New white paper: Questionmark and Microsoft Office 365

Posted by John Kleeman

I’m pleased to inform you of a new white paper fresh off the press on Questionmark and Microsoft Office 365.

Office logoThis white paper explains how Microsoft Office 365 complements the Questionmark OnDemand assessment management system; and how you can use Office 365 to launch Questionmark surveys, quizzes, tests and exams, how to consume Office 365 resources within Questionmark, and how Office 365 can help analyze results from assessments. You can download the white paper here.

The white paper also describes some of the reasons that organizations use assessments and why it is important for assessments to be valid, reliable and trustable.

Launching assessments from Office 365

Being able to call assessments from within Office 365 allows you to closely connect an assessment to content, for example to check understanding after learning. The white paper describes how you can:

  • Call Questionmark assessments from the Office 365 app launcher
  • Launch an assessment from within a Word, Excel or other Office document
  • Embed an assessment inside a PowerPoint presentation
  • Launch or embed assessments from SharePoint
  • Use SAML to have common identities and seamless authentication between Office 365 and Questionmark OnDemand. The benefit of this is that test-takers can login once to Office 365 and then can take tests in Questionmark OnDemand without needing to login again.

Using Office 365 resources within assessments

Illustration of a picture of a video being used inside an assessmentAssessments of competence are in general more accurate when the questions simulate the performance environment being measured. By putting video, sound, graphics and other media within question stimulus, you help put the participant’s mind into an environment closer to how he/she will be when doing a real-world job task. This makes the question more accurate in measuring the performance of such tasks.

To help take advantage of this, a common use of Office 365 with Questionmark OnDemand is  to make media and other resources that you can use within assessments. The white paper describes how you can use Office 365 Video, PowerPoint, SmartArt and other Office 365 tools to make videos and other useful question content.

Using Office 365 to help analyze results of assessments

People have been using Microsoft Excel to help analyze assessment results since the 1980s and the white paper describes some suggestions on how to do that most effectively with Questionmark OnDemand.

Newer Microsoft tools can also be used to provide powerful insight into assessment results. Questionmark OnDemand makes available assessment data in an OData feed, which can be consumed by business intelligence systems like Power BI. OData is an open protocol to allow the creation and consumption of queryable and interoperable data in a simple and standard way. The white paper also describes how to use OData and Power BI to get further analysis and visualizations from Questionmark OnDemand.


The white paper is easy to read and gives practical advice. I recommend reading this white paper if your organization uses Office 365 and Questionmark or if you are considering doing so. You can download the white paper (free with registration) from the Questionmark website.  You can also see other white papers, eBooks and other helpful resources at


Happy Birthday SharePoint 2010

Posted by John Kleeman

A year ago (May 12th 2010), Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010 and Questionmark wishes SharePoint 2010 a happy first birthday.

A key improvement in SharePoint 2010 over the earlier 2007 version was the inclusion of much-improved tools for social networking. Blogs and wikis are stronger. You can tag and rate pages and resources. There are activity streams, better personal sites and knowledge mining. The updated user interface, with an Office-like ribbon, makes it easier to use and helps people realize SharePoint is an end-user tool, not just a techie tool.

Questionmark is seeing a lot more interest in integrating assessments in SharePoint now that the 2010 version is out. Companies are looking at expanding their existing SharePoint installations to add a social dimension to learning and training, and universities are also looking at deploying SharePoint for learning, sometimes in place of traditional VLEs. Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud offering, includes a twin sister of SharePoint 2010 (“SharePoint Online”) inside it, and I know this will help bring more people to the SharePoint party.

We’ve started our own blog on SharePoint and assessments; for more on this see

According to Microsoft, every day for the last 5 years, 20,000 workers have joined the ranks of SharePoint users. If you’re one of these or are thinking of becoming one, then to celebrate SharePoint’s birthday, here is a fun quiz on SharePoint – how much do you know?