7.3 Evaluation methods


Evaluation methods

Key Concept: A combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches will offer depth to your evaluation.

The choice of evaluation methods will be influenced by the purpose and focus that you have identified for the evaluation, answering what is worth evaluating and why?

Approaches

For example, an outcome based approach might focus on the measurement of online learning behaviour to assess whether students have met the targeted learning objectives. This might involve measuring levels of engagement (time on task or number of visits to a Yorkshare module site) and patterns of use of learning technologies. It could also measure the effectiveness of the learning by assessing levels of understanding through tests formats.

An interpretive study focusing on the reception of study methods might take a different approach, examining outcomes through the eyes of those involved in the delivery of the course (students, lecturers, seminar tutors), establishing meaning based on their perceptions of the learning experience. This could be achieved by inviting students to recount their experiences of learning in their own words, elaborating on the context of their learning and the link between formal and informal study methods. Attention would be drawn to affective and attitudinal variables (learners’ feelings and levels of motivation towards the blended design), and the role of prior knowledge and experience of blended learning in influencing their reception of the study methods.

In case study evaluation these approaches are combined to generate a multi-dimensional or rich picture of the learning that has taken place. For example, qualitative techniques are used to capture data on students’ perceptions and feelings on how the course has unfolded; quantitative techniques generate data on what students know and what they do.

Methods and tools

The following pages open in a new window. They provide a description of the method with examples of where the approach has been used by module leaders.

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