Assessing the Quality of Online Learning in Theological Education
April 24, 2021 2.00 PM - 2.30 PM On Demand Save the Date
This paper argues that traditional assessments used in online learning do not meaningfully promote or record the process of spiritual formation—a key objective of theological education.
First, Andrew compares student performance in seven core units of a Diploma of Theology with the student performance in the same units delivered in a traditional format. This comparison confirms the trend observed in secular higher education, namely that online students perform slightly better than their face to face counterparts (e.g. Nguyen, 2015). In the 2018-19 sample Andrew has extracted from his own context, online students received an average mark of 72.7% compared to 69.4% for face to face student; a closer analysis of the data paints a similar picture.
Traditional assessments used in online learning do not meaningfully promote or record the process of spiritual formation—a key objective of theological education.
Secondly, Andrew compares the 2019 QILT Student Experience Survey data for these same two cohorts. In contrast to the higher performance of online students, they report lower overall satisfaction (85.7% versus 100%) and much lower learner engagement (33.3% versus 90%).
Thirdly, Andrew discusses three possible explanations for this disparity and suggest that much of this can be attributed to limitations of assessment design, which narrowly focus upon unit learning outcomes.
Fourthly, Andrew makes a number of proposals for online assessments that promote and record spiritual formation.
Domain 3: Learning & Teaching
- ‘Rummaging, Stretching and Searching for Fragments’ – What can be assessed in Spiritual Formation?
- Curriculum Design and Pedagogical Analysis of the Bible Units in the Bachelor of Theology / Bachelor of Ministry Award at ACOM
- Educating for Virtue
- Creative Assessment in Theological Education
- Relearning Research in the Information Age: A Strategy for Setting Students up for Success in Online Learning
- ‘On the Way’ Assessment Strategies for Online Transformative Learning
- Can “Performative Assessment” Corrupt Transformative Learning, especially for Spiritual Formation?
- Engaging all Learners to Engage with God: Universal Design for Learning and Theological Education