A user-friendly format for lecturers for a formative case-based test with gamification, and responding better to students’ learning needs through personalised feedback and motivational game elements. Here at VUmc Academy we have worked extremely hard and with great success on these objectives through the ‘Assessment: we can’t make it easier but we can make it more fun!’ project.
Creating a digital test or other e-learning product can be difficult, especially if you have additional requirements, such as: interaction, personalised feedback, use of video and visual material, easily modifiable and linked to professional situations in the workplace. The digital format that we have developed can be used by anyone who wants to create a formative case-based test with game elements without being too dependent on technical support.
Working on case studies
In order to link the case studies as closely as possible to the real world, we have taken them from professional practice. The case-base test comprises of three different topics (CT brain, CT thorax and CT abdomen) and, within these topics, of preparation (X-ray request, records), technical implementation (parameters, dosage) and results (quality of investigation, image recognition).
Producing personalised feedback and a hint for each question, and inputting content into the knowledge bank and case scenarios (branching) is extremely valuable but takes a huge amount of time. Students who answer incorrectly are given additional questions, and if they want to investigate a topic in more depth, you can refer them through the knowledge bank or a link in the feedback to interesting webpages/articles.
Designing digital format
We created the digital format using the e-learning development tool Articulate. The program is based on PowerPoint and is therefore easy to learn. Ultimately, we created two digital formats: one with all the game elements and a simpler format without hints.
Lecturers, educational support staff and students are all extremely enthusiastic about the digital case-based test and the digital format. We had students work through the case-based test, and the usability of the digital format was tested in a workshop for lecturers and educational support staff. Both groups gave the test and the digital form an average score of 8.
The majority of the students would choose a case-based test over a test with stand-alone questions. The aspects they found the most valuable were the questions with image recognition, the visual material and the game elements/game format. A small majority of the lecturers and educational support staff saw the added value of game elements. The most valuable aspect for them was the different question types with visual material, adaptive testing (feedback and case study scenarios) and the intuitive and attractive template. They said that they saw a wide range of opportunities for the digital format but emphasised the importance of training, support and implementation within the organisation.
In some ways, you might say that a project is a bit like childbirth. When the result is amazing, you forget the pain! After a considerable amount of effort, we now have a product that we can take further. Almost everything that we wanted to achieve has been achieved: a case-based story with progression options, personalised feedback, a wide range of gaming elements, such as characters, rewards, hints, points system, scoreboard and frequent use of images and video.
- The creation of case studies is extremely time consuming but is hugely valued by students.
- Working with a new digital system and offering education online always involves some problems. It is advisable to test the software extensively with different browsers and computer settings and to have someone who knows the software well.
- Make use of the many communities and forums (in this case the Articulate Community). You can learn a lot from each other there.
- Accept that a digital format is never finished: “Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done” (The cult of done manifesto, Bre Pettis and Kio Stark).
Would you like to see the digital case-based test? You can view it here by logging in with the username vumc and password Articulate@VUmc2016.
Innovation scheme: Digital assessment for customised education
This project is one of the 9 projects in SURFnet’s innovation scheme Digital assessment for customised education. Under this scheme, between 1 July 2015 and 1 July 2016, higher education institutions experimented with the use of digital assessment for the creation of customised education, with a view to improving the quality of the teaching and devising learning processes that better match lecturers’ and students’ requirements.
Halfway through the scheme, the project leaders wrote a blog about the progress of their project. In this latest blog they describe the results and the lessons learned from their experiments. Read the first blog on this project.
About the authors
Anika Willemsen is E-Learning Educational Advisor at the VUmc Academy and the Amstel Academy.
Ingrid van Baak is a lecturer in the Radiodiagnostic Technician training programme and acts as Digital Assessment project leader at the VUmc Amstel Academy.