ELearning and Cheating a Big Deal?

cheatinjpgElearning is great in that it allows you to teach new skills despite geographic boundaries. That said, one of the common complaints with elearning is how easy it can be for the users to cheat.

But does it matter?

While none of us want people to cheat on our elearning courses, we have to really assess if cheating matters – and I believe the answer to this question comes down to two factors: content and motivation.

What is being Taught?

The content of our course will determine how important it is to prevent cheating. In other words, not all content is created equally (in terms of user monitoring). For example, an elearning course on sexual harassment policy does not need to be heavily policed.

Sure, users might cheat on the final quiz, but the important part is that they viewed (and understand) the content. The objective is more attendance related than quiz related. If the user clicks back into the course to look up an answer, it is actually good since it is reinforcing the content.

Naturally, if the elearning course is includes a professional certification exam, then regulating cheating is much more important, and the proper techniques should be used.

Is there Motivation?

If the elearning content is tied to a desired achievement or recognition, the temptation to cheat on the final exam is greater.

For K-12 students, the temptation to cheat might be driven by obtaining a good grade in the course.

For adults, the temptation to cheat might be driven by obtaining a professional certification that could result in higher pay.

If your elearning course has an attractive “carrot”, then you would do well to implement some of the leading cheating prevention techniques.

Can’t be Stopped Completely

Despite the various strategies for preventing cheating in online courses, it is almost impossible to stomp it out completely. For instance, nothing can stop the users from taking screenshots via “print screen” on their keyboard.

If someone wants to cheat, they will.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should make it easy. Often just a few easy-to-implement techniques can go a long way in preventing online course cheating.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

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