Exploring innovative assessment methods
Exploring innovative assessment methods

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Exploring innovative assessment methods

1 Learning from the past

A photo of Albert Einstein with a quote by him next to it. The quote reads: ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’
Figure 1 Albert Einstein’s quote on insanity

When designing a techno-pedagogical innovation, there are two things to avoid: reinventing wheels and repeating mistakes. In other words, you want to learn from relevant examples of past innovations and apply the aggregated knowledge encapsulated in theoretical frameworks. Now you’re ready to take the first step towards devising an innovative assessment. That first step will be to ask:

  1. Is there a problem I am currently facing where the normal method of assessment is problematic? (This problem could be that the learners are in a remote location or the planned method of assessment prevent the learners from demonstrating a variety of skills and learning outcomes)
  2. What is problematic about how I plan to judge the learning outcomes that the learner will evidence?
  3. Would an alternative assessment help the learners to demonstrate a wider variety of skills and/or demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes?
  4. How have other innovators attempted to address similar challenges in similar contexts, and what can I learn from these attempts?

With these questions in mind, now complete Activities 1 and 2.

Activity 1 Case study

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

At this stage you will have identified a problem or challenge relating to the assessment of learning outcomes that you want to overcome. The next stage is to research how others have assessed similar topic areas.

Use Google Scholar or search the internet or, if you have access, the academic literature in an e-library for a case study of a techno-pedagogical innovation that might provide possible ways to resolve your challenge. You could also draw upon some of the examples you have seen in Weeks 1 and 2.

Write a summary of the case study you are reviewing. Your summary should use the structure of a design narrative as defined in the STARR template (you can use the template provided):

Activity 2 Design patterns

Timing: Allow approximately 50 minutes

One popular form for capturing compact blocks of design knowledge is design patterns (Goodyear, 2005; Mor and Winters, 2007). A design pattern describes a recurring problem, or design challenge, the characteristics of the context in which it occurs, and a possible method for solving the problem. Christopher Alexander, who conceived design patterns as a design language for architecture and urban planning, states:

Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.

(Alexander et al., 1977)

At its core, a pattern has three parts:

  • a problem statement
  • a context description
  • a recipe for a solution.

Building upon your research from Activity 1 you should have completed the three parts of the design pattern above. The next stage is to move this design pattern onto a written format. Review the resources below to see some examples of patterns and pattern collections and then note down your design pattern in the box below or on a piece of paper. You should open the links in a new tab or window by holding down Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) when clicking on it. You can find more examples online.


Design patterns

Design principles


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