Before getting into understanding assessment for learning need analysis, we’ll start by differentiating assessment of learning and assessment for learning. Assessment of learning is to gauge the knowledge of the learner and measure their learning after a training intervention. Whereas assessment for learning implies a measure to understand the area of strengths and challenges for the purpose of devising a plan for development.
If we aim at defining assessment for learning, it is basically a method or procedure by which the results from the assessment is used for the purpose of development in the workplace scenario. Any assessment by itself does not have the capacity to amplify or hinder the entire process of learning and development, it is entirely dependent on the application.
There could be various methods implied to measure the capabilities. They could range between observing everyday tasks, 360 assessments, personal interviews or meetings, formal psychometric assessments, etc. The weightage is placed on the kind of details gathered through the mode of assessment and not the mode in itself.
These type of assessments for learning needs diagnosis aid the assessors or supervisors in quite a few ways. The purpose of interpreting any data or result for the individual or group is to decide the level of development or learning, how can their strengths be best used and where the focus of development is essential to ensure success.
With the information gathered from these assessments, the manager can use it to create or plan the development plan for the individual, nominate them for the appropriate training program, understand the strengths of the individual to leverage them in the right manner. Similarly, these assessments for learning help the individual themselves in many ways. It provides an overview of their strengths and challenges and helps in introspection.
Some examples of these assessments for learning are observations during on the job tasks, observing during meetings and other interactions, periodic performance reviews, planned and unplanned review meetings, assessments, 360-degree feedback, etc. These assessments for diagnosing learning needs can be time consuming and needs some amount of effort but the outcome of these are worth all the effort as it helps in enhancing the productivity of the individual and the organization.
These assessments can also be combined with or used as post-assessments. When a pre- and post-design is used, instructors and supervisors can measure the improvement in one’s knowledge and skill level post the training and practice sessions.
When these assessments for learning are well incorporated into the system, the benefits it has to offer include:
- helps in setting clear and specific goals and targets
- creates a meticulous environment that promotes employee development
- enhances the individual’s performance standards as their strengths are leveraged
- Helps to give targeted and specific feedback aimed for improvement
- constant progress check on development boosts motivation and employee engagement
To conclude, one must remember that when using assessments for learning it is important to define the purpose of the assessment that is important than the type of assessment.