Learners can become involved in the assessment of group work, with a set of established guidelines. By determining this in advance, it can address some of the concerns that may arise during the course regarding fair assessment of individual contribution. In order for this to work effectively, students do need to be prepared for how to assess work. In doing so, Benson states that, there is a value in peer assessment that helps prepare students for the kinds of highly contextualized learning that are a part of work and life.
The functionalities of e-learning tools and environments are divided into pre-Web 2.0 technologies, Web 2.0 technologies and “other” tools. The Web 2.0 technologies cover a wide variety of platforms such as wikis, blogs, social bookmarking, social networking services and access to virtual worlds. Each of these enable an unprecedented online activity between users and between users and content. In using these platforms, students can share their information, ideas, projects and data with not just an immediate classroom of their peers, but with a wider, broader audience. The “other tools” include standalone electronic options such as software programs (Word, Excel, Acrobat) to audio and video files.
Opportunities for peer assessment
Opportunities of e-learning for peer assessment offer improved communication between learners. The benefits of the improved communication include:
- Quality of what is communicated (forms of assessment responses available in a recorded form)
- Speed of communication
- Flexibility of communication
Most students who undertake assessment tasks in e-learning are asked to use are asked to:
- Submit assessment items (essays, reports, reviews)
- Automated assessment (could include quizzes where students get automatic feedback)
- Assessable online discussion
- Web publishing of assessment items
One of the options discussed in peer assessment is the use of badges in education. Based on an established criteria, students can award their peers with badges based on their interpretation of levels of mastery completed or participation/contribution. In using peer assessment, particularly in group settings, there may be more of a collaborative environment, and less opportunity for individuals to sit back and watch others complete the work.
Tucker, R., Fermelis, J., Palmer, S. Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Self-and-Peer Assessment Tool for E-Learning Environments. (2009). In Lajbcygier, P. & Spratt, Co. E-learning technologies and evidence-based assessment approaches. Hershey: Information Science Reference.