Technologies to support the assessment of complex learning in capstone units: two case studies

Margot McNeill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Capstone or final year units in a program of study ideally provide an opportunity for students to integrate the knowledge and learning experiences from their whole degree program. These units have the potential to scaffold students to synthesise their discipline knowledge with intellectual skills to equip them for dealing with complex situations in the next phases of their careers, whether their transition is to the workplace or further study. While these intentions may be clear, the task of designing the learning and assessment activities can be challenging for academics; firstly in managing an already crowded curriculum and secondly in devising assessment strategies that adequately reflect students' achievements in complex domains. This chapter examines two case studies from an Australian research-intensive university which use a range of technologies to support and assess complex learning in different domains. Characteristics of capstone units are first explored. The case studies are then explained, in terms of the learning outcomes addressed, scaffolding during the unit and the assessment strategies used. A framework for describing the affordances of a range of technologies in supporting and assessing complex learning in capstones or other units is presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultiple perspectives on problem solving and learning in the digital age
EditorsDirk Ifenthaler, Isaías Kinshuk, J. Michael Spector, Kinshuk, Demetrios G Sampson
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781441976116
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational technologies
  • Assessment
  • Complex learning
  • Capstone units


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