Open Access Open Badges Research article

E-assessment of prior learning: a pilot study of interactive assessment of staff with no formal education who are working in Swedish elderly care

Annika Nilsson12*, Marianne Andrén3 and Maria Engström12

  • * Corresponding author: Annika Nilsson

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health and Caring Sciences, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden

2 Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

3 Faculty of Health and Occupational studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden

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BMC Geriatrics 2014, 14:52  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-14-52

Published: 18 April 2014



The current paper presents a pilot study of interactive assessment using information and communication technology (ICT) to evaluate the knowledge, skills and abilities of staff with no formal education who are working in Swedish elderly care.


Theoretical and practical assessment methods were developed and used with simulated patients and computer-based tests to identify strengths and areas for personal development among staff with no formal education.


Of the 157 staff with no formal education, 87 began the practical and/or theoretical assessments, and 63 completed both assessments. Several of the staff passed the practical assessments, except the morning hygiene assessment, where several failed. Other areas for staff development, i.e. where several failed (>50%), were the theoretical assessment of the learning objectives: Health, Oral care, Ergonomics, hygiene, esthetic, environmental, Rehabilitation, Assistive technology, Basic healthcare and Laws and organization. None of the staff passed all assessments. Number of years working in elderly care and staff age were not statistically significantly related to the total score of grades on the various learning objectives.


The interactive assessments were useful in assessing staff members’ practical and theoretical knowledge, skills, and abilities and in identifying areas in need of development. It is important that personnel who lack formal qualifications be clearly identified and given a chance to develop their competence through training, both theoretical and practical. The interactive e-assessment approach analyzed in the present pilot study could serve as a starting point.

Non-formal education; Elderly care; E-assessment of prior learning; Caregivers