Wednesday, December 14

Flawed Self-Assessment?

According to most studies, about 70% of what we learn is done informally. Yet according to other studies, peoples' notions about what they learn tend to correlate only 0.2 to 0.3 with performance.

If we cannot accurately assess ourselves, then how do we know we have mastered what we set out to do when we are learning informally?


jay said...

We see if we can accomplish the task we set out to learn how to do. This applies to assessing formal as well as informal learning since most tests produce invalid results.

Peter Isackson said...

A further consideration concerning testing is that the generally invalid results can have a perverse effect on performance. Good results can give the impression that there's nothing more to learn, leading to laziness, and bad results can give the impression that one hasn't learned anything or is incapable of learning, leading to discouragement and a learning block.

In any case, when we learn formally in order to perform tasks, we only learn key features or aspects of the task. There is always more to learn, especially about the contexts in which tasks are executed, including the actual effects of our performance (on people, things and processes). This is where informal learning pays off best.

By the way, isn't 70% a rather low figure?

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to hear more about the study that found the very low self-assessment to performance correlation. There is a significant difference between self-assessment done for pay purposes (e.g., year-end reviews), and self-assessment done for training and development purposes. Adult learners can be very accurate once they perceive or understand that there is a difference between their current level of proficiency, and the necessary level of proficiency (e.g., when a new technology is introduced into their workplace).

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised by your findings. I, too, conducted a self-assessment study of adult learners in an online learning environment in a government setting. Literature tells us that individuals using self-rating systems tend to rate themselves higher when self-assessing skills or knowledge. I experienced the same results as you. My study showed that while there was significance between self-directed learning skills and attitudes toward computers, actual performance of self-directed learning skills in an online learning environment was extremely low.