Authentic Assessment

Assessing Learning – Experiential Learning & Authentic Assessment Example

When New Graduate Nurses attend their orientation, they have completed their formal studies and have the underpinning knowledge to recognise and respond to a patient with chest pain. However, each student graduates with their own unique perspectives on patient care and none have been responsible for responding to a patient on their own. Therefore, the focus of this learning opportunity and assessment is on the responses of everyone as well as the processes they follow individually and as a group.

In this learning scenario the new graduate nurses will have the opportunity to put their prior knowledge into action and to learn about how they respond under pressure to a patient with chest pain. The learning scenario takes an experiential approach through simulation.

The class is divided into groups of five with each member taking a role that represents the real-life responders. One of the roles is the treating nurse who (hopefully) recognises the need for escalation.

The group is given the scenario brief and is then required to respond to a simulation mannikin controlled by the facilitator. The mannikin can be manipulated throughout the scenario to respond to the learner actions/decisions appropriately and to provide them with live feedback that mimics the real-world scenario.

When the simulation scenario ends, the group will reconvene and reflect on what happened providing the opportunity to identify ways they can improve and to recognise what they did well.

After spending time reflecting and drawing conclusions from the simulation, the learners are given another opportunity to participate in the simulation once again. This process takes into consideration all four of Kolb’s experiential learning theory stages:

  • Concrete learning (a new experience)
  • Reflective observation (reflecting on the experience)
  • Abstract Conceptualisation (form new ideas/adjust their thinking based on the experience
  • Active experimentation (applies new ideas)

(Western Governors University, 2020)

This scenario has constructivism at its core as the learners are supported by a more experienced facilitator who guides them in their decision making and facilitates the reflection of the experience where the focus is on their decision making and responses during the simulation. The activity requires problem-solving and collaboration while building on the learner’s understanding of the concepts presented to them throughout the simulation, again demonstrating a constructivist approach.

The authenticity of the assessment is established through:

  • An authentic scenario with real world relevance
  • Authentic context and resources through the provision of a real hospital room with equipment & a life-size mannikin that responds throughout the scenario
  • Promotes reflection
  • Provides coaching and scaffolding through the presence of the experienced facilitator who responds to the learner needs accordingly

(UMGC, n.d.; Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, n.d.).


Genareo, V., & Lyons, R. (2015, November 30). Problem-Based Learning: Six Steps to Design, Implement, and Assess. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from

Hall, M. (2014, May 13). What is Gamification and Why Use It in Teaching? Retrieved October 25, 2020, from

Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. (n.d.). Designing Authentic Assessments. Retrieved October 27, 2020, from

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). (n.d.). Assessment. Retrieved from

Western Governors University. (2020, June 08). Experiential Learning Theory. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from

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