Designing learning with the reflection of assessment in mind.

How many of us have looked at a lesson after one of those days in the classroom only to wonder why it was so difficult to get the students to engage in the learning?

design desk display eyewear
Photo by on

I can think of several lessons that I thought would be engaging and exciting for my learners and felt the let down at the end of a long day. My students did not share in my enthusiasm for the content or the learning and I did not understand why. As I take a deeper look at what motivates learners, I wish I could jump back in time and redesign those lessons for my students in different ways.

If we are going to be learner-centered we need to design the learning and analysis of learning through the experience of each learner. This experience should be rich with the reflection that leads to self-motivation and discovery by the student. As I interact with ISTE Educator standard 5 (Designer) and 6 (Analyst) I found myself wondering

“How can I use assessments as a tool that honors and communicates the next steps and plans for the “authentic learning activities” (ISTE Educator 5b) for the learner, while using “technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that accommodate learner needs, provide timely feedback to students and inform instruction” (ISTE Educator 7b)?

In my quest to empower learners to engage and collaborate with learning, I continue to feel a pull towards using video to support content delivery and student reflection of learning. Vialogues allows for the teacher to upload videos from YouTube and post guiding questions within the video. This could be used to evaluate the content or a reflective conversation between the learner and facilitator about the learning that is occurring. Van der Kleij, Adie, & Cumming, (2016) evaluated the feedback about learning and found that when questions were intentionally designed “the students’ stops were more focussed on reviewing the teachers’ feedback with commentary on the content they need to learn, strategies for improvement, and the teacher’s style of feedback” (pp.1099). This drives home the importance of learning first and tools second for our digital generation learners. We cannot post a video and think that we are creating cutting edge classrooms because we are ‘using’ technology. The learning experiences continue to only be as rich as the feedback and formative assessments we use to drive the next steps of learning driving students towards mastery of learning objectives. Students can also benefit from watching video posts from their peers to deepen learning. Jeffrey Young (2018) found that “Students report that being able to watch videos of their peers makes them feel more connected to their fellow learners”. Using video allows students to interact with each other in an approachable way. The quiet student in the back can now interact as much as the eager collaborator.

It would be interesting to pair the use of video engagement and questioning with formative assessment tools like those found on GoFormative. This web-based tool allows students and teachers to interact in real-time learning that will propel learning to the next level. GoFormative can be used to assess content and students reflection of learning. Results can be exported into a spreadsheet that can be used to track assessment data. Students are able to reflect on the learning to move the focus from compliance based responses to metacognitive connection to learning that allows for application past the unit test or semester final. This short video from Common Sense Education found on the GoFormative site gives some tips on how to push assessment past the multiple choice question.

By coupling the interaction of learning and reflection within videos with real-time assessments students can grow within a learning system that is centered around their own pace and growth. A word to the wise, compliance learning does not go away with personalization driven by a tech-savvy tool. Educators need to have a clear vision and path towards learning goals that will motivate and encourage students along the way. When a teacher couples clear learning objectives with learning that is designed and assessed for unique learning perspectives and understanding in mind the sky is truly the limit.


Common Sense Education. (2016, July 12). YouTube [YouTube]. Retrieved May 4, 2019, from

Formative. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2019, from

Kleij, F. V., Adie, L., & Cumming, J. (2016). Using video technology to enable student voice in assessment feedback. British Journal of Educational Technology,48(5), 1092-1105. doi:10.1111/bjet.12536

Vialogues. Retrieved May 5, 2019, from

Young, J. (2018, December 27). For Online Class Discussions, Instructors Move From Text to Video. Retrieved May 6, 2019, from




Comments are closed.