Most students graduate with a particular career path in mind, but the specialized skills they learn in school don’t always stay relevant forever. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Future of Jobs Report, “nearly 50 percent of subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree [is] outdated by the time students graduate.”
Whether because of automation or the limited shelf life of some technical skills, it’s never been more important for individuals to focus on continuous learning. Becoming a lifelong learner is one of the best ways professionals can make themselves future-proof, but doing so requires a commitment to personal development.
Coaches and mentors are great resources for goal setting, industry advice, and accountability, but individuals shouldn’t hesitate to take more control over their learning. Self-assessment is the core technique that drives this process. As learners reflect on their performance, it helps them build transferable skills like critical analysis, higher-order thinking, and problem solving. Over time, individuals can start to apply these competencies across the entire feedback cycle to drive improvement.
But how can instructors promote the practice of self-assessment, especially in distance learning environments? Video assessment platforms facilitate the self-assessment process and give learners a space to repeatedly practice these core soft skills.
Assessing performance on video
When learners give a business presentation or speech, they usually gauge their performance based on factors like audience reaction, internal expectations, and other innate feelings. These perceptions might be accurate, but they come from only one perspective initially—the speaker’s. Instead of relying solely on their own impressions and instructor feedback to improve, video assessment platforms help learners reflect on their work in multiple ways.
- Self-assessment: As an example scenario, let’s say an individual records themselves giving a business presentation on video. The best video assessment platforms let learners self-assess their recording pre- and post-submission. As individuals reflect on their video, they can evaluate things like body language, tone of voice, and how their overall message comes across. When learners get a chance to gauge how well their work satisfies the assignment criteria, they become a source of internal feedback for themselves. This helps them take inventory of what they did well, make more connections to the material, and record follow-up attempts when necessary.
- Peer review: After learners submit their final recording, they can review their peers’ videos as well. When individuals assess someone else’s work and deliver feedback, it helps them develop valuable critical thinking and communication skills. Learners often reflect back on their own work throughout this process and gain even more valuable insight they can use to improve their performance.
- Post-submission examples: Post-submission examples are another great way for learners to practice self-assessment. When instructors provide an example of what “good” looks like, learners analyze what works well in that presentation and apply that information to improve future performances.
- Repeated practice: Video assessment platforms facilitate the self-assessment process because they support video creation and feedback capabilities within the same space. This helps instructors generate repeated practice opportunities where individuals can develop their critical analysis, higher-order thinking, and problem solving skills, which are the the building blocks of lifelong learning.
Research has shown that business executives and managers believe recent graduates are more prepared to succeed in entry-level positions than to advance. If the responsibility falls on higher ed institutions to equip graduates with the skills they need for career success and lifelong learning, then self-assessment exercises are a good place to start.