Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Week 2: Quality and Evaluation

Why is evaluation important to me, and how do I define it?
Evaluation is important because without it, we have no way of knowing whether what we are teaching is being learnt successfully and effectively. And if what we are trying to teach is not being learnt, then we are wasting our time and our students’ time.
To me, evaluation is knowing that:
• I am teaching the right subject matter, ie the content matches the learning outcomes;
• The teaching methodology that I am using is best suited to my learners and to the content that I am teaching
• The course is interesting to the learners – fun, interactive, caters for different learning styles.
• I am using effective teaching resources and activities.
• The assessments that I use work effectively alongside the course content, and match the learning outcomes.
My definition of evaluation is “to be able to identify important aspects of instructional design and their effectiveness”.

What sort of evaluations mentioned on the presentation are familiar to you already and why?
As a learner on this Graduate Certificate of eLearning have had experience with giving and receiving feedback via discussion forums, eg peer evaluation.
Many courses that I have attended as a learner have questionnaires, either online or hard copy to provide evaluations of the course.
Some types of evaluation that I have used when I have been evaluating my courses, have been:
• Training Needs Analysis – analysis of learners’ current skills and what further training they need in order to work more effectively. This enables me to gauge what courses / content I need to create and deliver.
• Observation – for new courses - I have run “test” courses for my peers for the purpose of getting constructive feedback on course content, resources and delivery.
• Questionnaires – written feedback after completion of a course to determine level of learner satisfaction.
• Self-evaluation – after delivering a course I review what went well and why, what didn’t go so well and why; and what can I do better next time

Why is quality important in eLearning?
Because of the isolation of an eLearner, it is imperative that good quality formative assessments or tasks are in place so that the learner and the teacher are confident that they are on the right track
In eLearning, there is no face to face teacher to give immediate feedback, explanation or clarification, so it is imperative that the course material and activities are of a high quality, is easily located and instructions are clear and easily understood. Difficulty in accessing the course material, or unclear instructions could lead to students becoming frustrated, unmotivated and losing interest in the course.

It is also important to build in support for the eLearner – that would include building a sense of community with other learners, and easy access to the teacher and IT support.


  1. Hi Michelle,

    Nice to do this course with you :-)

    I agree with you that build in the sense of belonging is important to student. I think that could be evaluated too.

    I remembered when I started my online course first time as a learner, I really struggled in the frist several weeks - feeling been isolated and study alone by myself. Until I felt I was a member of a big warm learning family that motivated me enjoyed the elearning journey.

    Good eLearning system not only provide quality leanrning material, well structured activities, but also the support and care on students learning process and outcomes, as you mentioned, sense of community, IT support, etc.

  2. Michelle
    you have given some very comprehensive reasons for why you believe evaluation is important. This is a great post. :)

    You have explained the need for high quality online materials from the perspective of the learner, very well. I agree totally.

    Yes peer evaluation is an excellent way to gauge the quality of what you are doing. You can tell so much from people's reactions and enthusiasm. When you do this do you use some sort of checklist or open-ended questions to which they can respond?

    I am interested to hear more about your approach.

    Joy it is good to hear about your experience as an online learner - it is a wierd feeling being alone in cyber space isn't it. And support and guidance is so important.