It has taken a while, but it’s finally here. People, businesses, schools and universities are all starting to look at going digital with their teaching and testing. It’s not a huge surprise, as this is the technological era, however people are still wary of it. Why? Because they don’t know anything about them. People share their fears about digital tests, with arguments like “they can be hacked”, “it’s too impersonal” and “You’re putting people out of a job”. However, there are advantages too, such as saving paper -and the environment, saving time, increasing the range of the target audience, and saving the time of the people being trained.
What are we looking at?
There are many faucets of computer-aided training. In the digital format, we have formative training -i.e.; training that will qualify you for a degree- and summative training -such as learning something for general knowledge purposes. In the broadest sense, even being able to type up a mid-term assignment or your final thesis on a computer is computer-aided training, but only in the broadest sense. However, we’re looking more at training that leads to actual tests with marked results, as opposed to more generic examples.
Many companies, institutions and websites -yes, even websites- are using online training nowadays. Speaking broadly, there are many advantages to online training. Money is saved, time, stress -when waiting for results- and paper is all being saved through the usage of online training and testing.
Free to type, free from stress.
Because this training is done on computers, the advantages are limitless. Students, employees and the general public can access lessons and training videos from anywhere in the world. When it comes time to test, there are no hand-writing errors -as far as students and employees are concerned-, and time spent marking is greatly reduced. It’s a simple case of “sit down, learn, type, log out, leave”. As opposed to “sit down, start listening, write furiously as the lecturer talks too fast, fail to keep up”. The other advantage to it being digital, is that marks -from progress checks and tests- are usually instantaneous. If it’s a multiple-choice question, they will get their results instantly. If it’s along the lines of an essay however, it will need to be marked. But because of the legible writing format, it won’t take long for the assessor to mark the essay and return the results to the student. This greatly reduces the stress one develops whilst waiting for their marks to be returned.
The best thing about it being digital, is “the cloud”. All lectures, videos, texts, tests, master pages and relevant documents can all be stored online. This reduces the need for paper -naturally-, and increases access to a larger number of people. If you compare it to a real-world filing room, there’s no real competition. On the one hand, you have a filing system where everything is easily accessible with the click of a button; you can look up a topic, pick a sub-topic and watch the video easily. On the other hand, you could -if you prefer- take a walk to a library, browse through shelf after shelf until eventually find the book on the subject you’re looking for, then go to the other side of the room, sit down, read the book and make notes. After which, you mustn’t forget to pack everything away. Is there really any doubt as to which route you would rather take?
The final word
Just as a final point, you’re probably wondering about security? Don’t be worried! Online videos and coursework are very secure. There are double, triple and even quadruple layers of security to get through just to access the mainframe. No university or corporation would dare risk their reputation when hosting online lectures and tests, unless they knew for certain that their test results and subject videos were secure and free from tampering. Simply put, the amount of effort needed to hack one of these systems, would be about the same as doing all the coursework and studying for the test itself. Reliability, time, money and stress. These are just a few of the bonuses derived from computer-aided training.
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