LEAP – Transforming Assessment
Little did Cypriot training company, DEKAPLUS realise just how important LEAP would become as the COVID19 pandemic impacted on its learners and its courses. It provided a lifeline and enabled them to keep supporting their learners during the lockdown.
LEAP Made It Possible
DEKAPLUS undertook the initial alpha testing of the new LEAP assessment platform with students working towards its Food and Beverage vocational courses. The testing started with the registration of 23 students, 6 assessors and 3 moderators for 25 units and 3 courses. The testing focussed on exploring how the platform worked and testing new developments and features as they became live.
Enter the pandemic! Suddenly, what was supposed to have been a beta pilot test exercise, escalated into a mainstream contingency strategy as the pandemic resulted in lockdown. The lockdown started in March 2020 just a few weeks before the commencement of three new courses involving 75 learners, 6 assessors for 50 units. The options were to either cancel the courses or take a chance with LEAP and in combination with Zoom to deliver the various units. The pressure from the learners themselves to attend online some of the course units persuaded DEKAPLUS to test the LEAP platform on a real-life situation.
Zoom was the conference software which was used to deliver lectures and in-class demonstrations. LEAP was the primary mean of communication between learners, assessors, and moderators. LEAP was used to distribute and manage course assignments and the submission of course work.
With very little to put in place and to data input, DEKAPLUS organised three separate training sessions on the LEAP platform introducing learners to the platform. LEAP was to be the main communication tool enabling learners to continue with their learning. DEKAPLUS set up a support hotline support for the learners during the first month of operation. However, once a few teething problems were ironed out, the courses were completed despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Assignments which required practical demonstration (i.e. setting up a table by a waiter) were either demonstrated online or videoed and uploaded to LEAP.
At the end, learners were relieved and pleased to have completed their courses using LEAP. At first, they felt their education would be disrupted, but LEAP made it possible for them to be able to continue their education.
Specifically, regarding the LEAP platform learners were impressed by the LEAP feature where they could reflect on their work at a click of a button. Furthermore, e-badges acted as a motivation and created a competition atmosphere between the learners as they shared them on their social media.
Assessors also gave the LEAP platform thumbs up. They found it very easy to manage their classes progress through the dashboard and the communication with the learners became very flexible and timely. Distribution of course material and assignments were straight forward as was the assessment process. This was a true test of the value of LEAP – there is little doubt that DEKAPLUS will continue using LEAP after the Erasmus+ project has ended.
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