A focus on assessment for technical education and work-based learning

In collaboration with Jisc, we recently hosted a webinar that delved into the future of assessment for technical education and work-based learning, featuring a panel of experts:

The panel included:

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the dynamics of education and professional development are undergoing a significant transformation. However, the methods of assessing technical education and work-based learning have arguably not kept pace with these changes. Our blog highlights key insights and themes that emerged during the webinar.

Challenges in assessing technical education and work-based learning

Assessing technical education and work-based learning presents a complex set of challenges. Education providers and Awarding Organisations must ensure that assessments are reliable and valid, meet regulatory requirements, and adequately prepare students for their next educational or professional milestones. The limitations of traditional assessment methods, the physical classroom space and the costs involved in evaluating work-based learning have emerged as significant hurdles.

Aligning assessment with industry practice

Steven Spence emphasised the importance of aligning assessments with real-world industry practices to better prepare students for employment. The adoption of new technologies, particularly immersive technologies, could provide students with more frequent exposure to industry settings, thereby enhancing their preparedness for assessments and professional roles. By using immersive technologies, students are not restricted to being in college and/or on an industry placement during certain days of the week to learn and develop the skills they will be evaluated on, and this helps to build fluency as they can practice more. The more they practice, the more fluent in their chosen subject/sector area they become.

To support this point, Steven talked about how research shows that certain technologies can enhance the delivery and assessment of technical education and work-based learning. Some of the studies highlighted are available below:

Overcoming constraints in work-based learning assessment

Neil Leitch shared his thoughts on the limitations of traditional written assessments and observations in evaluating work-based learning. He spoke about how Early Years tutors must often deal with an array of situations – from safeguarding, domestic abuse, unwanted behaviour, identifying SEND learners as some examples. Neil suggested the integration of immersive technologies to simulate real-world scenarios, enabling educators, training providers and employers to assess practical skills and competencies more effectively.

Key considerations for innovative assessment approaches

The panel highlighted the significance of aligning learning outcomes with available technology to maximise student success, in a way that is reliable and valid. They acknowledged the constraints posed by regulatory environments but underscored the potential of technology to provide effective assessment of technical education and work-based learning and offer invaluable insights into student learning and development.

Real-time assessment data to personalise learning

Sarah Jane-Fletcher talked about the benefits immersive learning gives, in terms of being able to incorporate real-time performance assessment tools, enabling a more holistic evaluation of a student’s progress and crucially a personalisation of learning to improve attainment and student progression to higher education and employment.

Envisioning the future of assessment

The experts agreed that the future of assessment for technical education and work-based learning should embrace dynamic and transformative approaches, for effective practical skill development and evaluation. The integration of innovative technologies and collaborative efforts to address regulatory challenges will be pivotal in preparing a future-ready workforce.

Watch our webinar

If you would like to watch the panel discussion in full, you can view it here.


Other posts you might like