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The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

Brian Moon iFest Presentation

Sero!: Deeper Assessment Using Concept Maps

Brian Moon

An ideal learning assessment method should illuminate changes to learners’ mental models. Yet today’s most advanced learning technologies continue to rely on digital versions of traditional assessment techniques. Their linear delivery limits their capacity to assess the interrelated nature of mental models. Concept mapping holds the promise of advancing learning assessment closer to the assessment of mental models, with their capacity to blend recall, recognition and reasoning techniques in the context of a nonlinear assessment. The validity and reliability of concept mapping for assessment has been thoroughly demonstrated. However, the practicality and feasibility of conducting concept map-based learning assessment has remained elusive. Our team is designing and developing a first-of- its-kind concept map-based learning assessment system, Sero!. Simultaneously, we are integrating ADL’s xAPI e-learning software specification to enable learners to integrate the use of Sero! with other learning experiences, and to inform learner profiles about how the learner’s mental models are changing. Our efforts to date have yielded numerous, original research findings and future questions. These include how to introduce a novel assessment task, how to score and provide feedback, how learners think through developing and taking a concept map-based assessment task, the appropriate granularity for xAPI reporting of a non-linear task. This poster presents the advantages of our approach, empirical data from a series of usability and feasibility evaluations that have demonstrated challenges in developing our technology, and our approaches for meeting these challenges.


Brian Moon is the Chief Technology Officer for Perigean Technologies and founder of Sero! Learning Assessments, Inc.. As the inventor of Sero!, Mr. Moon is enabling small and large- scale assessment of learning using Concept Maps. A leading practitioner and researcher in the fields of expertise management and cognitive systems engineering, Mr. Moon applies diagrammatic and naturalistic interviewing techniques to elicit, protect, enable and assess expert knowledge. His practice enables expertise management, design and evaluation of cognitive systems, and the assessment of knowledge. He is widely recognized for his innovative applications of Concept Mapping, which are highlighted in the edited volume, Applied Concept Mapping: Capturing, Analyzing, and Organizing Knowledge. His clients have included numerous Fortune 500 companies, the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, Veterans Administration, the Intelligence Community and DOD.


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