainee passes certain sections of the pre-test, she will be automatically directed only to those learning units she did not pass. She will not be directed to the other learning units.

There is a real danger with this practice!

Pre-tests provided by vendors’ courseware are incomplete testing units. They typically have only one-to-five questions pertaining to each learning objective in the program. With those few questions, it is impossible to gauge the student’s existing mastery of that learning objective.

Forced placement will most often cheat the learner from thoroughly understanding the knowledge he is seeking.

We also know from many surveys that individuals can guess correctly and, unfortunately due to forced placement, skip sections of the learning that they never mastered in the first place.

All in all, forced skipping of learning sections is a dangerous practice if knowledge mastery is desired.

Instead one should adopt a proven “Skills Assessment Test” which will allow students with proven mastery to skip required courses and, therefore, save the organization both time and money.

A valid skills assessment system allows you to develop and deliver targeted assessments aligned to specific performance objectives —- accomplished by identifying individual skill gaps and prescribing specific training to address those skill gaps.

Pre-test analysis is shaky at best.

So, also, is the typical post-test as it is traditionally administered.

To administer a final exam (post-testing) immediately after course completion is not a valid way to measure mastery.

Most people “test well” upon immediate completion of almost any course due to the freshness of the material in one’s mind. However, retention is what we should measure as that will pay your organization far bigger dividends.

The better method for determining learning mastery is to administer a post-test six months, or more, after the learner has finished his coursework. You will then be able to test retention, which is the only true measurement of learning.

Be cautious about attaching any perceived value to courseware pre-tests and post-tests. Their value is limited!

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday weekend! More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)