Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Evaluation Paradigms and Models...and Methods

The evaluation paradigms set out in our reading were quite tricky to follow and I organised myself a mind-map diagram to try to summarise the main points. However the program I used (freeware called FreeMind) wasn't great for turning it into a useful link or image. I'll include it here but you may find it difficult to read! (I've printed it and it's fine on paper).

However, other course participants have written some clear summaries that helped me get my head around the topic - I like Gordon's post and table .

I think the paradigm that best suits my approach to these things is the Eclectic-Mixed Methods-Pragmatic paradigm. I think this is a practical approach, which is suited to secondary school or further education college situations because time for evaluation is limited (and often not attepmted very thoroughly) and conclusions need to be seen as having relevance to the future development of teaching and learning.

When it comes to evaluation models there are two that strike me as appropriate.

  1. Mutiple methods evaluation
  2. Stake's responsive evaluation
I like the idea of responsive evaluation in so much as the evaluator adapts their methods as the evaluation unfolds, using a range of tools much like the multiple methods evaluation technique. I think this is appealing to me because the reflection is led by the students, teachers or administrators and not by my own enthusiasm for e-learning. Responsive evaluation may lead to a more realistic outcome for me - avoiding a bias I have towards computers!!

I found this site helpful for a break down of evaluation techniques: Evaluation: A practical guide to methods.

Finally, I read the information relating to methods of evaluation. In the context of my evaluation project the method of formative evaluation appears most relevant. My project will involve looking at learners who are using resources delivered through Moodle during their face to face lessons. Moodle has been available to teaching staff for two years but there are varying degrees of uptake. By looking at the impact on learning across two curriculum areas, some conclusions may be reached on whether these elearning resources are beneficial or not. This would provide feedback during what could be considered a developmental stage in the use of Moodle. In an ideal world I can see that all four methods would be planned for - from analysis through to implementation.

This article from JISC about Learner Experiences of e-Learning is interesting for me as it has some questions that I may consider in my project.

  • How do learners engage with and experience e-learning?
  • What is their perception of e-learning?
  • What do e-learners do when they are learning with technology?
  • What strategies do e-learners use and what is effective?

1 comment:

Bronwyn hegarty said...

yvonne I just love your concept map which lays out the paradigms - floating on clouds - seems like a much more attractive option than lots of long words and descriptions. I am a long term fan of concept maps.

You have obviously been doing some exploring and it is great to see so many connections being made to a range of material.

You have come up with some important angles to look at how "learners ...are using resources delivered through Moodle during their face to face lessons."

I have broken down the fours questions you mention into keywords: engagement and experiences, perceptions, activity, effective strategies..

You will not only be looking at how they are using resources (engagement and experiences, activity, strategies)but also why they are using them (perceptions, experiences).

As you say Stake's model will give you a dynamic evaluation-in-action which will be able to help with improvements as you go.

The website you mention - Implementing Learning Technology and the publication - Evaluation: Crompton, P. (1997). A practical guide to methods. - is the same website which has the evaluation Cookbook (in the publications area) http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/ltdi/ltdi-pub.htm#Cookbook

Timeless really. It is really good to see a focus on the learners in your project.