Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Testing and Certification

Those familiar with webcasting already know that in addition to providing sharp video, clean audio and synchronized power point slides, a webinar also allows attendees to download documents intended to supplement the content, such as: white papers, the power point deck itself, etc.

But there is a lesser known capability that has huge implications for the continuing education field: Testing and Certification.

A great deal of distance learning is still done using audio conference technology, with people huddling around speaker phones in "sites" in order to keep costs down. A fundamental advantage of webcasting - in any application - is that the telephone and its accompanying charges is unnecessary. Webcasting is scalable and typically priced with a flat fee, so the ROI increases with the size of the audience.

Besides the cost, another consequence of the old approach is that exam boards are required to manually assess, grade, and certify thousands of candidates one by one. This arduous process ties up significant resources that could be applied more productively elsewhere and requires candidates to wait as long as 30 days for their results. This has meant that board statistics have always been retrospective.

But webcasting technology puts an end to that. After viewing the webcast attendees can take their test online, have it graded immediately, and have a custom certificate printed with their names, etc. The necessary information is transmitted electronically to the accrediting body.

Attendees have a richer experience, there is less cost, and there is less administration.

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