Workplace Assessment with Mobile Devices

31 05 2006

While this blog focusses on mobile learning, I thought I’d share some ideas on the related area of mobile assessment, which I wrote up for a seperate dicussion board.

Work place assessment often requires the gathering of evidence against a number of predetermined competencies. This lends itself to several mobile approaches, for example:

  1. The use of a mobile device such as a digital camera, or digital camera incorporated into a multifunction digital device such as a mobile phone or PDA, to capture images of evidence of competency: for example, stages in the completion of a work place process.Man using a PDA
    • In a learning situation, the photos could be stored on the digital device for later retrieval by the learner, other learners, a trainer, or an assessor.
    • The photos can be sent wirelessly from the digital device to other learners, a trainer, or assessor, or to some other storage or display facility such as a moblog.
  2. The use of a mobile audio recording device such as an mp3 audio player/recorder or a PDA or mobile phone equipped with a sound recording facility, to capture either evidence of competency, or the assessor’s notes on the learner’s demonstration of competency.
    • In the first instance, a learner may record themselves conducting a client interview in the workplace, for example, that may later be reviewed by an assessor
    • In the second instance, it may be safer or more practical for an assessor to dictate their notes on a learner’s competence verbally into an audio device, than writing any notes on paper; for example, in a driving test or situation where a learner requires continuous supervision.
  3. The use of a mobile device, such as a PDA, to record assessment results (by the assessor) in the form of an assessment tool. Usually, this would happen in text or checklist form; but a more advanced version could also incorporate links to photos, videos, or audio samples of the learner’s evidence. This approach to assessment lends itself to a database approach with a form on the front end to make it easy to enter and recall data and link to other files.
  4. The use of a mobile device (usually a PDA or laptop computer) to provide mobile assessment in the form of a test or exam. This might be an appropriate approach where underpinning knowledge or theory is being assessed.

One development environment I’ve found particularly suitable for developing data capture tools is GrandaSoft’s XSForms and XSDesigner. I’ve used these to quickly develop and deploy PDA-based databases with form front ends, suitable for use as Assessment Tools or mobile quizzes. They use a Pocket Access database backend and are designed on a desktop computer, which makes them much quicker and easier to develop. Best of all, both products are free. 🙂 Here’s a link to the blog article on the GrandaSoft software: http://mlearning.edublogs.org/2006/04/13/database-product-for-pocket-pcs/.

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