Evaluation is a critical part of the teaching and learning process. It completes the feedback loop, and helps you determine if the learners have understood the material presented to them. During this phase, you should be assessing the knowledge and skills that were defined in the learning outcomes statements. These evaluations will also help you improve your facilitation and the course design as you will see how well learners have engaged with the subject matter.
In addition to giving you the sense of how learners comprehend the material, evaluations can help learners gauge their own level of understanding.
Why is this different online?
Online learning environments require more assessment measures because of the inherent lack of informal feedback that a face-to-face learner can immediately gain from chatting with a classmate mid-lecture to clarify a point, or by casually approaching the instructor with questions after class. As such, it is essential to build in such opportunities for reflection through various forms of assessment. It is equally important that your feedback, to the group and the individual, go beyond simple questioning or agreeing in order to model the level of critical thinking you expect from them.
Many learning management systems allow learners to publicly post their work. Having learners review each other’s work and post feedback to one another is a type of effective informal assessment. As the instructor, you can respond to the critique as necessary to emphasize or redirect key points.