The Self-Evaluation Mandala is a graphic depiction which aims to increase the learners’ control, satisfaction and, ultimately, motivation. It describes the competences which should be learned by the learners and enables self-assessment by comparison of competences at the beginning of the course with the final competences at the end of the course.
The Mandala has initially be used for Distance Learning courses. Nevertheless, it can be used in Blended Learning as well as in all other teaching or training environments, where competences are used to define the learning outcomes.
The Self-Evaluation Mandala forces teachers to create a well-defined description of the taught competences in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Learners use the Mandalas to get informed about their prior knowledge before starting their course and to give feedback about their learning success using the same Mandala. The comparison makes their development immediately visible.
The Self-Evaluation Mandala has been developed by Peter Mazohl (in 2016) and evaluated in a European Erasmus+ Project (Virtual Teachers' Toolbox 2017-1-ES01-KA201-038199) from 2017 - 2019.
Competence as course requirements
Competence-based learning is an approach to education that focuses on mastery . Students have to demonstrate the desired learning outcomes as central to the learning process. A typical keyword in competence-based learning is "I can". In Europe, learning and teaching is geared on competences. The definition of the taught competences is an initial and crucial step for teachers and should always be done before the teaching process. The students should be informed about the competences they have to develop during the learning before they start to learn, this is most often described as learning outcomes (LO).
Self-evaluation as a motivation for learners
Student self-evaluation involves students in assessing their own work and learning progress. They can identify their skills, gaps and missing knowledge as well as they can track their progress. McMillan and Hearn mentioned in 2008 that self-assessment and self-evaluation are useful processes to motivate students. Self-evaluation involves students actively in their learning.
Self-evaluation using a Likert scale
Self-evaluation means “Looking at your progress, development and learning to determine what has improved and what areas still need improvement. It usually involves comparing a "before" situation with a current situation”.
Likert scales are used to measure attitudes, opinions, perceptions and behaviours. The used levels do not represent equal intervals and do not represent absolute values. A Likert scale for self-evaluation (of competences) can be designed by several levels of agreement to a given question, like “I can explain something”. The selected level reflects a personal level of estimation, like “strongly agree”.
Evaluation of the learning success
Self-evaluation is also a promising method for the evaluation of learning processes, especially in Lifelong Learning. The comparison of competences at the beginning of the learning process with the current competences provides a valuable picture of the learning success. Evaluation of learning success can be easily done with different types of assessments and it is usually expressed in grades. But learning successes are more than grades, finding out what you have learned is a motivation for learners to learn and strengthen their self-confidence.
Development of the mandala
To express the competences a depiction based on a half circle was developed and labeled with the three competence items. The heading defines the description of the competence.
The mandala is divided into three different fields and each field is split into four areas to offer the learners the possibility to express their self-estimation. These areas represent the different levels (worst level near the middle point of the half circle, best value in the area with the largest distance of the middle point.
In contrast to the classical levels of Likert-based scale (which uses five levels) the neutral mid-level was dropped. With four levels, each learner must decide a valuable level from the beginning.
Use of the Mandala
Before the course, the learners colour their estimated levels of each item of the competence. This can be done with several different methods:
- Printing the mandala and painting the selected areas with a pencil.
- Provision of downloading the mandala in an electronic format (for example an image in JPeG or PNG format) and the learners use an image editor to paint the selected areas.
After the course, the mandala is taken and colored by the learners again. The difference between the two mandalas makes the learning success directly visible.
Student's use of the mandala
Students get or download the Self-Evaluation Mandala before the course starts. The Mandala can be delivered on two ways:
- The technical format of the Mandala can be an electronic picture. This is standard for blended or distance learning courses. Students should paint the electronic image of the Mandala by using an image editor, for example with the bucket tool. After this task they upload the Mandala to the Learning Platform.
- The Mandala is delivered as a printed copy. The printed Mandala can be painted manually, after that an image is taken from the Mandala, for example with a smartphone. This image is uploaded to the Learning Platform.
Pros of the System
The Self-Evaluation Mandala offers several advantages for the learners and the trainer or teacher of a course.
Advantages for learners
- Learners know from the beginning the expected learning outcomes described in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
- The learners can recognise their learning success by a glimpse (comparing the before-mandala with the after-mandala).
Advantages for teachers/trainers
- The teachers/trainers must define the competence before their teaching and can therefore focus exactly on these competence(s).
- Teachers get information about the (self-estimated) pre-knowledge of their students/trainees.
- Teachers get the information about the (self-estimated) learning success of their learners.
Disadvantages of the Self-Evaluation Mandala
Similar to other self-evaluation methods the Self-Evaluation mandala also depends on the honest self-assessment of the involved people.
The Mandala cannot be used for grading the learners. This must be done by general formative and summative assessments.
- P. Mazohl, E., Ossiannilsson, H. Makl, M. Ampartzaki, M., &Kalogiannakis (2018). An Innovative Tool to Assist the Creation of High Quality Open, and Distance Learning Courses – The Virtual Teachers Toolbox. In: Andras Szucs and Airina Volungeviciene (Eds): Exploring the Micro, Meso and Macro. Navigating between dimensions in the digital learning landscape, Bd. 1. EDEN 2018 Annual Conference. Genoa, 17 - 20 June 2018. EDEN. Budapest, European Distance and E-Learning Network, S. 550–556.
- P. Mazohl, & H. Makl (2018). Self-Evaluation Mandalas - an Innovative Tool of the VTT-Project, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 180-186. doi:10.21125/iceri.2018.1042
- P. Mazohl, E. Ossiannilsson, H. Makl, M. Ampartzaki, & M. Kalogiannakis (2018). Virtual Teachers' Toolbox – An Innovative Tool to Assist the Creation of High-Quality Open Distance Learning Courses.In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 1: BLQE, ISBN 978-989-758-291-2, pages 555-560. DOI: 10.5220/0006820005550560
- H.J. McMillan, J. Hearn: Student Self-Assessment: The Key to Stronger Student Motivation and Higher Achievement on JSTOR. In: Educational Horizons, Bd. 87, S. pp. 40–49. Online resource https://www.jstor.org/stable/42923742?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
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