Walking Stick Blogger

A Learning Space for Literacy and English Language Learners

Assessing How Students Learn, and its Implications for EduBlogging

I would like to thank Stuart Berry for his interesting post on assessment. His post is at http://me2u.athabascau.ca/elgg/stuartbe2/weblog/1176.html

Rick Reis comments on Bill Cerbin’s description of how educators undertake the learner assessment process.

Cerbin (2009) described the compelling need for the assessment process:

“…we need assessment that reveals how students learn-how they interpret and make sense of the subject, where they stumble, what they do when they do not understand the material, how they respond to different instructional practices, and so on.” (Cerbin, 2009 blog post)


Cerbin (2009) described the use of several assessment strategies: Observation of Learning, Think Aloud, Lesson Study, and Reflections that involve strategies that probe the learning process.

I would like to briefly descibe the assessment strategies, then explore implications for assessment within edublogging environments based on these ideas.

Observation of Learning
Observe learners while engaged in learning; peer teaching that involves peer review of other learners in others’ classes.

Implications for EduBlogging:
In an edublogging learning context, what exactly needs to be observed for instructors to be satisfied learning is in fact taking place? Would it be a series of observable, quantifiable mini-tasks, all which contribute to demonstrating that learners engaged in information gathering, evaluation, and analysis? What would peer review and assessment look like for learners, for their instructors? Could edublogging activities encourage this type of assessment?

Think Aloud
This involves students recording out loud what they are thinking as they are working through a task. This process involves a pair in which one records, observes, and listens while the other actively engages in problem-solving.

Implications for EduBlogging:
The potential for capturing learners’ thought processes in a systematic way as an artifact of learning that can be compared at the beginning of the course and at the end for improvements and transferred skills is intriguing. To date, edublogs have only the blog post as a unit of measurement; however, a thought process captured as an event from a set start point in time to a set end-point could replace the standard unit, or what is in fact assessed. Recording the actual learning event – the movements of the mouse, the flipping through of online resources, the navigation activity, the accompanying narrative, the facial expressions of the learner, all poses significant privacy issues, but offers possibilities for identifying and sharing promising practices among peers and educators. This type of technology exists, with web cams, real-time screen captures, and the use of an I-pen to capture personal narratives while a learner jots down notes alongside the PC.
I am unclear, however, how the thought-capture artifact will play a role in the learning events, and its role more specifically in edublogging.

Lesson Study
In this case, several instructors jointly plan, instruct, mentor, support, observe and analyze student learning within the context of a specific learning period. As one teaches, the others observe and collect evidence of students’ learning.

Implications for EduBlogging:
Group mentoring and peer mentoring has a significant role in edublogging, as long as the process involves choice by learners over who will serve as their learning companions and sponsors/mentors. The capacity for real learning is great when learners act to mentor and teach other learners during presentations to showcase their specialized knowledge and skills.

Reflections on Learning Process
This process involves a close study of students’ strategies to overcome challenges, and how learners solve problems and make decisions while mastering material and skills.

Implications for EduBlogging:
Requesting learners to engage in reflective posts at various points during their learning, in which they consider the strategies they have used to date, and share these observation with others, serves to open up new alternatives and different perspectives on how best to tackle tasks and learn complex, challenging material.

I wonder openly to what extent the assessment strategies could be integrated within the transformative learning cycle. I think this would likely be the topic of a later post.

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assessmentedubloggingEdublogging theory and practiceGlenn Groulxstrategies

netizenship • July 7, 2009

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