Proctoring is a quintessential part of every rigorous exam or knowledge assessment. Until recently, humans filled the role themselves in either a classroom, study halls or large testing centers.
Today, technology has come a long way. Students can enroll, learn and complete exams in a completely virtual setting, and online proctoring provides crucial authentication at any point.
But how do you know if your certification program is ready to make the leap to online proctoring? Here are six quick and easy signs it’s time to make the switch.
Professional organizations put a lot of time and effort into designing an exam that accurately reflects a course’s curriculum. Each exam represents a process that must be followed as designed to produce meaningful results. Proctoring is simply a form of validation.
In-person proctoring is a helpful and comfortable method for validating the testing experience, but it does have its limitations. For instance, it’s impossible for a solitary proctor to observe dozens of test takers simultaneously. A person can’t be everywhere at once.
Automated, online proctoring enhances the efforts of live, human proctors. Using a webcam, microphone and other technology, online proctoring provides test administrators with consistent identity management and the ability to concentrate solely on anomalies. When combined with humans behind the scenes, online proctoring enables certification bodies to host more exams with ease.
In-person exams often take place in a fixed, brick-and-mortar location, which greatly restricts the reach and growth trajectory of a certification program. As long as you’re bound by a location, there’s only so far you can go.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Information travels much faster today, thanks to the Internet and electronic devices. Together, this technology enables you to connect with users from just about anywhere in the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic was case in point for this phenomenon. The swift emergence of this public health crisis prompted mass adoption of video conferencing tools and other mobile technology, even from users who are otherwise resistant to change. Remote technology has allowed many professionals to work from home and from anywhere, and this trend is likely to continue through the rest of the decade, extending into professional and trade certifications. Consider adding a remote setup in your testing programs.
Capacity is frequently a concern for growing in-person programs. There are only so many desks and workstations that can fit in a room, which creates a balancing act for certification bodies and professional associations that book test space or call in favors.
Fortunately, hosting a test doesn’t have to be that hard. With online proctored exams, there’s no scrambling when you have a surge in enrollment. Users simply log on to their session and begin, and they can take their exam from anywhere with an Internet connection, such as a library, a home office, or a hotel.
Online proctoring uses a test taker’s computer, which means the burden of finding a suitable space is largely on the test taker and not the program. This frees up time for certification bodies to focus more on creating powerful content and marketing their programs.
Scheduling is one of the hardest parts of hosting in-person courses and exams. Like the rest of us, test takers have other obligations, and it’s usually difficult to find a time that works for everyone and doesn’t place an administrative burden on you.
Online proctoring allows you to entirely sidestep this process and host exams around the clock. Once you’ve uploaded your exam to a learning management system or test delivery platform, users can decide when they want to take it. This creates immeasurable freedom for them and you. An asynchronous format is a powerful way to reach more students, and they enjoy taking courses on demand.
Every human endeavor contains the potential for human error. When you host a live proctored exam, it’s often up to the proctor to answer questions and address problems that arise. But superb customer service can be a significant time commitment.
With online proctored exams, you can expect providers to step up and resolve test takers’ requests. After all, providers are the experts behind the software, and they have all the knowledge and resources to troubleshoot concerns, regardless of how tech-savvy a test taker may be. If you find yourself routinely answering proctoring questions, consider delegating as a way to add value.
When you factor in a live proctor, test space, and materials, in-person exams have significant fixed costs. Administration and travel also increase to the investment required in any certification exam. While some of these costs can be charged to users, overruns can eat into the budget of professional associations, which often rely on dues or external fundraising. Perform regular cost accounting to keep your program sustainable.
Hosting online exams can help you defray much of the tangible overhead associated with in-person administration. This allows you to charge less per exam and maintain your margin, which ensures that your program stays affordable and competitive in the long run. By streamlining your costs, you can certify more people and that’s a win-win for everyone.
On-demand proctoring has brought new convenience and capability to certification and credential programs. Together, online exams help you serve more students at a fraction of the cost of in-person exams. Are you interested in learning more? Download our case study, "Continuing Education Exams with ProctorFree."