Speed Dating Assessment


I participated in EdCampSD last Saturday, October 18. Though I got to the event venue a couple of hours late I was actually just in time: I got to learn about Speed Dating (educational interaction) with @AndrewMoriates and a room full of educators.

Speed Dating?

sketch of two pairs of talking heads showing one head in each pair talking while the other listens

Speed Dating reminded me of musical chairs without the music or chairs. Basically you get people to pair up and form two concentric circles. Those in the inner circle face outwards whilst those on the outer circle face in. A facilitator asks a question. One person in the outer circle takes a minute to answer while the other member of the pair in the inner circle can only listen; the listener is told to listen only and not to prompt or provide help. After a minute (it was timed) the roles reverse. The person in the inner circle answers the question while the person in the outer circle listens. When both have answered the people in the outer circle move one person to the right while the people in the inner circle stand still. Another question is asked and the same rules apply: one speaks one listens and then they flip when done. At the end of this round the people in the inner circle move one person to their right while those on the outer circle remain still. Another question is asked and the same talk/listen roles apply.

It was fun. In the 20 minutes of the question and answer period I learned a lot about how others felt about the stuff the facilitator was asking. I got to thinking afterwards how this Speed Dating thing might work with my adult learners.


I’m in the process of designing a problem solving course. I think the Speed Dating interaction would be perfect for a pre-assessment (formative assessment). Once the class gets underway learners would pair up and form their two circles. The instructor would ask a series of open-ended questions having to do with their organizations problem solving methods and culture. People would get a chance to express what they know and how they feel. Afterwards the instructor would facilitate a discussion, drawing out additional thoughts on problem solving.

I think this would serve to ground learners in what is already known about problem solving. The instructor could then tailor the remainder of the session on helping to fill gaps in knowledge and to use activities where learners actually solve problems.

I think it could be used as a tool for summative assessment as well. This time rather than having every pair of students answer the same question each question would be asked for only one person in the pair. The listener would listen and make notes of their partner’s responses. At the end of the interaction feedback could be given.


I have to give some more thought to its use in summative assessments. Things get messy quickly. But that’s how it is with learning from connected educators following an EdCamp. You learn, try, and share how it went.


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