Plagiarism in online training

Whenever there are assessment activities, plagiarism is a topic that cannot be avoided. At the very basic, student identity verification is used to make sure that the submitted assessments are actually completed by the actual students.

In a face-to-face environment where there is an invigilator walking around, trying to catch students who are cheating, it is fairly difficult to plagiarise, although not impossible. When it comes to online training where the students do the study at their own pace, it is impractical and very costly to have someone check the students’ behaviour throughout the test. So how is identity verification done in the environment of online training?

First, login details are only available to students themselves. But of course, it is very possible that the students just give the login details to other people.

Second, the assessor will check the use of language of students. It is quite easy to pick up a sudden change in the writing style from students’ submissions. We all prefer different sentence structures, punctuation marks, spelling, etc. Thus, if there is a change in a student’s writing style, it is normally picked up easily.

Identity verification has always been a big issue when it comes to assessment, and it is not just a problem for online vocational training. It is a universal issue that spans from schools to vocational training to higher education. As long as the assessment is not done in a centralised environment where there is an invigilator, whether the assessments are done by the actual students are at doubt. The common procedure in place is to ask students to declare that the submissions are completed by themselves. This declaration does not really do much. But if there is a problem, the students will be held responsible.

Everybody knows that doing the training and studying is for their own benefits. And we also know that someone will always do the wrong thing and try to take the short cut. But bear in mind, those who plagiarise and later make a mistake at work because they do not truly understand the required knowledge, are the ones that will be paying the price.

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