Why Assignments Are Awesome

Justin Mulwee
Oct 15, 2020 · 4 min read

We just released a new tile type into the wild: Assignments. Assignments are a way to give learners open-ended tasks, which are then manually reviewed by an instructor.

Most training content in Skillo is static: the learner works through the content, and Skillo marks their progress and score automatically. With Assignments, you can give learners unique challenges of your own design and coach them along the way.

Some of you might have used Manually Scored Tasks, which served a similar purpose. Assignments replace these, since they are better in every way. The main difference is that they allow for more coaching and feedback through back-and-forth conversations with text, recordings and attachments. Most of the time, that makes them more practical than using Spark, too. Let’s dive in.

How Assignments Work

  • Describe the assignment.
  • Review each learner’s work.
  • Coach them to improve with a private, ongoing dialog.
  • Change their score as needed, while keeping record of their improvement and the whole coaching process.

Let’s look at that in more detail.

Describe the Assignment

When you create an assignment, fill out the Assignment Description to explain what you want learners to do. All learners can see this. As part of your explanation, you can include any media you want, like a video for them to watch or a file for them to download.

Learners respond

Learners can respond with text, file uploads, or recordings of their own. They can see their own work, and they can edit it if you haven’t replied to them yet.

Keep the dialog going

Review the learner’s response and give it a score, give feedback, or both. Once again, your feedback can contain any media you want.

Learners can respond to your feedback until you turn this off. You can continue a back and forth dialog, and even change their score after any of their replies. Old scores will be shown in context as part of the conversation, but when pulling reports, the latest one is the one that counts. That way, you have a record not just of their completing the assignment, but of the whole process of their improving through coaching, complete with timestamps and the ability to download old files.

When the conversation has run its course, you can close the thread to disallow new replies from that learner.

That’s it. Assignments are awesome because you can do so many things with them, yet unlike just messaging people over email or Slack, they provide a structure meant for training and coaching, allowing you to track completion, pull reports, and keep record of learners’ improvement from the coaching process.

Example Uses

Sales Practice

Practice mock conversations for sales reps or customer service reps. Record a video or audio presenting the concerns of a hypothetical client, and have each learner make a recording in response. Keep the mock conversation going as long as you wish, coaching each learner along the way and changing their scores as they improve.

Essay Questions

Quizzes are great, but multiple choice questions aren’t always enough to ensure your team really gets the nuances. Make an assignment where you ask learners to explain how they would solve a problem, or ask them to share best practices, then score their answers.

Other Tests of Skill

Similarly, you could take it a step further and ask learners to upload something that demonstrates their skill or understanding. For example, as shown in screenshots earlier, you could upload an Excel sheet that contains accounting errors and ask learners to correct it in a new file. Since all file types are allowed, feel free to get creative.

Zoom Training Session

Planning a training session that will happen over a video call? Put the link in the assignment description, then give private comments to each learner afterward. You could then set up prerequisites, give scores, and pull reports just like anything else in Skillo.

Gathering Feedback

Ask your team for their thoughts or suggestions about anything you wish. Everyone will get the same initial message, but since their responses can’t be viewed by other learners, they may feel more freedom to be candid. They’re also free to respond by video, audio, or text, and it’ll all be shown as part of the same conversation.

Teaching a Language

Have asynchronous back-and-forth conversations, in video, audio or text, and score the learner based on how well they do.

Track something else that happens outside Skillo

Assignments are a good way to track the score, give feedback, or set up prerequisites for just about anything that happens outside Skillo: in-person trainings at your restaurant or retail location, oldschool paper quizzes, you name it. If keeping scores and feedback in Skillo would help you organize your workflow, try using Assignments.

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