How to implement an examination platform

Niklas Vernersson
Niklas Vernersson

When educational institutions had to shift to remote learning and online examinations became a necessity due to the pandemic, not everyone was prepared — and we are sure many still aren’t. Implementing new technology has been a challenge long before the pandemic, and institutions will continue to struggle with it long after. 

Establishing an online education infrastructure, training teachers on how to hold online classes, creating virtual study modules, finding and implementing an examination platform, ensuring exam integrity, etc. These are only a few requirements when implementing a new examination platform. 

Based on our experience as an online examination platform provider, the single biggest hurdle to overcome for education institutions in implementing the solution. If you are having trouble implementing your online examination platform or are in the process of buying one, continue reading. This article will highlight some important conditions based on our experience from our most successful implementations.

But first, why do implementations fail?

 

Why implementations of examination platforms fail

There are many reasons why the implementation of an examination platform — or any IT solution for that matter — fails. Here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Discrepancies between what platform and features the institutions needed, what they wanted, and what they got
  • Forgetting to consider the needs and wants of the users
  • Failing to train the end-users adequately
  • Lack of a proper implementation strategy
  • Lack of knowledge due to poor research
  • Unclear goals, objectives, and KPIs
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of time

Six keys to successfully implementing an examination platform

Over 900+ institutions have chosen Digiexam as their examination platform. We have an average user adoption of 95%. Here are the keys to successfully implementing an examination platform that we have learned over the years:

  • The online exam strategy is a priority within the organization and connected to its key objectives. The institution has to make sure resources are available and allocated to the implementation project. Everyone is closely involved in the project and not only a matter of the ICT team, IT, or Technology department. The project is monitored from the highest level and with clear expectations.

  • The chosen technology ensures a smooth implementation. Choosing platforms that have low maintenance and that do not require too much handling from your IT department is a key to successfully implementing it. The bigger the platform, the more complex it usually is and requires the involvement of different stakeholders. An important consideration is to explore how well it can scale up and down and handle large volumes. If the platform requires a lot of extra steps and resources set up, you should expect the staff to take more time to come up to full speed.

  • The platform aligns with the institution's view of the digital ecosystem. Ensure you choose a platform that fits well into your digital infrastructure. Standalone examination platforms separated from the rest of your infrastructure could affect the implementation since it will be obvious that a lot of the data and events should connect to your LMS. It should be a part of your online examination strategy and needs to be addressed early when you consider the different options available on the market.

  • The vendor presents a good and realistic plan for the onboarding process. The quality and process of onboarding with different vendors can vary greatly. Everyone should be focusing on customer success, but very few are good at it. How can you (as a buyer) at an early stage in the customer journey determine if the process presented is good or not? Is that not something you will find out along the way? Parts of it, yes. But there are some things that can help you validate and learn what to expect. Ensure the vendor can provide a good and realistic plan of the onboarding process with different success milestones all the way until the first big exam, or whatever the first big objective may be. If the vendor is challenging you from the beginning with tasks and joint accountabilities connected to these milestones, then you start to see that you're in it together as partners. It should be obvious when you as a customer are expected to get the first value.

  • The vendor provides you with a competent customer success team. A customer success manager who is responsible for the overall customer relation together with an onboarding specialist and a solutions engineer is a good lineup that you could and should expect. We also see it useful to have some experiences from teaching and working with digital platforms within our customer success team.

  • The vendor fully understands the institution’s objectives and desired outcome. You should be able to tell this pretty soon into the onboarding process. Has the vendor understood your objectives? Hopefully, but is it clear for the vendor what your desired outcome is, what you need to achieve it, and how the customer success team will help you achieve that? If not, go back to the drawing table and make sure they do.

Conclusion

The pandemic took many educational institutions by storm. Many were completely new and unprepared for remote and online learning and examinations. And getting stuck on the implementation step was all too common. The time-sensitive nature of the pandemic made the implementation an even bigger challenge for educational institutions. 

Remote learning is here to stay. So prioritize your time when selecting your vendor to ensure that both the platform can properly support your institution and is properly implemented and integrated into your operations. 

If you happen to be in the process of choosing a platform, we recommend that you check out our guide on choosing the right digital examination platform for your needs. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.