Many organizations have begun to embrace the concept of “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Device), so we thought it would be useful to share a few tips on how to optimize your online assessments for the broadest range of devices and browsers possible.
Mobile devices are increasingly being used for delivering online surveys and quizzes. We’re also seeing more customers using mobile devices for observational assessment, and exploring the potential of tablets for “mobile test centers.”
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re planning to deliver to smartphones or tablets:
1. Think small. Fortunately, Questionmark’s auto-sensing, auto-sizing interface makes it easy to accommodate a broad range of devices. However, you still should consider the word-count of your items and types of content you wish to deliver. For example, large images that are crucial to a question’s stimulus and/or choices could put users of small-screen devices at a disadvantage. Likewise, they may also take longer to load if the mobile device has a less-than-optimal data-connection signal.
2. Provide QR Codes to make it easy to access quizzes and surveys via mobile devices. A QR Code can contain a URL that makes it quick and easy to launch an assessment, improve survey response rates, and enable capturing of demographic data. See the blog article for more info: “Using QR Codes – Start to Finish”
3. Be cautious using Flash, or avoid it altogether, as many devices (particular iOS devices such as the iPhone) do not provide native support for it.
4. Test it out! Try your assessments on as many different devices as practical. There are many “emulators” that you can use on PCs to help understand how content will appear on the ‘small screen’ — but be cautious as they don’t always give a true “user experience.”
Questionmark staff have already written some great blogs on QR codes – Using QR Codes to Direct Smartphone Users to Assessments (which includes a link to a fantastic PowerPoint slideshow on using QR codes) and QR Codes for Surveys: A Perfect Fit, so I don’t need to repeat how useful they are in this blog. What I will do is show you just how easy it is to set up a QR code that launches an assessment, and how easy it is for a participant to launch an assessment from a mobile device using a QR code.
In this video I have used Authoring Manager to generate a URL to launch a simple quiz last December. It’s an open access quiz, and I’ve added “&name=holiday” to the end of the URL string so that the user doesn’t have to provide a name at the Open Access portal: they’ll be taken straight into the quiz.
Watch the video to learn how to turn the URL into a QR code graphic, and what the experience is like for a user accessing the quiz via the QR code!
Last week was Questionmark’s 10th annual Users Conference – and the eighth one that I’ve personally been able to attend. At each of the previous conferences I’ve attended, I’ve been asked the same question: Why are you doing paper evaluations when you’re an online assessment company?
We actually had a very good reason: our main interest in doing session evaluations was to maximize the quality and quantity of the feedback that we received. If you wanted to maximize response rates, you had to make it as EASY as possible to answer the survey. For smile sheets, paper trumped online… until now.
Enter the second decade of the 21st century:
Smartphones equipped with cameras are commonplace – many of us couldn’t imagine leaving home without ours.
QR Codes embedding website URLs are easy to come by, too: at grocery/department stores and malls, on billboards, in magazines, brochures, you name it.
QR Code- reading software, which essentially turns your Smartphone into a hand-held scanner, is freely available.
Questionmark’s auto-sensing, auto-sizing assessment delivery engine enables a single assessment to be delivered reliably and effectively on many different browsers and platforms – PC or mobile – without any extra steps for the author or administrator. Plus, you can capture key demographic information to the assessment results from an assessment URL.
Delegates at the 2012 Users Conference had two choices for providing session evaluation feedback: scan a QR code with their mobile and answer the survey online, or fill out a paper form (which would be scanned and uploaded via Questionmark Printing and Scanning following the event).
For those using mobiles, scanning the QR code would launch the assessment. The intro screen would display the name of the session they had just attended (just to be sure they scanned the right code).
While I was happy that the mobile smile sheet delivery would ease the burden of post-conference scanning and uploading of results, it was particularly useful to get a real-time view on how delegates were reacting to sessions – during the conference we ran our Course Summary report (see below) a few times a day to get a sense of which sessions were bringing the most benefit to our customers.
This was the first year we offered this option, and I was pleased to see to that more than 20% of all the session evals submitted were done via mobile device! Next year we’ll shoot for 80% and for 100% in 2014! Paper-free and loving it!
Mobile phone usage is growing, and it’s rapidly changing the way we tackle daily tasks. In 2009, 90 percent of the world’s population was covered by a mobile signal, as opposed to 61 percent in 2003. These numbers continue to grow.
What does this mean for the learning industry? It means the ability to reach millions of people anywhere, anytime. Mobile delivery enables new possibilities for observational assessment and exam rooms that can be set up when and where they are needed. It can change the way we test, by bringing assessments into the field and evaluating the performance of specific tasks as they are being done. Delivering assessments on location and offering low-stakes quizzes and surveys on smartphones makes it possible to gather information and get results on the spot. These capabilities, along with QR code technology, which allows anyone to scan a code with a smartphone and be automatically redirected to a webpage or assessment, bring a whole new meaning to “thinking small.”
The ability to fit information on small screens is the key to reaching people on the go. What are some of the tools you can use to reach and assess your own audience? How can you ensure that the assessments that you create fit this new medium? We’ve put together tips for creating assessments and delivering them to mobile to mobile devices in this SlideShare presentation. Check out these ideas and feel free share your own by leaving us a comment!
Let’s face it…QR codes are everywhere. They are in magazines, stores and even food boxes.
Last week when I was in a local store, I was able to do product feature and price comparisons right on my smart phone with the QR codes on the price tags. My nine-year-old daughter scans food bar codes to see their nutritional grades. (For those of you who do not know, QR codes — or Quick Response codes — are a type of barcode that can be used to encode a URL, text or other data.)
So now you might be asking how this fits into surveys. Let me back up a bit and explain.
The hardest part of using surveys or course evaluations is getting people to complete them. For years, people have been trying to find out how to make others want to fill out surveys. I personally avoid surveys at all cost (ironic I know). Some universities have gone as far as not giving a student credit for a class without filling out a course evaluation survey. But I am not sure that is the best way to collect valid information. At the other extreme, some have just stopped trying to collect the information. I am not sure that is right either. It’s important to give people a vehicle for sharing their thoughts or feelings – and also to heed what they are telling you.
So how do we make people want to fill out surveys? I think QR codes could prove to be an effective technique for drawing people in and encouraging them to participate. We know that many people don’t fill out paper forms (which need to be rescanned anyway) and a lot of them also avoid links. But people are drawn into QR codes. The mystery of what is behind the code is enough for most people to draw out their phone and give it a scan.
So how might this apply to learning? QR codes could be put onto a class syllabus, a poster board at a conference or on a webpage (yes you can scan a QR code on your computer). By asking the right questions, you can later filter results by the demographic data you collect on your surveys.
So how about giving this idea a whirl? Try out my QR code survey below and then try and see if QR codes increase traffic on your surveys.