Remote learning tools are helping students and instructors succeed as we shift to distanced learning. However, they only work if everyone can access and use them effectively. It’s often difficult to know which testing software solutions will work best for your students or even what to look for in a digital learning tool.
To create successful online tests, instructors need a system that balances value-driven assessment tools along with reliable user experience features.
Effective online testing systems include robust assessment features that allow users to access and complete tests easily. In this blog, we’ll explain why user experience is a critical part of online testing, then outline two key factors that can help you create a positive user experience within your online testing system.
How Does User Experience Impact Online Testing?
In most digital applications, the user experience (UX) “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” In online testing, the user experience dictates how students and instructors navigate, understand, and interact with an online testing system.
The UX of your online testing tool dictates more than just students’ perception of the assessment platform or satisfaction with their test-taking experience. In fact, each student‘s experience directly relates to their learning outcomes and mastery of an assessment or course. If your students can’t navigate an exam, use critical accessibility features, or find support resources easily, their grades and overall course performance will be greatly inhibited.
To ensure each student has the greatest chance at success, schools should leverage user research and UX best practices to deliver a great experience and, in turn, more positive learning outcomes for online testing.
How Do You Build User Experience Features into Online Testing?
#1 Prioritize Platform Accessibility
eLearning has opened doors for differently-abled people, allowing them to learn from home and, in some cases, use assistive technologies to complete assignments, take tests, and participate in class.
However, the assistive tools these individuals need to complete their work aren’t inherently built into the Internet as a whole. Instead, web designers and developers must take special care to follow accessibility regulations and create user experiences that are truly accessible for everyone who uses their platform.
For this reason, accessibility should form the foundation of your online assessment. Designing an accessible experience should always be a high priority when developing or implementing a new online testing system. You’ll want to ensure your system includes assistive technologies like screen readers, magnification software, speech input software, and more to ensure people with disabilities can navigate the platform and complete assessments.
Digital testing and other eLearning tools must comply with online assessment accessibility standards that require assistive technologies and other considerations for disabled users. As you design your online testing system, keep accessibility in mind every step of the way, from color palettes to text formatting and assistive features that some of your students will need to succeed in their courses.
#2 Conduct User Research
User research is “the process of understanding the impact of design on an audience.” To design a valuable, intuitive user experience, you’ll first need to understand what users want to gain from the testing platform.
An instructor may want to quickly set up complex assessments, create multiple variations of an exam, or implement specialized testing tools into an existing platform. On the other hand, students want clear instructions and easy-to-use interfaces that help them complete tests on time and avoid losing points due to a system glitch, incomplete instructions, or a frozen screen.
Depending on your situation, you may use a mix of usability testing, industry data points, real-time feedback, and performance metrics from your existing assessment platform. These research methods can help you identify:
- How users interact with testing platforms similar to yours
- What common struggles students and instructors face within these platforms
- Where your current system gaps are today
- What each type of user (teacher, student, proctor, etc.) wants out of a digital testing tool
- And much more!
Understanding how people navigate online testing systems ultimately helps you build a platform that delivers a positive user experience and the best learning outcomes possible. You should also continue testing and analyzing user data beyond your platform launch or system upgrade. Regular testing keeps you updated on user behavioral trends so you can refine your assessment tool to mitigate common errors and deliver on user expectations in the long term.
How Do You Find the Right Online Testing System?
When it’s time to select an online testing system for your school, look for a comprehensive solution with considerations for accessibility, authoring, reporting, and more, a solution that services each party who will interact with it.
TAO Testing offers innovative, highly-customizable online testing system solutions that enable instructors and empower students to succeed. Our solutions can stand alone or integrate with your existing technology to streamline operations and deliver comprehensive scoring and reporting through a single software dashboard.
Interested in optimizing online testing at your school? Contact us today to get started.