As Senior Director of Product Management for Learn Course Delivery, Jim Chalex conducts research & guides the development of new capabilities to help instructors, learners, and staff get the most out of their online learning environment.  He specializes in assessment, data visualization, and analytics.


Data is in, but you don’t us need to tell you that. It’s evident by the number of infographics that pop up every day presenting data in a compelling way on any number of topics; these past few weeks, it’s been all about which Olympic athletes are getting the most social buzz and how the winningest Olympic nations fare when it comes to education.

But, regardless of the topic, it’s what we do with data that really matters. The same can be said for integrating EdTech into the classroom.

We know that students are already grabbing their education by the reins and looking for ways to personalize every part of their learning process – from where they get content to the tools they use in the classroom – they are in control.

So why shouldn’t we give them the opportunity to evaluate themselves?

While it’s not always a race against the clock or another country, evaluation is a critical component to any educational process and is a natural fit for the already self-aware active learner. Chances are they already have a pretty good sense of how they are doing, so why not give them the tools to verify that?

Online learning tools like Blackboard Analytics for Learn can provide an excellent way for students and instructors to have access to metrics that impact the learning experience. Dashboards and various profile views through Blackboard Learn engage students by providing the opportunity to compare performance and track improvement. Empowering students is an excellent way to get them invested in their education and excited about ways to improve.

When students begin engaging in self-assessment, they are reflecting on their work in a qualitative manner – but they may not be equipped to know how to make changes that will help them reach their learning objectives. Here’s where the teacher comes in. In the active learner’s mind, the role of the teacher should always be one of a coach or mentor. That role should be no different with evaluations! Students should be provided the right information out of the evaluation process through teacher feedback. Teachers need to ask the students questions and make sure that they are on track to improve.

What do you think? Should the active learner become more engaged in their own self-evaluation? How do you go about ensuring they are on the right track?

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