New Product Feature: Open-ended Questions for Effective Assessment Blog Feature

New Product Feature: Open-ended Questions for Effective Assessment

Sometimes multiple choice questions just don’t cut it. 

Maybe, your learners are studying for a continuing education exam with essay questions. Or, maybe you want to see unique answers. Or, maybe you want a starting point for discussions in a blended learning program. 

Open-ended assessments provide the ultimate flexibility for your learning program. 

You could create essay prompts to allow learners to explore a topic in more depth. Or, you could see how individual learners solved a problem with more than one right answer. You could even ask groups to hand in work from an instructor-led session during a sales training program. And, best of all, you have the ability to provide personalized feedback. 

This blog post will show you some of the assessment types our new BenchPrep Essay Tool provides for your eLearning program.

Open-Ended Questions: The Learner View 

Test prep companies often teach learners how to read over their answers. What if your learning platform could make that experience more intuitive? 

Let’s get real for a moment. Learners often have bad habits when left to their own devices. They can “read over” their work and not see any change to their grades or performance. It’s not that this habit isn’t effective. Your learner needs more support to be able to see where they’re making errors. 

Self-grading teaches learners how to read over their work effectively. 

Unlike just reading the exam question over, the BenchPrep Essay Tool shows them the rubric broken down into traits. They see the weighting for each category. And, they can give themselves a mark for each. Plus, to mimic the exam experience, the question includes a timer. 

This method is effective because your learners will consciously create new habit replacement loops. They’ll be replacing their old habit—reading over their work mindlessly—with self-grading. They’ll be learning to look at their work in the same way graders do. Any learning program can benefit from self-assessment tools. That’s how your learners become independent. 

The BenchPrep Essay Tool also saves any essays and feedback so learners can see their progression. Of course, they can also submit an essay for feedback from an instructor. The next section will look at how the essay tool in our learning management system (LMS) helps graders. 

🔎 Learn more about test prep features in our case study, “GMAC: Prep that Sets the Pace for Triple-Digit Growth.”

Open-ended Questions Create a Feedback Loop

The goal for any company is to solve their client’s problem in the most efficient way possible. And learning organizations need to get learners’ results in the least amount of time. 

When learners ask questions, you want instructors to provide help quickly and efficiently. If all your instructor has to work with is a wrong answer on a multiple choice quiz, they won’t have as many teaching opportunities. You teach complex concepts. There are multiple places a learner can go wrong. Open-ended questions give your instructors the information they need to get it right the first time a learner reaches out. 

Imagine if your instructor receives a chat from a learner asking for help. Instead of asking the learner to go over their process, they simply open up their file. Your instructor takes a quick look through the open-ended question, finds the error, and helps your learner. 

The eLearning platform also allows your learner and instructor to continue their relationship. Your instructors can leave feedback directly for later. Or, the learner can request multiple rounds of feedback. With this feedback loop in place, you’re all set for a more personalized learning experience. 

Designed for Business Workflows  

Lots of online learning platforms offer open-ended questions. Unfortunately, they’re often built for classrooms. We designed ours with learning business workflows in mind. 

We know your graders work with large numbers of learners and requests within a day. So, we lowered the number of times they receive notifications to a once/day email. They’ll see all the work they did at one time and be able to respond to additional requests. 

You also want to differentiate your online course experience by responding to learners promptly. This system inputs open-ended questions into a queue for your graders. Then, they claim a question to grade. This allows you to see which learners have been waiting longer and measure wait times. 

The BenchPrep Essay Tool also allows you to add as many traits as you would like to your rubric. By breaking your assignments down into specific traits, you encourage standardized grading. Your graders won’t be marking the whole essay, but each trait individually, which is then auto-calculated to create the total score. 

Finally, you can decide who has the ability to grade different categories. These categories allow you to hire people with different expertise. Maybe certain people have the skills to grade the math portion, while others excel at providing feedback on English. Your markers only see their categories in their queue to keep it user-friendly. 

🔎 Grow your learning business by finding out about “The Three Pillars of an Effective Learning Program (ebook).”

Add Flexibility to Your Program

Open-ended questions benefit everyone in your learning program.

Your learners benefit from the chance to show off their knowledge in new ways. Your instructors benefit because they can give more detailed feedback. And, this experience benefits your business. 

The BenchPrep Essay Tool goes beyond simply open-ended questions. You’ll improve the learner experience with a backend designed for learning businesses. It’s not just effective for learners. It’s an effective workflow. Features like supporting multiple graders, a question queue, and an intuitive grading experience make it the right fit for learning businesses. 

Not sure what other features you need in an online learning platform? Check out our ebook, "The CLO’s Handbook for Choosing Learning Technology to Grow Your Business.”