A valuable factor of any WBL programme is that it introduces students to the “self-assessment” concept. From the starting point of the WBL experience, where students have to write their CV and choose what “professional roads” they wish to follow, until the end of the programme, when students should evaluate the process as a whole, they are constantly motivated to get involved in assessing their own work, their knowledge, their professional and personal skills and their competences. This helps them to focus their attention on their own learning and training, to monitor their achievements and to spot any difficulties that may come up throughout the programme.
Self-assessment is considered to be a very valuable tool and a necessary part of the assessment of learning processes. It can be used in order to help students recognize strengths and weaknesses by getting to know themselves better, on an educational and professional basis, and to set realistic goals for the future. It can help them to track and monitor their own progress and to revise their own work. It can also provide valuable constant feedback on processes identifying difficulties and underlining achievements. In order to enjoy the aforementioned benefits, students should be guided and gradually introduced to self-assessment processes with which they are usually not familiar with on their school-based education. This will help them to develop a range of important skills and capabilities that they will surely need as future professionals, such as setting their own goals, evaluating their own performance with those goals in view, and making improvements if and when needed. It will help them mature and progress towards adult, more self-directed learning.
Self-assessment in WBL programmes can initially have the form of a pre-assessment of skills that will provide valuable insight into where the students think they are in their learning development. This pre-assessment is really essential, as it can help students to start thinking critically and formulating goals for the future, bearing in mind prior experiences, interests, goals and, of course, learning objectives. Throughout the programme students can and should be guided to assess their progression, by monitoring and reporting the working tasks they are involved in and how they advance with them. This will allow them to keep track of and adjust their own learning. Finally, students should evaluate and assess their general course in the WBL programme once it is over. This retrospective evaluation can help them look at the bigger picture of the WBL experience, recognize what they achieved and plan future steps.