Grading Workplace Learners Gets an F

Posted by Dojo Learning: Adult learners in the workplace are accustomed to the the freedoms of adult life. Free will, independent thinking, and the ability to make choices are only a few of the joys of being cut loose from our constrained youth.

However, the straight jacket experiences of high school and adult control never leave us completely. We spend twelves years of our lives learning how to behave and perform for our teachers. Rebellion is part of this experience for some while others are picture perfect students through it all. One truth does emerge, in that as soon as we become adults we start to shed the shackles of control. Or at least we try to.

When workplace learners take professional development courses or go back for upgrading, an internal trigger is evoked. It can be subtle or overt, but a tension between independence and control creeps into the experience, especially during evaluation or assessment. Percentile grading places people on a social spectrum and often makes learners feel inadequate. It evokes an emotional response instead of offering practical indicators. Isn't the workplace supposed to be practical?

The real question that needs to be asked when evaluating or grading a learner is: "Did this learner understand and perform to the level that we deem satisfactory for the work they are doing?" Of course we all want our workplace learners to perform at the highest level, and over time they may.

One way to measure performance is through a system that measures outcomes to a specific competence level. To learn more about these assessment methods, visit the Centre for Education and Work at

At Dojo Learning, we use conversational assessment through our Journal feature. We believe that workplace learners are more interested in having an instructor provide conversational feedback because it provides learners with a way to understand what they’ve learned and what their gaps are. This way the company is ensured that their employees have achieved real learning and can plan for future lessons to meet learner gaps.

This is the first of a series of posts we'll be making about workplace learning and the ideas that went into making Dojo a unique tool for that. Make sure to subscribe via email or RSS to catch future posts as well.

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Tags: 2.0, Cloud, Computing, Development, Dojo, Learning, Professional, Web


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