505 Reflection #1

Evaluation is at the heart of almost all things, the search for answers about what is working, how well is it working, how can this be improved are all important questions that we as Instructional Designers and Education Technologists must understand and process.  Also important, if not more important is the prompt identification of what is not working, or what is not working as well we expected it would.  By making this ongoing assessment a part of our routine we can correct issues on the fly, in real time, to improve the material and increase the benefit to those involved in the program.

This week, the realization that the process of evaluation begins at the earliest stages of development and not at the conclusion of the project was insightful.  I suppose that I had always known this to some degree, but upon completing the readings in “The ABC’s of Evaluation” and reflecting on the best practices of how one would conduct the most thoughtful and relevant evaluation of a project became clear.  The act of meeting with stakeholders, exploring their thoughts and expectations for the project is not only an ideal method in which to craft the evaluation, but it in fact may be the ONLY way to truly provide the most relevant manner of evaluation.  If you don’t know what the rationale was behind the creation of the material, how can you possible provide a thoughtful and intelligent evaluation of it’s success or failure?

If we know that evaluation contrived over time, in conjunction with the development of the material is an ideal manner of developing relevant evaluation; it begs the question of how can you, as an evaluator, compensate if you are brought in after the fact.  How one evaluates and what one evaluates depends entirely on who the evaluation is for.  I think that keeping this in mind at all times will ensure that the evaluation materials that I contribute to will be relevant and well received.

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