Saturday, May 02, 2009

Let them cheat. They are Learning

I am the product manager of a enterprise learning system that is used by hundreds of companies around the world. Like any other product manager, I get requests for features and functions of the product.

Managers from companies sometimes tell me that their employees are cheating while taking tests and so they want to make the tests as secure as possible. So they ask us to make the tests complicated, the questions randomized and disable right click. We build some of those features. Obviously, these features complicate the test process, add to the stress level of the learner and make the whole learning process unpleasant.

I sometimes think that managers are missing the point. The main goal of a manager is to make his team members learn the subject matter so that that they are ready to do their job. By 'Cheating' during or just before the test, the learner is actually learning the answers to the all questions in the test subconsciously. Let them do that.

Fool them into thinking that they are cheating while they are actually learning.

There may  some exceptions where these complex features are required.  But for a vast majority of companies, the approach I specified will  work very well.
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