I think that there are several things here, my ten cents:
Ultilearn itself. It’s a poor piece of software and I’d be hugely embarrassed to sign off on it, but the bottom line is that it does generally work. That said, a vast improvement in the software would help to allay some of the issues:
- It’s far too clunky which makes actually taking exams slow - as people have posted above, IT is generally limited and this doesn’t help with getting cadets through exams (faster exam = more cadets through)
- The password system in particular hugely slows us down, finding out when cadets are about to take an exam that they can’t log in - and we now need to get the OC (for some truly bizarre reason) to personally log in to his emails to reset it. Yes, we could put steps in to mitigate this all but ultimately we’d be creating solutions to problems that should simply never exist in the first place.
The Content. Hopefully on the mend - at least HQAC seem happy for volunteers to help with this (I should know, having re-done the MAS syllabus)
Agreed - we should have some additional, less-technical subjects regarding aviation and the RAF to sit alongside. Think I’ve suggested these before, but subjects like air traffic control, the RAF Regiment/RAFP/Fire services/Logs/Medical could be a lot more appealing to the less STEM-minded cadets.
I don’t have a problem with this concept in general - you need to know the whole subject to a reasonable level, rather than just parts of it to a high level. I do think that it should be done on LOs though rather than individual pass criteria, so that you need to get 50% on 3-4 groups of 6-8 questions each, rather than 50% on 8-10 groups of 2 questions each.
One of my main gripes with this is that you presently have a 7/16 chance of passing a given criterion; round it to 50%. That means statistically, you should get around 5 of the criteria on the first attempt, 2 of the remaining 5 on the second, 1 of the 3 on the third, 1 of 2 on the fourth and pass the final one on the fifth or sixth attempt - simply by guessing.
This would be a large issue were it not for the fact that the exams are “open book” anyway, and include “online resources”. I had a cadet on a former squadron who was lazy and not especially bright, but was clever enough to realise that he could simply copy the question from Ultilearn on to Ask Jeeves (is that still a thing) and it would generally tell him the answer.
On the plus side, this means that the quality of the material doesn’t actually matter, as you can simply tell your cadets to do that and never have to bother teaching them at all.