Identifying evidence of learning with technology

Any assessment in learning should be considered to avoid being assessment for assessment’s sake. Is it formative assessment that will help progress the learning journey or is it summative assessment demonstrating that the required learning is complete.  In vocational education the formative is often lost amongst the need for gathering the summative for portfolios to satisfy the awarding bodies.  Summative assessment, however it is captured, needs to be valid and authentic and whilst aromatherapy isn’t my subject area (as demonstrated in the case study)as an internal verifier I would want to see some reflection on the work and not just a colour wheel.  Ideally the reflection would involve why certain oils were selected, the properties of those oils and their interactions with each other.  I’d also want the link between how it looks like oils should interact according to the tool, and how they actually smell together, and contra-indications for use on particular clients.  This is really a reflection on their deeper knowledge and understanding.  This reflection also captures the learning process for the quieter, more reflective and lurking learners who maybe don’t seem so actively involved in the lesson but are learning in their own way.  This kind of reflection could easily be used in a portfolio of evidence even as a formative assessment as a summative assessment can ask them to expand on the learning with deeper knowledge and applying it to different clients with varied needs.  It only adds to the authenticity of the work when a verifier can see the holistic learning journey through the work of the learner with the clearly documented guidance of the assessor.

Again technology is the enabler here, these assessments could be captured differently, and the learning could be done differently.  The technology enables safe and inexpensive experimentation as the cost of materials is reduced by combining virtual oils.  I’m sure the software soon paid for itself in this instance.

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