7.6 Evaluation as professional development


Evaluation for development

Key Concept: Evaluation will help develop both your course and your professional practice.

Course development

The final step in the evaluation process is to make sense of the evidence that has been collected during the evaluation phase and draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the blended course design and delivery processes. This will help to improve the future delivery of your course and there may also be transferable lessons worth sharing with colleagues for their courses too.

When to assess the effectiveness of the design and delivery methods will of course depend on your course objectives and there is no blueprint for how you may tackle the feed forward process to future course delivery. However, you may wish to consider the following issues:

  • Through statistical data you may consider engagement patterns for study activities, whether the drivers for participation are clearly articulated and the instructions or supporting resources are fit for purpose.
  • Through focus group and survey feedback you may consider how students perceived the usefulness of the tasks in supporting their learningparticularly if they were intended to support formative learning. To what extent do the online tasks add value and support students in meeting the overall course objectives?

Other issues may relate to the structure and sequencing of the class-based and online tasks and their relevance and fit with the overall assessment plan. The design of the tasks and course materials, whether they supported different levels of learning, should also be reviewed along with the levels of instructional support afforded to learners.

By reflecting on the evaluation data and reviewing these issues, you will have a clearer idea of the effectiveness of the course delivery and the enhancements that can be made to support future course delivery, either for a revised version of this course or a new course, drawing on the lessons learned from this experience.

Professional development

Throughout the handbook there have been prompts to evaluate not just the learning and teaching, but your own professional capabilities using technology. The topics explored in this handbook explicitly link to the Higher Education Academy Professional Standards Framework (UK-PSF), in particular the Core Knowledge descriptor:

  • K4. The use and value of appropriate learning technologies.

In addition, technology-enhanced learning cuts across all teaching practice and is no longer a separate approach for delivering higher education, but integrated and an expected part of course delivery. As such, parts of this handbook have direct connections to the following descriptors:

  • A1. Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study.
  • A2. Teach and/or support learning.
  • A3. Assess and give feedback to learners.
  • A4. Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance.
  • K2. Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme.
  • K5. Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching.
  • V2. Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners.

In addition to FHEA status, you may also wish to explore recognition designed specifically for educators and support staff who work with learning technologies. The Association for Learning Technology has an accreditation programme called CMALT which is a portfolio-based, peer-reviewed certification. The ELDT supports applications and if you are interested in this route, please contact us.

Developing your practice

The 3E Framework is a useful tool for analysing your own or a programme’s use of technology-enhanced learning. This framework relates approaches to using TEL to student learning and engagement. The first three sections of the Handbook on baseline approaches directly links to the Enhance stage, with subsequent sections requiring active student learning described by Extend and Empower stages of the framework.

To use the 3E Framework to gauge your own practice and how your use of TEL is supporting student learning, view the guide linked below.

Level Description
Enhance Adopting technology in simple and effective ways to actively support students and increase their activity and self-responsibility.
Empower Further use of technology that facilitates key aspects of students’ individual and collaborative learning and assessment through increasing their choice and control
Extend Developed use of technology that requires higher order individual and collaborative learning that reflects how knowledge is created and used in the professional environment

Source: Smyth. K. (2011).

Opportunities

After using this Handbook, if you have identified a gap in your knowledge or would like to develop specific skills to support your use technology-enhanced learning, there are three main opportunities available to you:

  • Attend a development workshop or seminar from our schedule of events.
  • Use the technical guides or request a specific training session on a tool.
  • Arrange a consultation with an E-Learning Adviser in the team to design, implement or evaluate a learning activity or module.

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