Using Twitter to help learners retain knowledge

john_smallPosted by John KleemanTwitter  Logo

Here’s a question for you: “What is the best way of stopping people forgetting things after learning?”

Think about this for a moment before looking ahead if you can.

I hope your answer is something like this: by asking them questions over time after the learning takes place.

When you learn something, you connect two or more concepts in memory. And when you are asked a question about what you have learned, you have to search your memory to find the answer. This searching makes the connection in memory stronger, so in the future you will be more likely to remember what you have learned rather than forget it. If you’re not familiar with this important idea, see these white papers by learning expert Will Thalheimer for more information:  The Learning Benefits of Questions and Measuring Learning Results.

If your learners go on to another course or go back to work, it’s not always easy to reach them to stimulate their memory with follow-up questions. Here’s where Twitter comes in: it can be a great tool for sending follow up questions.

Twitter grad logo

  1. Have your learners follow you on Twitter, either on your main account, or on a subsidiary account made for each course.
  2. Post short questions as tweets to stimulate people’s memory. Remember, even thinking about the answer can help reinforce the learning. You could post the right answer the next day.
  3. Follow these up with quizzes in Questionmark Perception. You can post links to to these assessments in your tweets. With the new support of mobile devices in Perception version 5, your learners can access these quizzes from mobile devices as well as PCs and Macs, and take the quizzes from their home or while traveling.

Shortening a question into 140 characters  is usually possible, and it’s easy to compress a URL to Perception’s open access entry point (open.php) to fit within a tweet. For instance the URL http://bit.ly/ElectricQuiz links to one of Questionmark’s sample assessments on Electricity Skills.
I hope this idea helps. And in case you’ve forgotten, what is the best way of helping people remember after learning?

Into the third decade of Internet assessment

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

As I take stock of the past year and look forward to the next, I’m doing so with great appreciation for all of Questionmark’s customers and users and for all my colleagues. I’d like to extend my best wishes to everyone for 2010.

I’m looking forward to the New Year as the start of a decade that promises to be an exciting one in which to work.There should be some amazing new developments during the 2010s as the Internet—which I regard as the third great invention of humankind—continues to transform assessment!

I’d suggest the first great invention was writing, allowing people to store information and knowledge and pass it on to others. Before writing, information could only be transferred by songs and ballads, or one person’s advice to another. Once writing was invented, knowledge could be written and stored, and more complex societies could start to form.

The next great invention was the printing press. Books and knowledge were not just restricted to the rich or the learned but could be communicated to all. Access to information and ideas became much easier, and this led in time to equality and freedom and our modern world.

The Internet, by bringing everyone together irrespective of geography and allowing the synergy of the crowd, rather than just from the writer to the reader, is transforming the world and society.  These are exciting and interesting times to be living and working. We don’t yet know where the Internet will take us, but it already is changing our world and bringing it together.

Working in the field of assessment, we are fortunate to be enablers for the Internet revolution. The Internet means that knowledge, learning and ideas spread faster than ever before, and we are freed from the constraints of geography. You can read this blog entry from Kansas to Karachi, at the time you want. And you can comment on it, tweet it, or ignore it and move to something better, all in just a few keystrokes.

Assessment contributes to the Internet and the Internet contributes to assessment. The Internet is about learning and assessment is the cornerstone of learning: it diagnoses what you know and need to learn, helps confirm what you have learned and helps personalize your learning path.  The promise of the Internet is that a child in the furthest corner of the world can learn from the greatest teacher, and that the potential of everyone in the world can be fulfilled. By effective use of surveys, quizzes, tests and exams, we can be part of making this happening.

The Internet also contributes to making assessment better. From online item writing workshops and item review with tools such as Questionmark Live, to delivery over the Internet and on mobile devices, and to passing and confirming assessment results online, the Internet changes every part of assessment. And this can only change and change for the better as the technology becomes more reliable and the demands for global assessment increase.

The 1990s saw the beginnings of Internet assessment (with Questionmark proud to have produced the first Internet assessment product in 1995) and the 2000s have seen Internet assessment become widespread and useful. Questionmark has an exciting announcement to make about a new version of our software in January 2010 that will make mobile assessments and assessments in frames within wikis, blogs and portals much, much easier. With news like that for starters, the 2010s look a very exciting time for Internet assessment.

Questionmark Breakfast Briefings & User Group Meetings Start Tomorrow

Joan Phaup

Posted by Joan Phaup

Just as students are returning to school these days, we at Questionmark are starting our annual fall series of  Breakfast Briefings and User Group meetings in the U.S.

Our Briefing guests will join us for a complimentary breakfast and a hands-on tutorial, during which they will be able to create questions and assessments using Questionmark Perception. The tutorials take place in computer training rooms, so this is a great way to try out the software and a good opportunity to ask questions.  We will also be showing people how to use Questionmark Live, our new browser-based authoring tool for subject matter experts, and they will see new ways of managing multilingual assessments and delivering assessments on mobile devices.

Current Perception users are invited to join us for lunch, discussions about topics of their choice and in-depth looks at new product features and Questionmark services.  Not only do these meetings give our customers the opportunity to talk with Questionmark managers; they also help our team understand customers’ challenges and needs with regard to assessments.

We will kick off in the Boston area  tomorrow and work our way around to a total of seven cities. Here’s the schedule:

  • September 1: Boston (Burlington)
  • September 3: New York
  • September 24: Chicago
  • October 6:  Dallas
  • October 8 and 9 :  Washington, DC (second session added by popular demand!)
  • October 20: Atlanta
  • October 22: Los Angeles

There’s still time to sign up for a briefing and/or a user group meeting: click here for information about the Briefings, and here for User Group details.

There is no charge for attending these events, so we hope you will take advantage of these great learning opportunities and will join us!