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Are digital exams here to stay?

20 April 2021

Has the CV-19 pandemic changed the way we approach regulated exams forever? Luiza Todd, director Bespoke Training Solutions, asks

One year ago this month the world found itself in the grip of a global pandemic. CV-19 is a virus that takes no account of wealth or status, geographic location, religious or political leanings. UK case numbers stand at 4.27million and the death toll at 126,000. Globally we are talking 120 million confirmed cases with 2.6 million deaths across nearly 200 countries*.

This is serious stuff which has and will continue to have far reaching consequences in many areas of our lives. The way we do things, especially in the business world, has changed fundamentally, possibly for good. In this article we consider the effects on regulated exams, specifically in relation to digital learning and remotely invigilated exams.

The rise of digital learning

Pre pandemic, many firms and exam candidates were predisposed to face-to-face workshop support. With the onset of remote working, L&D teams became ‘best mates’ with the likes of Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Has this changed for good? If someone had told me a year ago that I would be running remote workshops electronically using virtual whiteboards and breakout rooms I would have laughed out loud. I would also have questioned how a remote workshop can be anywhere near as effective as getting a group of candidates together in a room.

There are some obvious benefits of face-to-face workshops. For candidates, this includes the opportunity to meet their peers live and to start building a support network. From a facilitator’s perspective, you can clearly see which learners are with you from their facial expressions and body language, and which ones have no idea what you are talking about. This is much harder to see online, especially if a candidate has their camera turned off. How does the facilitator know the candidate is still there? They could have their camera turned off and be watching ‘Homes under the Hammer’ for all we know.

One of the benefits of digital learning is the potential cost savings. It does not matter how far flung across the UK candidates are with the magic of digital presentations. Firms save on travel, accommodation and venue expenses.

Has digital learning impacted candidate success? Here at BTS, delegate feedback and (more importantly) exam pass-rates in the past 12 months have remained consistently high, making a strong business case for firms to persist with digital delivery methods.

What about remotely invigilated exams?

These have been on offer for most of the pandemic, and again have their benefits and drawbacks. One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to sit your exams any day of the week. I still find it a bit strange to see success stories posted on LinkedIn on a Saturday and Sunday, but how great is that? Giving candidates greater choice as to when they sit their exams, is convenient and saves them both time and money.

The drawbacks of remote invigilation are mainly centred on the fact that you are at home without the security blanket of an exam centre invigilator should you have system issues. Initially, systems issues were commonplace. Most of these issues have now been ironed out and the systems are way more robust. Once a candidate has completed their first remote exam and are used to the system it should be (famous last words) plain sailing from there.

So, has the way we approach regulated exams changed for good? Going forward, the industry has greater choice (always a good thing) as the development of digital learning and remote invigilation offer both the business and the individual more options. There is a place for both face-to-face and remote learning and development in our industry. And with the innovation and vision of regulated exam providers and the training solutions companies like ourselves adapting to the new ways of working, candidates can receive the support they need going through the process.

* Source: John Hopkins University 15/3/2021

This article was first published in the April 2021 issue of Professional Paraplanner.

About Bespoke Training Solutions
Bespoke Training Solutions (BTS) have been supporting regulated exams for 17 years, specialising in R0 support with outstanding candidate tracked results and feedback. Resources include digital and printed study guides, group and 1:1 training, e-Learning modules and a mobile app of practise exam questions. Visit www.bespoketrainingsolutions.com to learn more on how BTS can help you on your regulated journey.

Professional Paraplanner