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How do you assess a machine operator, mining engineer or a maintainer in action? You can give them written or computer knowledge tests but this won’t measure their practical skills. The most effective method is usually to have someone observe them in the workplace and rate their skills.


Often this is done on pencil and paper, with all the challenges of collating and scanning the results. You could use a PC or laptop, but in many work environments, it’s not practical to take and setup a PC. Mobile devices can make a huge difference here – it’s just as easy to take a smartphone or iPad into the workplace as a clipboard with pencil and paper. Using a mobile device, you can be prompted for who to assess on what, and your ratings are then stored at once and available for reporting.


On the right for example is a screenshot from the iPad showing a few questions on assessing someone on safe use of a ladder.


I am hearing interest in observational assessments on mobile devices in most industries – including the utilities industry for assessing engineers, the financial services industry for checking on sales people and in manufacturing for assessing factory workers.  And if you need to assess skills in the workplace, using a mobile device could be a game changer. This can help in health and safety and compliance testing, and also for level 3 (performance on the job) testing.


For a video example of observational assessments, see


This is part 2 of my series on mobile assessment, see part 1 on delivering course evaluations on mobiles Mobile Assessments Part 1: Top tips on delivering effective course evaluation surveys on mobile devi.... Parts 3 and 4 will cover quizzes and exams on mobile devices. I wonder if using mobile devices for observing and rating skills in the workplace could be more revolutionary than all other uses of mobile assessment?