A designer must first ask themselves which interactions they plan to assess and why. Which interactions form the basis of practice and which will become the foundation of your assessment? 

Learner / Learner

Common learner to learner assessments include peer reviews, group reflective processes or group products with a self-evaluation component. One method of learner to learner formative assessment is the strategy of socratic seminar. Socratic seminars can be used for almost any topic, and can encourage participants to stay engaged, active and to contribute equally. Having the inner and outer circles debrief at the end of an activity provides immediate feedback and keeps all learners accountable throughout the activity. 

Learner / Material

Assessing learner to material interactions is the most obvious data point in our designs. Some online interactive platforms have feedback options built into the dashboards, showing an instructor how long a learner was engaging in materials, where they encountered obstacles or struggled, and if they accessed additional supports. Should this information be used as assessment? The age-old practice of assessing learner participation is far too subjective and inequitable to use as data. Offering choice in how the learners demonstrate their learning in relation to the published learning outcomes may be the best way to assess how a learner interacted with the materials. 

Learner / Instructor

Whether face to face or online, one of the most traditional assessments of interaction between teacher and learner was through documenting attendance. But this can be meaningless data, as being “present” does not indicate any level of interaction. Interactions assessed between instructor and student are usually prompts distributed by the instructor (tasks, responses to content, or tests to complete) and then performed or completed by the learner. How much of the interaction in this domain are instructor controlled? A designer should plan for avenues for student-directed interactions with instructors. 

Learner / Self

Having learners reflect frequently using open-ended prompts can help develop metacognitive skills. Pausing to take inventory of our new understandings and connections to prior knowledge after interacting with materials can provide evidence of growth over time. Completing these reflections in a public space could encourage more interactivity between learners as they share their understandings of material, new learning, and experiences with instructors.  

As discussed previously, whichever mode of interaction becomes part of the plan for assessment, it is critical to ensure alignment between the outcomes and the task.