Destination Los Angeles for the 2011 Users Conference March 15 – 18

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Quick!  Mark the dates of March 15 – 18 and consider  all the things you’d like to see on your trip to Los Angeles for the Questionmark 2011 Users Conference.

We’ve booked space at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza for this great learning event and look forward to seeing our customers there!

Join your colleagues to discuss best practices, attend technical training, meet with Questionmark technicians, share your ideas and learn how to write better assessments. Judging from the positive feedback we get about the conference every year, this is event is not to be missed:

“What I enjoy most  is the opportunity to network with other other people, compare solutions and mine the wealth of data that’s available.”

“I appreciate learning about various ways to implement Questionmark and looking at emerging technologies.”

“The conference was great! I learned a lot and had fun doing it! I can’t wait till the next one.”

The “next one” will be here before we know it! We  soon post more information about the conference and issue a call for proposals.

In the meantime, click here to enjoy some quick videos from the 2010 conference!

Learning Environments – Identity Clouds

julie-smallPosted by Julie Delazyn

Behind Questionmark’s efforts to be at the forefront of technology is the desire to bring assessments to people in ways that fit in with their learning needs and preferences, schedules, delivery devices and so on.

This has resulted in a number of innovations such as accessibility controls, multilingual participant interfaces and a Translation Management System, as well as mobile delivery capabilities for learners on the move. We are constantly exploring ways to provide assessments at the right time, in the right place and in the right context.

With those ideas in mind, Questionmark CEO Eric Shepherd has been using his own blog. to explore ideas about learning environments, assessments and identity management. Following up on a post about how Content Clouds can make up learning environments, Eric has been considering how “identity clouds” can help us tailor learning experiences to an individual. He describes how accessing  information from identity clouds, made up of 6 interconnecting sub-clouds, could help provide reliable, personalized learning experiences.

These sub-clouds provide details about:

  • Personal Data
  • Access Control
  • Drivers (Goals)
  • Trust Networks
  • Experience
  • Preferences

For more on this topic, read Eric’s entire post: Learning Environments – Identity Clouds.

Sending an email at the end of an assessment

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

One of our customers — a training manager — recently requested we add to Questionmark Perception the ability to automatically send an email at the end of an assessment. He needs to know as soon as people pass certain assessments that have safety implications.

I was pleased to be able to tell him that you can do this already in the software. And in case anyone else wants to do this and doesn’t realize it’s already possible, I thought I’d blog to let others know how to do this.

When you are creating an assessment in Authoring Manager, you can associate an automatic email with an assessment outcome, for instance to send an email when someone passes or fails.

Here’s where you can specify what you want to happen:


You can arrange for the email to go to the participant, to a specified email address or to an email address set in a special field. There are also easy drop-downs that allow you to include people’s name, score or details within the email. In the example above, I have set the email to be sent to me and to tell me the name of the participant and his or her pass score.

Here are some typical uses for emails at the end of assessments:

  • Send an email to a participant confirming that they have passed a test, to give them a formal record of a pass
  • Email a person’s manager to let them know whether the person has passed or failed
  • Alert an instructor that someone requires remedial instruction
  • If you are using Perception for pre-employment screening, you can provide a notification when someone is screened successfully
  • You can also set up assessment outcomes more widely than pass and fail. For example, you might want to send an email if someone answers a survey with a particular set of weights or does exceptionally well or badly on an assessment

Pushing out a notification by email at the end of an assessment will be useful to most Perception users, and I hope it’s helpful to be reminded how to do it.

Save these dates for Breakfast Briefings and User Group Meetings

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Noticing the start of “Back to School” sales (say it isn’t so!), it’s good to think of something to look forward to this fall: our annual series of Breakfast Briefings and User Group Meetings in the United States.

In addition to showing newcomers the basics of creating, delivering, and reporting on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams, we’ll be demonstrating how easy it is to deliver assessments to  mobile devices such as the Apple  iPhone and iPad. Our guests will also see the latest capabilities of  browser-based authoring in Questionmark Live and learn about embedding surveys and quizzes within blogs, wikis and portals to provide instant recall practice during learning. We’ll also focus on some best practices in analyzing and reporting on assessment results. We hope you will join us for breakfast and enjoy a morning of learning and networking with other assessment professionals from your area.

Current Questionmark users will get together after each briefing for lunch and an afternoon of in-depth discussions. This is a great opportunity to learn about coming product features and talk in depth with members of the Questionmark  team about technical issues, best practices and any other topics you would like to address.

Here’s the schedule. We hope you will visit our Web site to find out more and register.

  • Boston – September 21
  • New York – September 23
  • Chicago –  September 27
  • Dallas – October 19
  • Washington, DC – October 21
  • Ft Lauderdale – October 26
  • Los Angeles – November 9

Assessment for virtual training

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

At the suggestion of the Masie Center, I’ve been reading an interesting book on Virtual Training Basics by Cindy Huggett. So I’ve been thinking about how you can use assessment effectively within Virtual training.

Virtual training is an online event, where a trainer meets up with participants and instructs them in an online classroom or similar environment (for instance Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Webex or Adobe Connect). A recent survey by ASTD suggests that 6.4% of formal US training hours are virtual, which is a lot of training hours.

Assessment is a cornerstone of all learning, but when you are remote from your participants, and so cannot see their facial reactions or body language, assessment is even more important than in face-t- face training. If you are delivering virtual training, here are some ways you can consider using assessments.

  • Pre-test: A pre-test before the virtual training session is valuable for understanding participants’ knowledge in advance and for creating intrigue. In virtual training, it’s harder to engage participants or check in verbally with what they know, so pre-tests are particularly important.
  • Poll slides: Many systems allow poll slides, which present simple questions — usually multiple choice — that allow you to check participants’ views or reactions. These are basic, but easy and useful.
  • Real-time knowledge checks: Whereas poll slides are helpful, they don’t usually store the results or identify people. In longer sessions, short quizzes that check knowledge of topics within the course are sometimes preferable. People can take the assessments in real time and you can see the results collectively and by individual. This is very easy to set up in Questionmark Perception. In some tools, like Live Meeting, you can simply include a web page (see here for instructions) and each participant will get their own versions of the quiz to fill in.
  • Course evaluations: These are important for all training, but in virtual training where you cannot see the reactions face-to-face, they are vital. Every virtual training session should have a course evaluation and should include questions on the virtual experience as well as the usual questions.
  • Post-course tests:  Like any other session, virtual or real, people will forget over time, and questions sent after the event can prevent forgetting and reinforce learning.

As Internet speeds get faster, software improves and travel challenges and costs grow, more and more of us are going to be delivering virtual training. I think assessment within virtual training will be essential to making the training successful and also measuring its success.

Connect directly to Perception server with Questionmark’s iPhone/iPad App


Posted by Jim Farrell

Before the Apple® iPad™ hit the streets, we knew that it would be an immediate player in the education market. Its large, color touch screen has made the iPad the darling of college and corporate campuses. So we knew we wanted our Apple iPhone® App to work on this new device. 

We also wanted to make it easier for our customers to use the App immediately after downloading it. We added the ability for you to configure the App to connect directly to your Perception server install, whether it is On Premise or On Demand.

Watch this short video showing you how easy it is to connect directly to your Perception server using our iPhone/iPad App today. If you haven’t played with the App, download it today! Just follow the link from our information page.