The Tests tool
is generally the next main focus for teachers exploring the world of e-learning.
The value of this tool is evident : automatic scoring and feedback of learners' answers means not only major time-savings for the teacher, they also allow the learner to self-test repeatedly (without feeling self-conscious) -for example when needing to learn language vocabulary, or master difficult mathematical algorithms. They can enjoy immediate automated feedback without depending on the presence or availability of the teacher. Test scores can be automatically integrated in each student's grade-book, and data such as dates, number of attempts etc. forwarded to the reporting tool to assist the teacher in tracking and monitoring students' progress.
A well designed test can prove an invaluable motivational tool for the learner. The teacher can build in extensive and meaningful feedback and suggestions and design stimulating questions and feedback which can involve not only text but graphics, audio video, etc.
The “Tests” tool could equally be termed the “Exercises” tool, inasmuch as its use is not restricted to simple “summative” quizzes at the end of a chapter or module. For example, some teachers use the test tool as the main vehicle for presenting new material (rather than simply displaying a series of documents) in order to present materials in a more interactive way (e.g. requiring the learner to complete a question or two at the end of each page.) Using the test tool in this way to create interactive exercises (involving formative rather than summative assessment approaches) keeps learners alert and enriches their learning experience. It is also enjoyable and rewarding for the teacher, challenging him/her to develop ever richer and more stimulating course content.
Of course, there are times when the teacher simply wants to set a formal, timed “Exam” for students, withholding feedback and scores for sharing at a later date. The tests tool can be configured in this way, too.
Because the tests tool is very fully featured, it takes a little time to learn how to use. The following sections explain in detail how to make full use of the Tests tool in Chamilo.