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When the number of applicants for popular competitive exams increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for the institute/board conducting the exam to administer the test manually. The logistics too, stretch the bandwidth of faculty and administration. In this context, many of these boards are looking to systematically taking these exams online. In accordance with the same trend, entrance exams for Banks in India went online. This came as a huge shock to aspirants who were preparing for these exams. Officially, IBPS, Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, conducts the exams on behalf of banks. Earlier, OMR sheets were used since all questions were multiple-choice based. Though it makes the process easier for IBPS, the candidates think otherwise.
It is not only the Probationary Officers exams, but also the Clerical grade exams that went online. Many of the applicants are from middle class and lower middle class families for whom getting a bank job is a dream come true. They might not be comfortable answering questions online during the exam, if they didn’t have prior experience of using a Computer Based Testing (CBT). To address this issue, IBPS said that it will provide special training for the applicants from less privileged backgrounds or differently-abled candidates.
For training institutes, involved in training aspirants for these various bank recruitment exams, too, this is a major change. The training methodologies and processes they have been following over the years need to be overhauled. They will be required to provide some kind of simulation of CBT for the people they are training. This involves setting up infrastructure and also providing an exam and assessment software for simulating the CBT environment.
To its credit, an online system makes it easy and faster for tests to be conducted. Lakhs of applicants vie for thousands of bank jobs in India. The recruitment process is a major exercise for the banks. Conducting an online test makes it easier, faster and more accurate. The turnaround time, between conducting the test and analyzing the results, is reduced which would help banks recruit more often with lesser strain on their resources both in terms of effort and time.
For Training Institutes:
vTesting is an online exam and assessment platform from hubVirt Software Solutions, that helps institutes offer their exams in various test areas. The students/users of an institute can login to vTesting and practise tests put up by the institute.
For aspirants who need additional practice online:
hubVirt also offers a content based solution, vStudyroom, that has simulated practice tests for bank exams covering various test areas. The test areas covered in these bank exams are: Quantitative Ability, Logical and Reasoning Ability, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation (for PO), Marketing/ General Awareness and Computer Skills. vStudyroom, a FREE resource, provides practice tests in all these areas.
The use of technology in education, known as e-learning, is much sought after these-days by institutes and corporates alike. Technology applications are not just limited to administration. They are being increasingly used in classrooms. There are various ways in which institutes use technology:
¨ Online courses: The instructor conducts sessions online – either through video or audio or text methods. The student-teacher interaction is minimal.
¨ Technology supplementing tradition: The instructor teaches sessions in the classroom, but uses technology to supplement teaching in the form of power point or sharing course material or online tests, etc.
¨ Semi-traditional courses: The instructor replaces some of the classroom sessions with online sessions.
As institutes adopt technology for e-learning, they should keep in mind some important issues:
¨ Institutes must provide adequate and reliable infrastructure
¨ Set aside a specific budget and time-line for adoption of technology
¨ Students and faculty must possess the skills to use e-learning tools
¨ Faculty must re-design their course offerings to be incorporated into e-learning environment
¨ Do not underestimate the extent of administration and support that e-learning requires
¨ Opt to distribute or centralize the administration of e-learning depending on the distribution of their resources.