Workplace-based assessment is being increasingly used, especially in competency-based education programs. Our own experience predominantly lies with medical education (CBME) but the principles are being rapidly adopted elsewhere. The challenge with this is the increasing reliance on subjective observations by teachers, with all their attendant biases – we are drowning in forms. See this presentation on Activity Metrics.
As well as exploring activity metrics within workplace tools, such as the electronic medical record (EMR), our research is now exploring the virtualization of such tools using the OpenLabyrinth education research platform. This allows us to set up a predefined workflow with constrained navigation pathways. Using a real EMR often leads to the early learner becoming lost in the system complexity, and wandering off into paths unknown.
Along with Canada Health Infoway, we have been exploring the potential of the virtual EMR for teaching purposes. But this same approach, virtualizing the interface of workplace systems, can be extended into many other areas apart from medicine.