Cheating in eLearning is a growing problem. It is also a serious concern of educators and learning designers.
The reasons are obvious: If people are cheating, then they are not learning as much as they could be.
Cheating may also make learning more difficult for other students who have to interact with the cheater, which makes their learning less effective.
As it is an ongoing problem, there are no easy solutions to this problem; however, there are some things that can be done to minimize the chances of cheating.
The topic of this article is about how to prevent cheating in eLearning and how to spot it when it happens. Although we will discuss various techniques for detecting cheating, we will start with the basics.
Why Do People Cheating in eLearning?
There are many reasons why people cheating in eLearning. The most common reasons people cheat are as ways to cope with stress, frustration, or anxiety.
It is often associated with academic pressure and exam anxiety. Cheating is usually committed by those who have very low self-esteem and those who feel very stressed or anxious about the task at hand.
Cheating may also occur because of poor learning skills or poor teaching skills, which are the result of a lack of learning management system (LMS) implementation and training.
Many people do not like the tests they have to take; therefore, they will do anything to avoid it, including cheating. There are also some people who feel that cheating will not harm them in any way; therefore, they may commit it even if their grades suffer from it later on.
If they feel that they have been cheated in an exam or if they feel that the content has been unfair, then there is a chance that they will cheat again in future exams as well.
If there is no punishment for cheating, then it will be difficult for them to stop doing it because there are no incentives.
There are also some people who feel that cheating will not harm them in any way; therefore, they may commit it even if their grades suffer from it later on.
Tips to Prevent Cheating in eLearning
Here are some classroom methods that will prevent cheating in an online setting:
1. Have varied question types
Cheating is likely to happen when there are a lot of identical questions. You can reduce the chances of cheating by using different types of questions.
The reason is that different types of questions will make it harder for students to cheat.
For example, if your tests only consists of multiple choice questions, it will be easier for students to simply leak the answer key to each other. However, if you use essay-type questions, then it will be hard for students to cheat.
Essays require more critical thinking skills, especially those with open-ended questions, and it needs each answer to be unique and personal to every test-taker.
Also, some essays can only be answered with the help of their own knowledge and experience. This means that your students will not be able to directly copy answers from someone else's paper.
It is also important that these types of questions are used in a dynamic manner. This means changing them up every few tests always having challenging questions at the ready.
If you have essay-type questions every time in your course and change them frequently, then it will be harder for students to use these essays as templates or copies of other people's essays.
2. Have a basic identification question
If you have to choose a certain question type for your eLearning course, then having a basic identification question would be a good idea.
This means that you would have a few questions at the beginning of each section. These questions are used to help students identify themselves as they are going through the course.
They may be in the form of yes/no, true/false, or multiple choice. They can also be graded in terms of percentage or grade point average (GPA).
The purpose of these questions is to identify the student's strengths and weaknesses. You can use these answers to guide the learning process.
This way, you can keep track of their development in the courses and see if there's anything suspicious going on in their test results.
3. Plan the time limits
If you want to prevent cheating, then it is important that you have time limits. With no time limits, then students may try to cheat by quickly checking their answers on a cheat sheet.
If you make it so that students need to write their answers within minutes, then it will be harder for students to cheat by copying answers from other students' work.
They will not risk going through the trouble of getting the answer key from someone else if the clock is ticking quickly.
Therefore, time limits will also help you as an educator to improve your teaching skills by improving your questioning techniques and also making sure that your course has purposeful activities.
However, make sure to not make the time limits too stifling. For example, if there is a 30-minute time limit for every question and a student does not know the answer after 20 minutes, then he or she may just write down what he or she thinks is right and submit it for evaluation.
This will be unfortunate to other students who actually knew the answer but did not have enough time to write it down on their paper.
Therefore, it's important to plan out your course very well in order to make sure that there are sufficient activities for each section of your course.
4. Have punishment systems
If you want to prevent cheating, then it is important that you have a punishment system.
This means that you should have a system in place to penalize students who cheat. For example, you can give low grades to students who are caught cheating or you can even deny them from passing the course if they are caught cheating.
If there is no punishment system, then it will be easy for students to cheat. You may also need to think about the consequences of your actions before punishing someone for cheating.
If you give low grades to students who are caught cheating, then they may not be able to pass the course because they have failed.
This means that it will be hard for them to pass the course and receive their diploma or certificate.
On the other hand, if you do not punish students who cheat, then they may try again and again until they get away with it by getting someone else's answers. So carefully weight the pros and cons of incorporating this punishment system in your online courses.
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