Reducing grading time and improving overall user experience with a learning platform from BuildEmpire

Totara AssessTech

By working with BuildEmpire, AssessTech are able to increase efficiency in rail training, reduce grading time by 50% and improve the overall user experience for trainers and assessors when marking work.

These recent enhancements made to AssessBook utilised the Totara Talent Experience Platform (TXP) as its learning management system (LMS), and AssessTech worked closely with BuildEmpire as a Totara partner to develop bespoke plugins which will improve assessor and trainer workflows on AssessBook. 

Who are AssessTech?

AssessTech are a technology and training business who specialise in all aspects of competence management for the railway industry.

They supply Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to companies throughout the railway sector, which provides companies with better visibility of their competence related data. As a result, when this is combined with complementary training and consultancy, railway businesses are better able to assess risk, manage incident and target spending appropriately.

The challenge

The trainers at AssessTech spotted three common challenges when it came to marking essay question types within their existing quiz marking workflow. These challenges were:

  1. Where multiple attempts were made by a single user, it wasn’t possible to mark only the incorrect answers from the previous attempt.
  2. Responses and feedback couldn’t be compared directly between the old and new attempts.
  3. And it was difficult to see all unmarked attempts in one centralised location that could be filtered by assigned trainer, company or course.

What’s more, trainers also saw that these challenges were compounded by the number of long form answers that are required to be marked per individual submission, per course.

There are at least 25 questions to mark per quiz per course, and AssessTech typically run 3 courses per week to groups of around 8 learners at a time. This meant that there were roughly 30,000 quiz questions to be marked a year, just on the first submission alone, and so marking had become an arduous and lengthy task that required bespoke reporting to make it sustainable.

What have AssessTech, Totara and BuildEmpire built together?

To help mitigate the challenges AssessTech were facing, BuildEmpire set to work immediately, creating four separate plugins which include:

  • A bespoke ‘unmarked work report’ dashboard where trainers can track all unmarked work and link directly to the submission.
  • An assignment history workflow which displays the response and feedback from previous attempts side-by-side with the current attempt.
  • A quiz history workflow allowing the trainer to pin previously incorrect responses and feedback to the page whilst marking the current attempt, and allow for a direct comparison.
  • And a quiz helper workflow which is an update to the marking workflow, meaning that only responses found to be incorrect on the previous attempt are required to be marked in the current.

With this, BuildEmpire offered four newly built, bespoke plug-ins, created solely for the specification set by AssessTech, all available through the Totara LMS, and offering a complete platform for trainers and assessors to maximise their time and efficiency.

How have BuildEmpire made a difference?

Thanks to the efficiencies made, the AssessTech training team noted that the overall marking had become less arduous, and the plugins not only helped them feel more satisfied and engaged with the system, but also meant that their time could be better spent elsewhere, such as in course delivery and creation.

In fact, a by-product of this extra investment on course delivery has been an increase in pass rates too, which therefore improved the experience for trainers and candidates alike, and has directly benefitted the success of the company.

But, don’t just take our word for it.

Learning & Development Consultant at AssessTech, Simon Grove, commented himself that “the new AssessBook plugins are intuitive and much more efficient… I really like the functionality around candidate quiz re-submissions as previously we required two screens to compare the old and new submission but now we can pin the old question and only review the questions that are wrong. This saves a lot of time and effort!”

Fellow Learning & Development Consultant at AssessTech, David Brock, supported this positive reaction, saying that “the new AssessBook update makes working as a trainer much more efficient. We can now access and grade work and quizzes that were previously ungraded, quickly, and efficiently, whereas previously we had to look back through old reports which results in a lot of ‘back and forth’. This is much quicker, easier and saves a lot of time – it’s now taking me half the time to complete. Best of all, the information is all provided in real time. It is particularly useful if I am grading a candidate’s work collaboratively, with another trainer. I can see the candidate’s work on my own dashboard which means I don’t have to spend time searching for it!”

What is it like working with BuildEmpire?

Having worked with BuildEmpire through the development process end-to-end, AssessTech have said that these bespoke solutions have added considerable value to the overall AssessBook.

Now, there is potential to expand on their core product through development in a way that wasn’t previously possible, and the collaboration with BuildEmpire will provide further benefit to other customers utilising AssessBook and scope for improvements to the core product.

And so, in the words of Director of Product Management at AssessTech, Hannah Washer, “the development process went very smoothly… BuildEmpire understood our requirements exactly and created the plugins to our specification, they are an excellent partner for AssessTech, and this now provides a way for us to offer additional bespoke developments for customers using AssessBook.”

Thank you, Hannah, and thank you to AssessTech for choosing us.Contact us to find out how BuildEmpire can support your business.

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