Higher Education

Seeing is Believing: The Impact of Evidence on Student Learning

Seeing is Believing: The Impact of Evidence on Student Learning

Academic leaders are on a mission to provide students with an education that will equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in their future careers. Yet, as anyone who’s ever taken an exam knows, simply assessing whether students have learned and are prepared to be successful professionals is no easy feat. This is where evidence of learning comes in. Gathering and analyzing evidence of learning is a crucial aspect of ensuring that students aren’t just collecting a bunch of facts, but are actually developing into competent and skilled professionals who can make meaningful contributions in their fields and workplaces. 

In recent years, higher ed institutions have faced increasing pressure to demonstrate accountability, transparency in instruction and learning, and demonstrate ROI for all students. Accreditation agencies, funding sources, and even prospective students and their families all want to see evidence of learning outcomes that demonstrate the value of a college education, and demonstrate readiness for success in the next chapter of their lives

Evidence allows teachers to accurately track their students’ progress. By collecting data, instructors can analyze the effectiveness of their strategies, and then personalize their teaching approach to fit each student’s needs and ensure they’re meeting their learning objectives. 

Evidence of learning helps students take ownership of their learning. When they see their progress is being tracked and analyzed, they become more motivated to learn. They can also better understand where they stand in relation to their peers and their own learning objectives, which can boost their confidence and motivate them for higher achievement. 

The Role of Technology in Validating Learning

Video has become a sought-after tool to collect and demonstrate evidence of learning. With video, students can record themselves demonstrating a skill and provide a visual record of their learning. Instructors can review these videos and provide personalized feedback.

The rapid adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools also reinforces the need for authentic and evidenced learning. While AI can provide valuable insights into student learning, it can only analyze data that exists. By gathering evidence of learning through various methods, such as video, educational leaders can provide a more complete picture of their students’ learning and progress. As Brian Arnold, Chair of Global Innovation, Social Emotional Learning, and Educational Technology at National University’s Sanford College of Education notes, relying on text-submitted work from students can be suspect, but having video evidence is fool-proof.   

Video enables evidence in learning across all disciplines through these three ways:

  1. Enabling more detailed and specific feedback: Video can allow for feedback that is more detailed and specific. Rather than relying on written feedback or grades, which can be limited in providing specific in-the-moment guidance, video feedback allows instructors to provide detailed comments on specific moments. Often these comments can be audio or text, allowing flexibility in both the delivery and receipt of feedback. This level of feedback can provide students with specific suggestions for improvement and help build their confidence and motivation.

  2. Promote self reflection: By watching themselves, students can gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and improve their ability to identify areas they need to improve. This can help them become more self-directed learners which will serve them well throughout their careers.

  3. Facilitating peer assessment: By allowing peer-to-peer reflection, students learn to receive and give feedback to others. This can help them develop critical thinking and communication skills, as well as provide them with a more diverse range of perspectives. 

Providing evidence of learning through tools like video assessment is key in developing career readiness in students. By focusing on practical skills and personalized feedback, institutions can help ensure that students are entering the workforce with confidence and competence.