How to Run a Successful Virtual Assessment Centre
Starting your own training company can be very challenging, but rewarding at the same time. Whether you are looking to deliver bespoke courses, accredited courses or funded courses, there are lots of different ways you can go about setting up your own company.
With the recent shift to distance learning, there has been a rise in the demand for virtual assessment centres for candidates and Assessors alike. With social distancing set to be the norm for some time yet, this new virtual way of assessing is likely to transform the way in which we deliver qualifications in the future.
Here at Brooks and Kirk, we have been offering blended courses way before the pandemic, so the shift to remote learning was an easy transition. Here are some of the things to consider when running an assessment centre virtually.
Test the process
As with most things, testing and measuring is the key to running a successful virtual assessment centre. For both candidates and Assessors this online shift is likely to be a new experience, so they need time to adjust and become accustomed to it. Ideally if you can have a focus group on hand to test the processes before going live to iron out any initial problems that may arise.
Prepare for all eventualities
Ok so this is a bit broad, but what we mean here is that things may well go wrong on the day of an assessment. A candidate’s camera may stop working, or the internet connection may be very weak. It is always worth planning extra time for a virtual assessment to ensure both the candidate and the Assessor are all set up ready to go.
IT & security settings
This is something that you will need to go into detail with the company developing your virtual assessment centre. However it is worth having this on your list – you need to ensure there are no restrictions in place regarding the video conferencing technology you choose to use. Zoom has been particularly popular for delivering online learning during lockdown, but you need to make sure both candidates and Assessors are familiar with the software you choose to use.
Keep communication clear
Moving learning and assessments online is great but one thing that often slips is communication. Having a video conference with a candidate isn’t quite the same as sitting in the same room as them. You miss out on their body language, for example, which can tell you a lot about how they are feeling about the assessment. It is important that Assessors take the time to prepare their candidates, just as they would in a normal setting.
Also known as ‘breakout rooms’, it is always a good idea to have the facility where candidates can speak directly to Assessors before the assessment begins. This means that any questions or issues can be ironed out, helping to put the apprentice’s mind at ease.
Lots of video conferencing tools have added extras to help improve the learning process further. For example, functions such as collaborative whiteboards can be really useful if a candidate is struggling to vocally explain something. Again, this goes back to preparing your candidate for the Assessment. Is there anything extra that can be supplied in order to help them through the assessment process?
Run through everything with both candidates & Assessors
New software and systems are always difficult to introduce within an organisation, so make sure you spend time training Assessors to use the platform correctly. Whether that is in the form of introductory videos which show them how to navigate the virtual assessment centre, or a phone call to answer any questions they may have. Remember everyone is still adapting to taking learning online, so patience and clarity are key.
This shift to remote learning doesn’t mean that we have to compromise on the learning and assessment experience. Both time and money can be saved using digital technology, so we need to start embracing this. If you would like to know more about how Brooks and Kirk have been delivering blended learning courses successfully for over 20 years, feel free to give us a call on 01205 805 155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.