7.3.7 Diagnostics and observation

Diagnostic tasks

Diagnostic tasks which students complete before the course has started, revealing their prior knowledge skills, aptitude and reception of the learning task. The task can be repeated at the end of the course to demonstrate how their learning has progressed and whether their skills and views have changed. This will provide some insight into the effectiveness of the learning design and study methods.

Case study

Self-assessment tests were used in this third-year module to introduce and reinforce basic biomolecular lessons, to assess core archaeological and biomolecular skills, as well as students’ understanding of the lecture material. A range of question styles were employed using the VLE’s assessment suite, with feedback provided to lead students to the right answers if their initial responses were not correct.

These tests were intended to increase student confidence in their mastery of the taught material and provide them with additional practice and understanding of relevant methods. The test results provided a feedback loop to the instructor on students’ progress, identifying any problem areas, and also served a means by which student learning could be measured at the end of the module.

E-Learning Walkthrough

Utilising Diagnostic Tasks

Matthew Collins (Archaeology)
Biomolecular Archaeology
View Full “Diagnostic Tasks” Case Study [PDF]


Students may also be encouraged to record themselves using web or screen cams, demonstrating how they are completing online tasks. This will provide direct evidence regarding the way the students tackle an online activity, their approach and thought process as well as their reception of the study task and provide valuable feedback on the design of the study task. Observation may offer insights into the clarity of instructions, task objectives and usability of the tools and resources.

Consider the use of webinar tools to facilitate synchronous observational activities.


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