Why use eAssessment and learning outcomes

1 Why use eAssessment?

Assessment drives learning. It provides motivation and guidance. It defines standards and is the mechanism by which achievement is monitored and recognised. In order to achieve excellence in open learning, we must develop and test assessment methods and understand how excellence can be achieved consistently.

eAssessment has the potential to assist the university in tackling several strategic issues.

  • eAssessments and personalised feedback offer global delivery of quality learning opportunities.
  • eAssessments allow student profiling with links to targeted team based support.
  • eAssessments can facilitate student induction and diagnostics.
  • eAssessments can enhance efficiency and even reduce costs.

The OU's Centre for Excellence in the Open Learning of Mathematics, Science, Computing and Technology made several claims for the opportunites offered by eAssessments. The Centre also tempered those claims with several challenges.



  • can be used across all disciplines and levels.
  • are open to place and time and can underpin targeted support systems.
  • offer long term pay back on investment.
  • engage students.
  • provide feedback instantly and can be tailored to the individual student. Feedback loops can direct the student to further questions or other scheduled activities and can embed the assessment firmly within the overall learning experience.
  • can reveal student and student cohort misunderstanding.
  • are accelerated in their adoption by faculty champions.



  • are not quick and easy to produce. Success is dependent on input from both academic authors and software developers.
  • have considerable investment costs.
  • can be fitted to pre-defined templates which lower the cost of production and improve accuracy but limit ambition.
  • require rigorous testing.
  • require a summative driver for continuing student engagement.
  • have a technical underpinning that can be a barrier to academic staff.

The Centre concluded that eAssessment for learning will be a crucial learning technology for the 21st century, particularly for those universities that aspire to a global role. Because of its exceptional pedagogical and learning systems skill base, and its position within the Open Educational Resources movement, the Open University has the opportunity to claim a central role in the further development and deployment of eAssessment for learning.

1.1 Promoting learning with instant feedback