Learning Evaluation & Assessment of Learning: What’s the Difference?

A group of students sitting around a table with a woman standing up giving instruction
  • November 29, 2022

When it comes to the training industry, there are many terms (such as needs assessment and training needs analysis) that are often used incorrectly. That’s because many people may think that some phrases may be used interchangeably, when, in actuality, these terms represent concepts that differ greatly. One example of this confusion can be seen with the terms “learning evaluation” and “assessment of learning”.

From an outside perspective, it’s understandable why one may think that assessment and evaluation could mean the same thing. However, those familiar with the training industry should be aware of the differences between the two.

What is Learning Evaluation?

In a training atmosphere, such as a classroom or online instruction, evaluation occurs when those who are in charge of training use methods to determine the depth of understanding a learner has for the materials at hand. The best way to think about it is this: evaluation provides feedback from the trainer to the learner through a score or other type of appraisal. Examples of evaluation methods and measures include quizzes, exams, projects, worksheets, written reports, and other types of assignments that are completed for a score.

What is Assessment of Learning?

On the other hand, there's learning assessment. When performing a learning assessment, trainers are observing and taking into account how each learner tends to process information and respond to different approaches to learning. An easy way to understand assessment of learning is, when it is performed, learners are providing feedback to the trainer about how they learn and understand information being presented to them.

During the assessment process, there are three main steps that occur:

  1. The trainer questions learners either directly or through surveys & assignments to determine a learner’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to absorbing new information
  2. The trainer provides each individual learner with feedback on how they may be able to take different approaches or methods to improve learning transfer
  3. The individual learner has an understanding of the trainer’s suggestions and implements those new methods into their process of learning

The notable difference between the concepts of learning evaluation and learning assessment is that evaluation is performed to determine the effectiveness of the training and results of learning, while assessment is performed to analyze the ways in which individuals process and learn materials. It’s imperative for training professionals to fully understand these differences in order to provide the best learning outcomes for individual learners.

If you have questions about how to incorporate these concepts into your online or in-person safety training, contact Safety Mentor. We’ll help you understand how our LXP can help both your training staff and students be successful in a training atmosphere.

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